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3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  1,845 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
To his colleagues, Lorimer Black, the handsome, mild-mannered insurance adjuster rising through the ranks of his London firm, is known as the guy who has it all: the sleek suits, the enviable status. But when Lorimer arrives at a routine business appointment and finds his client hanging from a water pipe, his life spirals out of control. His company car is blowtorched afte ...more
Paperback, 337 pages
Published April 11th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1998)
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Thinly Disguised Transnistrian Lad Lit

But for the last 50 pages or so, I would have concluded that this was just a piece of well-executed Lad Lit.

However, the last pages persuaded me that there was something more happening beneath the surface of this novel.

William Boyd shows us nicely judged glimpses of the life of an East European migrant trying to integrate into the English business and social world. The novel never takes itself too seriously and proceeds at an agreeable comic pace.

Dec 15, 2016 Anna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, terrible
Last week I read a blog post that articulates my response to ‘Armadillo’ better than I can. I’m just so angry and tired. The only possible way to enjoy this book is to overlook the fact that every male character is an arsehole who treats women like shit and every female character (barring one) is a sexy body with no personality who exists to please men. The one female exception is an elderly lady who says practically nothing other than that she’s ready to die, presumably because she is no longer ...more
Simon Mcleish
Jan 10, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in December 2001.

The world of insurance is not really a very exciting one, but Boyd has managed to make it so in his novel about fraud and pretence. It concentrates on the profession which clearly has the greatest propensity for drama within the field, the insurance adjuster (who checks whether big claims that worry insurance companies are valid - leading here to suicides, death threats and assaults).

The central character is Lorimer Black, who starts the nove
Jul 13, 2007 Melody rated it liked it
Recommended to Melody by: Bryan Johnson
A loss adjuster with an insurance company, who goes by Lorimer Black but whoes birth name is Milomre Blocj, discovers his world is coming apart and he is not quite sure why. His car is torched, his job is threatened, his father dies, he is saddled with a horrible house guest, he can't sleep and the woman who he falls in love with (and who is being abused by her husband) insists that she is not interested in him and demands that he leave her alone. He collects ancient Greek helments (I think this ...more
Jul 08, 2009 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any book that makes me imagine Daniel Craig as the protagonist has to be good. Our hero is a loss adjuster for the insurance industry but still dapper, gorgeous, mysterious, tidy -- and heterosexual! He has a secret past and a double life AND a sleep disorder. While the nonstop action is what really drives the plot, this book is strangely moving (despite the subject matter). Lots of British detail and slice-of-life info.
Feb 26, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just discovered a group of fabulous British authors. This book is so well written with a Vonnegust-esque sense of humor but more action. A great read!
Apr 08, 2015 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I love William Boyd. This book was quirky, I liked it.
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Contemporary London satire read by Stephen Critchlow
Marcus Hobson
Mar 25, 2015 Marcus Hobson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
I really enjoyed this book.

If you told me that I would enjoy a book about a London loss-adjuster quite so much, then I would have laughed at you. It was excellent. The young man in question, Lorimer Black, recently morphed from someone called, less conveniently, Milomre Blocj, is both savvy and likable. He has good taste in clothes and a particular passion for a 3,000 year old Greek helmet.
It is the plethora of little facts that make this novel, lots of little things happening, small insignific
May 16, 2012 Kristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be completely delightful. Lorimer Black, who is a bit of a head case and a total stalker, is someone I would surely go out of my way to avoid in real life, but on the page, I loved him and rooted for him every step of the way. Well, mostly every step. The stalking was creepy, even though he thought he was being sweet. I loved all the ridiculous stuff that kept happening to him; by the end, I was laughing out loud as things got more and more crazy. Torquil and Hogg (and their vari ...more
Penny Reinecke
Jul 24, 2015 Penny Reinecke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Lorimar slowly descends into his sleepless satirical black hole of a nightmare that had become his life. He takes it all in as if it is somehow not really happening and he's standing apart from it, as if wading through a sluggish dream, half asleep half awake, any minute expecting to wake up and all will be well.

It starts with the torching of a building. His car is torched. He organises his brother to arrange the torching of another car. The supermarket is torched and finally
Angus McKeogh
Dec 02, 2016 Angus McKeogh rated it really liked it
Much better than I was anticipating and sometimes that's the best result. Looking to be underwhelmed and it turns out rather fantastic. Funny, irreverent, and just a quirky love story in the end about an insurance adjuster.
Bonny Macisaac
Mar 07, 2016 Bonny Macisaac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first time reading a novel by William Boyd. It starts slow but hang's worth the time and read. I won this book in a giveaway and will be looking for other's by the author. This one keeps you interested right to the end. I don't like to giveaway plots in reviews. Read it for yourself!
Alexandra Brown
Oct 23, 2014 Alexandra Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 3rd book written by William Boyd that I read and I loved it. Humourous story with unusual twists and turns and a lovable main character.
Peter Rowe
Read at some point between 02-07-2000 and 27-07-2000.
Aug 16, 2011 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Armadillo is the story of Lorimer a.k.a. Milo, an insomniac loss adjuster with a personality crisis and an obsession with collecting antique helmets who simultaneously falls in love with an actress glimpsed briefly in a taxi and becomes inadvertently embroiled in an elaborate fraud perpetrated by his own company. There's a straightforward narrative and a parallel set of excerpts from Lorimer's journal which provide a commentary on the action.

I chose to read this book after reading two of Boyd's
Kiera Healy
This was a rather enjoyable darkly satirical novel that reminded me a lot of Boyd's earlier work, A Good Man in Africa. It tells the story of Lorimer Black, an insurance loss adjuster in London. His job is to investigate claims made by clients, with a view to lowering them. The novel opens with his discovery of a client who has hanged himself. Subsequently, his life seems to spiral out of control.

Most of the various areas of Lorimer's life are well-drawn. His family, recently descended from East
Ian Mapp
Feb 06, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not at all sure about this.... if it wasnt boyd, I think I would have either given up or perhaps not continued to seek him out.

Unlike the other two that I have read, this failed to engage me properly and I struggled to find its meaning and definitely failed to find the humour that was so promised by the words on the back.

It tells the story of Lorimer Black, who works in insurance as a loss adjuster. On the start of one of his days, he finds one of his claimee hung. A job of a loss adjuster is ma
May 19, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of quirky characters with odd names: Lorimer, Marlobe. A sleep-deprived up-and-comer, transcending yet tied to his gypsy family, striving for the world of big money, sharp suits, flash automobiles; discovers a swamp of intrigue, fraud, suicide. Attaches to an enigmatic beauty who he glimpses in the window of a passing car.

William Boyd is a gorgeous writer: " He had a clear sight of the City Airport across the choppy blue-gray waters of Albert Dock and beyond that, dark against the
Sep 09, 2016 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
Strange but enjoyable. Didn't get the point of it until I read the criticism here. Wish I had read the criticism first. Ah well.
Jan 13, 2010 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't understand how people can't find this book fascinating, for all its variations in style. Boyd usually writes fairly conventional narratives, but for once he has experimented with a whole host of faintly interwoven story lines, and it works. The confused identity and experiences of Lorimer Black are like an essay in itself, and the way he navigates through all the pitfalls - the hanging incident, the trashing of his car, the plight of his landlady - make him out a faintly heroic figure. H ...more
John Bateman
Apr 12, 2007 John Bateman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Martin Amis fans
Pretty good story. William Boyd is only slightly pretentious in his writing such as when he writes of Lorimer's appearance as a recording studio floor manager complete with stubble, or when he spends a few pages talking to his tailor about the accessories that make the well-dressed English chap.

Necessary for the story, perhaps, as Lorimer invents his own life to his own ideal, but the only bad part, and it's not really "bad".

The character Hogg is great, as is Lorimer's brother. The whole family
Nov 25, 2010 Karschtl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, bc, read-in-2006
Lorimer ist ein etwas kaputter Typ, dem ein paar blöde Dinge passieren aber auch ein Glücksgriff: er trifft seine Traumfrau, die sogar bereits ist sich auf ein Date mit ihm zu treffen. Verheiratet bleibt sie trotzdem, und so bleibt der Weg zum Happy-End steinig und hart. Aber dies hier ist keine Liebesgeschichte, sondern eher ein Einblick in ein paar Wochen eines leicht einsamen Schadenregulierers mit bessarabischer Familie, langweiliger Geliebte und neuer Traumfrau (plus eifersüchtigen Ehemann) ...more
Feb 11, 2010 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mid 2. Lorimar Black, of East European extraction but who has changed his name to be able to achieve success in London society, is a high-flying loss adjustor in an insurance company in the City. However, when one of his cases commits suicide, he is suddenly thrust into the seamy underworld of the capital, as Boyd's novel becomes a mix of comedy and thriller. This book is undoubtedly humorous in places but this tale of one man's inglorious attempts to climb the social ladder and his attempts to ...more
Rogue Reader
Wacky, confusing, funny and tragic - how can a mystery about a loss assessment investigator be all of these? Lorimer has a very, very deep secret, and presents a British upper class persona to the world. How far will he go to protect that secret and betray his being? He can't help but dig himself deeper and deeper into complicated situations from which there will be no escape. Don't know how I found this British page-turner, but glad I did. Would love to see the BBC three episode television adap ...more
Sep 13, 2011 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable enough book about modern day Londoners that lacks any truly unique style or particularly exciting, enchanting characters. One of the tough things about building a book around a mild-mannered hero is that he rarely comes off as truly interesting. The book moves nicely and is easy to read, but it feels like a snack, ultimately, and you can't help feeling, even after the climax that leads Lorimer to pursue a less "safe" existence, that his life will still ultimately be a bit of a let-d ...more
Jun 05, 2014 saizine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing read. I absolutely love the inclusion of Lorimer’s fascination with and collection of ancient helmets as well as the wonderful metaphorical treatment of London (as a labyrinth, as city-states). Really enjoyable use of extremely brief parenthetical asides, too. The plot can feel secondary to character, but it’s wonderful in this case; remarkably immersive — Lorimer’s outlook permeates through every sentence. Certainly a style that’s going to alienate some, but I’d recommend anyone w ...more
Chris Maxwell
I like William Boyd but, for me, this wasn't one of his best. It was just too surreal, too murky, the characters too unpleasant, and it took too long to gather momentum in terms of plot.

It would be unfair to say it wasn't well written or didn't conclude effectively, but if this was his usual style I wouldn't be a fan. I had to force myself through the first hundred pages because it took that long to become coherent for me.

I did enjoy the discussion on sleep disorders, particularly the conclusi
Mar 20, 2014 Chasquis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Large print editions are go! ( I must have been semi delirious when I wrote this.) This essentially serious love story / thriller / crime caper may make you laugh out loud. Some do, some don't, it's like sleep, another topic gone into here. This novel also features the 'outsider/spy/lost soul' type so dear to fiction and non fiction fuck wits alike. Yes, David Thomas, I'm looking at you (but not Albert Camus.)
William Boyd? his writing is divisive, sexist, stylish to a degree, but ultimately empt
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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
More about William Boyd...

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“It was like picking a scab off a sore; he actually wanted scar tissue - it would be quite wrong to try and forget, to blank it all out. Every fraught memory that lurked here had played its role: everything he was today was an indirect result of the life he had led then. It confirmed the rightness of every step he had taken.” 3 likes
“Loss adjusters are noble men who frustrate and negate the bland promises of insurance. We act out of the great unbending principles in life: nothing is sure, nothing is certain, nothing is free, nothing is forever. It is a noble calling.” 2 likes
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