It is Amory's photographer uncle, Greville, who gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography and unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future.
Her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demimonde of Berlin of the late '20s, to New York of the '30s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first women war photographers.
©2015 William Boyd (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd
"Serious, provocative, intelligent, Boyd's writing is endlessly open to ideas." (Daily Telegraph)
"His eccentric wit and restless intelligence exert a powerful appeal." (New York Times)
Yes and No. I have a feeling that the story is good, and I am a great admirer of William Boyd. But the narration was about the most annoying performance I have ever experienced. I pushed on to the end, in respect to Mr Boyd, and hoping something would change. But no, every time I switched it on, SO wishing to enjoy it - I just cringed at the reading.
Without doubt, the horrible reading. She made the character of Amory so enormously annoying, shallow and unlikeable. She had this peculiar way of ending every sentence with this sort of 'cute' and usually completely inappropriate impression that she has a broad smile on her face and a stifled giggle. Most bizarre. It seemed also a very light story line - but again, it is so hard to separate it from the narrator who made it all sound so flippant.
Possibly ANYONE else would have been better. But to be more helpful - I thought Barbara Flynn (who read an abridged version on BBC Radio 4) was very good - and it was hearing some of that broadcast that made me want to hear the whole book on Audible.
No, I am sorry - I didn't think so. It may well be worth reading - but it is too late now for me to find out!
I think I've said plenty! - and I am aware that I may be in the minority as other reviews are so good! Therefore - to the person who is considering it - you may find it wonderful!
I read and enjoy everything by William Boyd and found "Any Human Heart" such a rewarding audiobook that I listened twice.
I feel rather unkind taking such a dislike to the voice of this narrator. Her reading is very animated and this seems appropriate in the beginning as the voice of a school girl.Although I find the story quite interesting, I keep stopping because Jilly Bond has the kind of voice that becomes very tiresome. It is a voice produced from a tight throat with an affected prissy quality. Every character she evokes seems stagey . The men don't convince and I find many female narrators excel at this. I think I can't go on. There are six hours of the book to go but despite the quality of the writing I have started to lose the desire to hear any more of Amory Clay. Perhaps William Boyd intended to create an unsympathetic central character but I think I would have felt differently if I had read the book. Audio books are wonderful until this happens. Maybe the narrator has captured Amory as Boyd intended but something in the story fails to engage and I am no longer interested in the outcome.
Kildonan by the sea
“How ever long you stay on this small planet last, and whatever happens during it, the most important thing is that - from time to time - you feel life’s sweet caress.” Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau
This book starts with this advice and takes the last line as the name of the book, the author is fictional he is also a lover of Amory Clay who is also fictional, although if you found this book and read it you no doubt think that you were reading a memoir a very excellent memoir. this is a creation of the author that even includes photos by Amory. The first photo in the book one of her is a found picture that was given to William Boyd by Christian House, who wrote of the picture: “I picked her up at a bus stop in Dulwich. She was lost, dirty and lying at my feet.
As a found photograph, she was a catch. The tiny, frayed and faded print say sorry-looking in the gutter.”
But this life, and all its details become real and impossible to disbelieve, every character feels like it has walked this earth, every gesture is and infusion of life and meaning.
This is a work that seems more impossible as a creation of fiction than as a true account of someone's life.
A Beautifully written novel, of an unlikely heroine, that loved and was loved, cried and felt sadness like all of us, and touched me like a sweet caress.
The narrator of this story was excellent, with a very distinctive tonalities and inflexions in her delivery of this novel. She created distinct voices for Amory at different stages of her life, making the time shifts more evident.
Having said as the title "Not the best Boyd", William Boyd can tell a pretty good story at his worst. However, I didn't feel that he had got inside Amory Clay and that despite all her adventures she remained a shallowly drawn character. But the reader for me ruined the book, and I find it interesting to read other reviewers who found the reading an attractive one. Beauty is in the ear of the listener. I finally realised that the reader made the heroine sound to me like Linda Snell out of the Archers (I'm not an Archers' fan) and that did it. Although she described herself at the beginning as being a touch sardonic, I think Amory Clay and the prose would have been better served by a lighter touch from the reader. The other characters (with the exception of the Australian) were well read, though.
A fascinating, beautifully written story by an excellent author. I have read many of Mr Boyd's works and this is as good as any of them and perhaps my favourite.
I've read all of William Boyds books and especially like the way he ties lives, world events and personal lives into one narrative. This novel follows that formula, yet manages to stay fresh. Unlike other people I think the narration is spot on. Very clipped tones that conjure up images of a 'woman from a certain period' whose emotions are tightly controlled, things are 'under' told. I had the same thought that at certain times I could tell it was a woman written by a man, but in some ways that suited the character. Sparse yet rich simultaneously. The smoking was definitely prominent, but I believe that is part of the dissonance Boyd wanted to create, to ensure the reader always is aware that this is a very different period we're talking of.
Overall I really enjoyed it. Had to sit in silent contemplation at the end, the mark of a good novel. Recommended
I have long been a great fan of William Boyd's novels. They have strong narratives, believable characters and a moral dimension while at the same time being entertaining to read. The are what English literature used to be before it became too 'meaningful' and clever for its own good.
Sweet Caress is a truly engaging story well written and well read. It follows the life of a middle class English woman from her school days to her old age and eventual death. She is a marginal participant in some of of the great events of the 20th century but never a main player. So the story occurs on both a small and a large scale. It is not in the end about events but about one person living her life with honesty, passion and love.
Have been enjoying William Boyd in printed form and this is the first time I've had him read to me. Very enjoyable.
Why get such a chicken lit narrator read this sort of intelligent book? Spoils it all and gets no better through the book.
Not really. I found it hard to follow at times. One minute you are in the twenties then in the seventies. I was waiting for the follow up of the story but it did not happen and it went on to something else.
Not if it follows the same as before.
The narration was good as it goes.
Not really. Got frustrated because of all the jumping about.
The writer would have been better off writing the story from the start and following it through to the present date in stead of jumping about!
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