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Any Human Heart (Penguin Celebrations)

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,398 Ratings  ·  908 Reviews
Logan Gonzago Mountstuart, writer, was born in 1906, and died of a heart attack on October 5, 1991, aged 85. William Boyd's novel Any Human Heart is his disjointed autobiography, a massive tome chronicling "my personal rollercoaster"--or rather, "not so much a rollercoaster", but a yo-yo, "a jerking spinning toy in the hands of a maladroit child." From his early childhood ...more
Paperback, 504 pages
Published September 6th 2007 by Penguin (first published January 25th 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kalliope
Mar 18, 2013 Kalliope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-english


I have liked this book a great deal more than I wanted to admit. It flows easily, and the diary format, with short entries and some gossipy ingredients, makes it hard to break away. This was addictive reading.

Several readers in GR have criticized that they do not like the main character. To me he comes across as an ordinary man, with weaknesses (alcohol and women), some cowardly reactions, but showing also bouts of integrity and a fair amount of self-honesty (to what extent does diary-writing in
...more
J. Kent Messum
Thick, dense, and sprawling... not my usual fare, I must say, but I simply could not put this book down. 'Any Human Heart' is one of those rare long novels that pulls you in and holds you tight throughout its many pages. Exceptionally well written, William Boyd has a rare gift for effective and robust prose. 'Any Human Heart' has it all: love, laughter, pain, torment, tears, successes and failures. It's a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

The novel is the life story of an Englishman named
...more
Tea Jovanović
Britanci su snimili sjajan film snimljen po ovoj knjizi... Kako to samo oni umeju da urade... :) A na ovog autora obratite paznju, odlican je...
Cecily
I enjoyed this tremendously, even though I watched the TV adaptation a few weeks earlier, so I already knew the characters and plot (though there are some differences).

STRUCTURED AS MEMOIRS

This is presented as a compilation of journals kept by Logan Mountstuart from shortly before he left school in the 1920s until just before his death aged 85. Consequently, they describe things as they were at the time, with candour and an absence of hindsight. It also means there are gaps and changes of style.
...more
Chrissie
Yeah, I rally liked this book. Maybe it is even amazing.

I love it because it is set in France, both in Paris and villages along the coast, NYC, London, Spain, Nigeria, Reykjavik, the Bahamas and more.

I love it because it captures the WHOLE life of an ordinary man. It is about youth, the middle years and aging. Being a child and having children. It is about love, the physical attraction and the emotional one.

Logan, the central character, is, a man with strong sexual needs. Some may label him as i
...more
Katy
Dec 22, 2014 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, ldn, oxbridge
I don't think I've ever mourned the end of a character in quite the way I mourned Logan Mountstuart, tears winding down my temples as I peeled through the last pages in bed last night. I don't tend to get all that emotionally invested in the things I read (sentimental sure, but I typically retain that sense of fictionality ("yes, it was very sad when the man stopped drawing the deer")) but the way the main body of Any Human Heart is presented as a salvaged journal scaffolded by biographical anno ...more
Sonya
Nov 15, 2008 Sonya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you start out, you'll think you might not like this book. The main character is arrogant and, well, young. Brash. But keep going through this fictionalized journal that keeps track of seventy years of a man's life, including his heartbreaks and strongest loves. Other reviewers bash it for its "Forest Gumpness," yet to me it's not all that unbelievable that an upperclass intelligence officer might have contact with influential persons during one of the world's most tempestuous and active per ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 20, 2016 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2016
I first heard of this book from Michael on the Books on the Nightstand podcast, the "favorite" he picked for the 2015 Booktopia discussions. I had never heard of Booktopia, a book lovers festival, until after it stopped being held in Asheville, NC, an hour from me. Sigh. I wanted to sort of play along anyway, and grabbed the two books the four podcasters chose that I hadn't previously read. This one has sat in my to-read piles for a while and I finally started it when I was looking for something ...more
Huw Rhys
Mar 30, 2014 Huw Rhys rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you can imagine Johnny English meeting Rolf Harris meeting Forrest Gump meeting Grahame Greene meeting Adrian Mole (just after Sue Townshend lost interest in him), then you're not a million miles away from how the plot in this novel is set up.

And although it does contain a lot of banality along with quite a few other weaknesses, this doesn't spoil too much what is a very, very special novel.

When I read something that moves me, or resonates very strongly with me, I turn over the bottom of the
...more
João Carlos
Oct 29, 2015 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, l2015, 2015best

Fotograma da série televisiva “Any Human Heart” – Channel 4

“Viagem ao Fundo de Um Coração”, “Any Human Heart” (2002) no original, escrito pelo inglês William Boyd (n. 1952), é um livro de memórias - “Os Diários Íntimos de Logan Mountstuart” - um romance narrado na primeira pessoa por Logan Mountstuart que subdivide o seu diário em função de acontecimentos ou factos determinantes – “O Diário do Colégio”, “O Diário de Oxford”, “O Primeiro Diário de Londres”, “O Diário da Segunda Guerra Mundial”, “
...more
Andrew Smith
Apr 03, 2015 Andrew Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be different, in style, to others I’ve read by this author. After a a couple of chapters I really wasn’t sure if I liked it at all but by the end I was totally captivated.

It’s written as a series of journal (diary) entries and tells the story of a life that’s been lived in every decade of the 20th Century - a life lived very much to the full. Once I got used to the style I found that I was quickly sucked into the life of the character through whose eyes the story is told. S
...more
Aubrey
Sep 16, 2014 Aubrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5
That was a good life. A good, male life, lived through almost the entirety of the twentieth century. Or at least, it made for good reading material, but I'd like to think that in the end, Logan was happy in the least regretful sense that an old man can be.
I have to say, becoming a writer was probably the best thing he could have done in this time period. He met so many renowned folks, and took part in so many historical events as he traveled the world over. That may be my bias towards writ
...more
F.R.
Feb 26, 2015 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never kept a diary myself, but do have admiration for those who do. It seems to me to require a level of dedication that even a humble scribbler of fiction like myself would find hard to maintain. I don’t write every single day, let alone every single evening, and besides I like to make stuff up. The fictional diary then perhaps offers the ideal halfway house for a novelist, allowing the form but without the chore of writing about every single day, no matter how little has actually happened ...more
Elizabeth A
Aug 11, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2015
I finished the book last night, and did not sleep well. What do I feel? Grief. How does one grieve for someone who was not real? Will write up a review after I've had some time to process....

Later ....

There is an old adage that what you observe closely you cannot help but love. That is how I feel about Logan Mountstuart. In many ways LMS is an ordinary man who lives in extraordinary times, but he is not the hero of the times he lives in, but rather on the fringes of it. Yes, he travels widely an
...more
Karen Pine
Oct 11, 2012 Karen Pine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

One sign of a good book is the sense of emptiness that lingers once the last page has been reluctantly turned. So it was with Any Human Heart, which completely and utterly spoiled me for whatever came next*. On finishing the book I found I missed the central character, Logan Mountstuart enormously, as if his death had been the death of someone I knew and loved. Logan, with all his failings, manages to charm and beguile the reader in the way he charmed many who crossed his path. I loved his wit,
...more
Janet
Oct 24, 2015 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Note to self* Max out 401k

I find it very hard to believe that Logan Mountstuart was not a real person. I googled him several times while I was reading this luscious novel by William Boyd. It must be a biography I argued with myself. I'm sure that Simon Vance's first rate narration contributed to my incredulity.

The story was a slow starter for me. I almost didn't get past his football games at school but once I got the rhythm of the novel, I loved every witty minute of it. A highlight for me was
...more
Fiona
May 21, 2010 Fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fiona by: Deb
I'll write a proper review later maybe, but my initial thoughts -

* This book started out as 'just okay' for me - hovering between three stars and four stars, then became a hazy four stars but very near the end marched up to five stars.

* I loved Logan. I came to know him and see him subtly change as the years took him from adolescence to an old man. Always full of sprite and character. I laughed with him and I cried with him.

* Because of this I now feel a great sense of loss - I'm going to mi
...more
R.
Feb 10, 2010 R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is not my favorite book, this is not the most lofty book I've ever read, its not going to break into the top ten list (although I think it has become cemented into the top 20) However, It was a total page turner that kept me up late and wishing my subway rides would last longer but some how managed to feel important and slightly intellectual at the same time. It was amazing and I'm afraid to even recommend it because if you don't love it as much as I did it will break my heart.

There are man
...more
Blair
I'd been putting this off - or saving it. Either way I had intended to read it on holiday at the end of April, the reason being that I thought it would be a tough book to tackle; not difficult or unenjoyable, but the sort of thing I would need lots of time and proper concentration to really appreciate. However, a few days ago my Kindle broke and, with nothing else available while I wait for it to be replaced, I decided to get stuck in to Any Human Heart.

I soon realised that - as with Fingersmit
...more
Stefanie
Dec 07, 2007 Stefanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't really like it. It's written as a diary, and covers a good chunk of the 20th century. Logan, the diarist, didn't compel me in the slightest, he was flat. Although he experienced some exciting things in his life, from meeting Hemingway and Picasso, to being imprisoned as a spy, I found him boring. I did read it through, which is something.... I kept hoping to start caring about him. But I never did. Perhaps it's the diary form that disagreed with me--I think it may be the first of that sty ...more
dianne
Sep 27, 2015 dianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uruguay, in-uy-mid15
An intimate journal of Logan Gonzalo Mountstuart (LMS) and a life...well, lived. The writing is captivating, 70 odd years of escapades, heartbreak, moderate promiscuity and lots of alcohol. The sliding doors of his life, traversing the 20th century are reminiscent of Forest Gump (sans the low IQ) with some characters just as i imagined (Hemingway – drunk, impulsive, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor – vapid, vain), and others not so much – (Virginia Woolf as a florid racist?)

Like, I suppose, most
...more
Vit Babenco
Dec 31, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can any single human heart take in all the history of the twentieth century? Any Human Heart is a story of one such heart which could hold within almost all the crucial event of this turbulent age. And the story is as sorrowful and rich as was the history of the century… But there is always hope.
“And suddenly I wonder: is it more of my bad luck to have been born when I was, at the beginning of this century and not be able to be young at its end? I look enviously at these kids and think about the
...more
Ethan
Jul 05, 2011 Ethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language isn't difficult, but this is one of those books that needs 100 pages of your patience, because it takes that long for the small devices of the voice to take effect. Once they do, the last 400 pages zip along.

It's presented as though it were a posthumously published series of diary entries--NOT a memoir. This matters because the central appeal is the voice of a writer (Logan Mountstuart) talking candidly to himself, rather than positioning his experiences for public view. The attract
...more
Stela
Nov 30, 2011 Stela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stela by: Carmen, a friend
Every time I close a book I like to question myself about the most powerful images in it. In this one there were at least three: the announcement of Logan's father death, made by an insensitive principal (the Lizard) who explains that this is the only motive for not expelling the narrator and who hits him hard, on the same occasion, for breaking some school rules; the way the hero dresses up for a meeting with a friend in order not to be suspected that he is so poor that he eats dog-food; and th ...more
Ginni Dickinson
Mar 26, 2011 Ginni Dickinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was with great sadness that I finished "Any Human Heart" last night. I feel like I have lost a dear friend in LMS (Logan Mounstuart.) LMS is one of the most human and sympathetic characters I have enjoyed getting to know. I think most who have read of him would agree he could be a real ass. But somehow I can overlook this because of his great capacity to love and to reflect so honestly on his life. From LMS I have learned that life can be a series of good and bad luck events. It is up to me t ...more
Jennifer
May 02, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was like meeting a friend - a friend that as soon as you meet them it feels like you were already friends forever and how is it possible you hadn't really met before? Any Human Heart is the story of Logan Gonzago Mountstuart told through his journals spanning from his public school days in England through his eighties in France. His life is full of everything from the tedious days of his first marriage to his exciting days as a spy during the war, full of famous acquaintances (Hemingwa ...more
Essie Fox
Apr 03, 2015 Essie Fox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most engrossing novels I've ever read. I am really enjoying reading William Boyd ... Now onto another.
Katerina
(3.5 rounded up to 4, I'm feeling generous today)

В этом большом романе-псевдоавтобиографии-псевдодневнике английского писателя Логана Маунтстюарта предсказуемо хорошо одно и предсказуемо плохо другое.

За свою долгую жизнь главный герой успевает поучиться в частной школе и Кэмбридже; несколько раз жениться; побыть писателем, шпионом, галеристом, журналистом, продавцом газет и французским пенсионером; встретиться с Хемингуэем; получить в подарок от Пикассо набросок; перетрахать бесчисленное множес
...more
Linda
Apr 03, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Janet S. and Michael Kindness
This won't be the only time that I read this book. The reader is immersed in Logan Gonzago Mountstuart's life from his birth in February, 1906 until his death in October, 1991. Through highs and lows, marriages, affairs, war and death. Boyd makes him real. I didn't always like the Mountstuart conducted himself, but I was never willing to give up on him.
Simon Vance was the perfect narrator, too.
Wissam Mattar
Jul 27, 2015 Wissam Mattar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story full of life & humanity as the title suggests. The historical facts are diluted smoothly in the events, it's a refreshing cocktail of experiences.
I recommend it.
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Of Scottish descent, Boyd was born in Accra, Ghana on 7th March, 1952 and spent much of his early life there and in Nigeria where his mother was a teacher and his father, a doctor. Boyd was in Nigeria during the Biafran War, the brutal secessionist conflict which ran from 1967 to 1970 and it had a profound effect on him.

At the age of nine years he attended Gordonstoun school, in Moray, Scotland an
...more
More about William Boyd...

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“It's true: lives do drift apart for no obvious reason. We're all busy people,we can't spend our time simply trying to stay in touch. The test of a friendship is if it can weather these inevitable gaps.” 99 likes
“I have to start my real life soon, before I die of boredom and frustration.” 21 likes
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