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Summary

A producer. A novelist. An actress.  

It is summer in 1968, the year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. While the world is reeling, our trio is involved in making a rackety Swingin' '60s British movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives.  

As the film is shot, with its usual drastic ups and downs, so does our trio's private, secret world begin to take over their public one. Pressures build inexorably - someone's going to crack. Or maybe they all will.  

From one of Britain's best-selling and best loved writers comes an exhilarating, tender novel that asks the vital questions: what makes life worth living? And what do you do if you find it isn't?

©2020 William Boyd (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"William Boyd has probably written more classic books than any of his contemporaries." (Daily Telegraph)

"Simply the best realistic storyteller of his generation." (Sebastian Faulks)

What listeners say about Trio

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 29-10-20

Not a bad story. Abysmally read

I am not the first to comment, but dear Hannah Arteton has I think the right estuary accent for the book, but some of her pronunciations, particularly of french words and names, is truly awful and very jarring, to the extent that it really puts you off. My favourite (!) mispronunciation is of the army officer rank “subaltern” which she pronounces with the emphasis on the middle syllable. I kid you not! I should think there must be at least a dozen similar ones. Another is Cap Ferrat where as she should know the t is hard but she pronounces it like the fast car without the final “ri”! It is truly shocking to such an extent that I actually got hold of William Boyd’s literary agent Curtis Brown and told them that Audible seriously needed to do something about this. Whinge over!! As for the story I was kept more or less intrigued until the end but ultimately I didn’t feel terribly fulfilled by it. Rather like drinking non-alcoholic beer: good in theory but what’s the point?

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Deeply silly. lightweight & disappointing

With all the praise for TRIO, there's surely some Emperor's Clothes going on amongst the main stream reviews of William Boyd's 16th novel! I would have returned it but the message said I couldn't, so I persevered (since I'd paid for it!), but having struggled to more than half way, I couldn't stand any more and have given up. Set in 1968 it's about a set of wholly uninteresting, flimsy characters making a film. There is nothing engaging or likeable about any of the characters: the struggling writer Elfrida who's trying to write a novel about Virginia Woolf's last day is the closest any character gets to the outskirts of interesting, but her overwhelming alcoholism is desperately tedious. (And her encounter with Leonard Woolf in the garden of Monk House in Rodmell (when he would have been 88) is just ridiculous and pointless). The characters' inter-relationships might have brought something to the novel, but Boyd totally fails in making me care who is sexually involved with whom, who's struggling with repressed homosexuality or whose cardboard-cut-out ex-husband has set off some Anti-US bombs. And as for the fun frolics - I'm afraid I found them neither funny nor amusing. And then there's the 1968 setting. Apart from a couple of references to the Vietnam War, this might as well be 1990s. I don't think there was so much drinking as there is here in 1968; the f-word used by all the characters was not so ubiquitous then as it is now; and I don't think as late as 1968 people were talking about someone having had 'a good war' as they did in the 1940s or even the 1950s. The sense of time and place is weak and - further - serves no discernible function. So, I'm sad that a previously intelligent writer whose work I have admired has produced this very poor novel which I don't think would have been published had William Boyd not written it. The narration is competent but spoiled by the many examples of mis-pronounced words. Since the narrator knew that Virginia Woolf was going to play a part, she might have learned that Lytton Strachey would have come up and that he is not Lytton Strakky - and as for oeuvre! One feature of Boyd's writing which is a minor saving grace is his extensive and stimulating vocabulary (when he chooses to employ it there are some pleasing phrases) - so it's particularly disappointing when the narrator displays such unfamiliarity and inaccuracy with pronunciation.

5 people found this helpful

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Struggling with the narrator.

I am a William Boyd fan, usually the narrators are really good, Roy McMillan reading Love is blind was excellent. I am only at chapter 10 , but think I shall probably ask for a credit return & read the book myself as Hannah Arterton’s narration is undermining my enjoyment. I persevered with the audible until Paris....then like other listeners had to give up with the mangled French... Please Audible get another narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Appalling pronunciation of any foreign word

Dreadful, excruciating inability of Arterton to pronounce any foreign word... French is especially abused, and given that much of the plot is set in France, the non-stop linguistic horrors are too much for comfort. Why choose an actor who is clearly a stranger to foreign languages for such an important task?

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Spoiled by careless performance

This is not one of Boyd's better books, although modestly entertaining nonetheless. But is there absolutely no quality control at Audible? No editor or producer of the Audible edition? Boyd likes to make frequent use of foreign language phrases, street names and music titles. Sadly the effect is ruined by a narrator who hasn't bothered to find out how to pronounce words which are for some reason unfamiliar to her. Instead she takes a wild stab at every foreign language word and gets it horribly, ear bleedingly wrong every single time. Music performances aren't broadcast with mistakes or wrong notes. Books get proofread. So why publish an Audible product so carelessly littered with schoolgirl howlers?

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excruciatingly and infuriatingly bad narrator.

I'm glad that this is not William Boyd at his usual brilliant best. (The novel is modestly entertaining, but ultimately unsatisfying.) Because the narrator is simply EXCRUCIATING. For a novel set partly in France, with French characters, names, and even phrases, did it not occur to the editors at Audible (if such even exists...) that perhaps it was not a brilliant idea to cast a narrator who appears to deliberately, excruciatingly mispronounce every French word or name - even the really obvious ones that I wouldn't mind betting are familiar to any reader. (How about a look at the Impressionists at the "Jew de Poom" gallery? Or a coffee at "Lez Dieu Magow"? And on and on.) I'm not here whinging about a slight British accent - that would be entirely forgivable - but the wanton massacring of nearly every foreign word - and quite a few English ones too. To be honest, it quite changed my previously positive attitude towards Audible. It's so infuriatingly sloppy and lazy that there should be no direction, no quality control or apparently not even the slightest effort towards accuracy. God knows what Boyd would think if he were to dip in and sample this vandalism. Have some shame. Re-record.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Mispronunciations

Reading marred by Hannah Arterton’s constant mispronunciations. Both In French and in English. Someone should have corrected her.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Multi - Layered

I am a huge admirer of William Boyd and have read all of his novels. I love the way he draws the reader in to different worlds where we can experience the emotional lives of others - be they in turmoil, joy, longing or despair. I loved the background of the movies in the heady days of the sixties and the tension between old and new attitudes. I also liked the way the external actions of the main characters were so at odds with their internal tensions. The are numerous 'Sliding Doors' moments with opportunities being lost or squandered, almost like a film shot with multiple potential endings. I had the actual physical book with me alongside the narration as I was not overly impressed with the reader - which for me, is a make or break with Audible.

3 people found this helpful

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reader

reader was unable to pronounce frank words and names or Lytton Strachey's name. this spoilt the audiobook

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Every reason for the mixed reviews.

Patchy, unengaging and slight characters. it's pleasant enough but not one of his best. I'm usually a big fan - not this time. so I'll be returning it

2 people found this helpful