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Any Human Heart | [William Boyd]

Any Human Heart

Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary, but Logan Mountstuart's - lived from the beginning to the end of the 20th century - contains more than its fair share of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war and as an art-dealer in '60s New York, Logan mixes with the movers and shakers of his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness.
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Publisher's Summary

Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary, but Logan Mountstuart's - lived from the beginning to the end of the 20th century - contains more than its fair share of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war and as an art-dealer in '60s New York, Logan mixes with the movers and shakers of his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness. Here, then, is the story of a life lived to the full - and a journey deep into a very human heart.

©2002 William Boyd (P)2011 W F Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (253 )
5 star
 (133)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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4.3 (126 )
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Story
4.5 (127 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jane Hockley, United Kingdom 11/11/2011
    Jane Hockley, United Kingdom 11/11/2011 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    261
    16
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    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    "Wonderful storytelling"

    This book was a joy. Following the story of Logan Mountstuart from schooldays through to the end of his days, this book was warm, amusing and sad by turns. Logan's life covers most of the 20th century and we see major world events through his eyes. Beautifully written by Mr. Boyd and expertly narrated by Mike Grady, Mountstuart's life is explored through his journals and for the first time, I really forgot the book was being narrated and just believed that Mike Grady was Logan Mountstuart. The story of a life well lived.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirstine Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom 19/03/2012
    Kirstine Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom 19/03/2012 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2327
    ratings
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    495
    388
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    Overall
    "A poignant journey through a man's life"

    When I finished listening to this book I felt as if I'd accompanied Logan Mountstuart through his life with all his hopes and disappointments. It's a mixture of the very personal feelings of the man played against the backdrop of world events into which he gets drawn. Logan seems very real, very human and even though he sometimes behaves badly he remains a sympathetic character, who has an extraordinary eventful life with many ups and downs, sadness and happiness, success and failure.
    It's long book but I didn't want it to end. The reader is excellent.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas London, United Kingdom 07/12/2011
    Nicholas London, United Kingdom 07/12/2011 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    "A Beautiful & Bittersweet Life"

    This is, quite simply, a masterpiece of storytelling. The protagonist, Logan Mountstuart, is a flawed yet nonetheless likeable individual whose tale, as it encompasses various notable people from the arts and spans the 20th century, is completely compelling. The narration by Mike Grady is also superb.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mike Birmingham, United Kingdom 14/12/2011
    mike Birmingham, United Kingdom 14/12/2011 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
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    32
    13
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    "Condensed human experience"

    Beautifully written and narrated. This book really lends itself to the audiobook format; it is an experience to listen, and you feel sorry when the story finishes . Typical Boyd; it immerses the listener into the very individual world of the lead character. There is tenderness, wit, tragedy and fun; just like real life.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory United Kingdom 16/05/2014
    Gregory United Kingdom 16/05/2014 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great Escape"
    Would you listen to Any Human Heart again? Why?

    Yes. I feel like Ive met some of these people, their types, and I know well some of the locations described...always enjoy connecting that way. Parts of the story even touched on my special interests; art world. I engaged with the piece completley, it is intimate that way. I believed in it and liked the man Logan, laughed aloud countless times and was moved almost to tears more than once. Great escapist entertainment like this is worth a re visit.


    What other book might you compare Any Human Heart to, and why?

    I will be looking for something similar.


    What does Mike Grady bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Thought he was perfect.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I painted my house whilst listening to it, over three days, it was very tempting to listen to the whole thing in one session, but I needed to eek it out.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F LONDON, United Kingdom 31/03/2014
    F LONDON, United Kingdom 31/03/2014 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
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    10
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    "wonderful!"

    I really didn't want this to end and have already relistened to so many parts. Ridiculous, I know, but I am mourning the passing of Logan Mountstuart and have relished being taken through his life. The writing and reading are superb and it will be a long time before I discover such a deeply satisfying listen again.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cosmobunter Derbyshire, England 07/04/2013
    cosmobunter Derbyshire, England 07/04/2013 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Don't read Boyd all at once!"

    I had just finished 'waiting for sunrise' and really enjoyed it. I'd listened to 'restless' ages ago. But this is too similar to Sunrise to be a comfortable next listen. I felt that I'd already enjoyed parts of this before. Whilst I know they weren't written in that order, it did became an issue for me. I'll let him alone for a year or two and then see what the rest are like. Having said that, he's a good author. Just maybe recycling a few ideas? ;-)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tracey HARTLEPOOL, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    tracey HARTLEPOOL, United Kingdom 23/12/2012 Member Since 2015

    It's Nick really.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    3
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    Overall
    "Any Humam Heart"

    Absoloutly loved this book, make some time and settle into Logan's world spanning decades and continents with Logan will make you consider how lives can be lived outside of the usual constraints the humdrum and predictable.A word of warning however, this will start a William Boyd habit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JT 05/08/2015
    JT 05/08/2015 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    Story
    "A novel full of humanity, humour and honesty"

    Written in the form of an occasional diary, this thoroughly enjoyable work recounts the life, loves and feelings of a writer and bon viveur, Logan Mountstuart, born 1906, died 1991. The author himself describes this life as "long, fraught and complex" and, without ever being a page turner, the novel provides a fascinating insight into the experiences, thoughts and feelings of a character who aspires to be a respected writer, while at the same time seeking to indulge at every opportunity his lust for life.
    I defy any mature male reader not to identify to some extent with this character, while many women may find it enlightening to read an honest and frank account of the relationship between the sexes recounted from a very male standpoint.
    To my mind, a good test of much one has enjoyed a novel is how one feels having finally reached the end. I have to say that I felt quite sad, both at finishing the book and at the thought that the writer had now laid to rest this admittedly very self-absorbed but also very sympathetic character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luke London, United Kingdom 21/07/2015
    Luke London, United Kingdom 21/07/2015 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    0
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    "Wonderful, touching epic."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Any Human Heart to be better than the print version?

    In some respects yes; it's a diary and having it read to you does work very well. I was slightly irritated by one small mispronunciation which the character would not have made relating to an Oxford college and this unduly rankled but otherwise excellent.


    What other book might you compare Any Human Heart to, and why?

    Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, it has some similar coming of age, success, regrets, derring do elements albeit with a female protagonist.


    What does Mike Grady bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Trite and obvious as it sounds, the voice of LMS


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    LMS's loss and his later descent into poverty


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Margaret
    st kilda east, Australia
    24/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fabulous book"
    What made the experience of listening to Any Human Heart the most enjoyable?

    The story is just wonderful, the writing is terrific, the characters are rich.


    What other book might you compare Any Human Heart to and why?

    Forrest Gump, in that real characters interact with the protagonist. But this is an English book, through and through.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I am a very fussy listener, and I'd give this narration 3 out of 5. Perhaps a younger narrator would have been better for the earlier part of the book.


    If you could take any character from Any Human Heart out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Logan Mountstuart, the lead. He's funny, smart, complex and flawed - just as a good lead character should be.


    Any additional comments?

    This is such a satisfying read, and for me, a great introduction to a writer who is now on my "must read" list. I can't recommend it highly enough. And once you've read it, take a look at the glorious TV series of the same name starring Matthew McFadyen and Jim Broadbent. I'm sure I'll revisit both the book and the show over the coming years, they're that good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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