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Armadillo

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  1,439 ratings  ·  84 reviews
From the award-winning author of A Good Man Africa and An Ice-Cream War comes Armadillo, a brilliant satirical noir set in contemporary London.

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 ro
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 11th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1998)
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Melody
Oct 19, 2007 Melody rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Contemporary London satire read by Stephen Critchlow
.
Simon Mcleish
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
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Lydia
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.
Lauren
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!
Ian Mapp
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
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Kristina
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
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
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Brian
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
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Mark Speed
This novel received mixed reviews. It's a while since I read it, so I can't recall it in great detail. However, I do remember that I enjoyed it, and that the author had managed to suspend disbelief, put believable characters into an interesting situation and make it a compelling read. I do think you need to have a basic like and understanding of dark humour to enjoy a novel of this ilk. If that's not your thing, then you might struggle.
Brian Boyle
I generally love Boyd's writing, but this is one novel that I did not enjoy. Since his books tend to revolve around a single main character, it rather depends whether you care what happens to that character. In this case, I really struggled to care. I also find this novel, with a contemporary (2000) setting, has dated much more than many of his other novels, with a largely historical setting.
Adam
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
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
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Chasquis
Large print editions are go! Spoiler alert, 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 by William Boyd here. This novel also features the 'outsider/spy/lost soul' type so dear to fiction and non fiction churner-outers alike. Yes, David Thomas, I'm looking at you (and Albert Camus of course.)
Stephanie
Not sure about this book. I enjoyed the main plot which is quite intricate and well-thought out. However, there is lots of detail about journeys through London and about aspects of dress, neither of which really meant anything to me so I think I might have missed out on some of the deeper meaning.
Judy Fowler
I now know that this is what I've missed-I don't just want a story-I want to engage with the characters. I have enjoyed the 'winter warmer' book collection but I don't think you can beat the sensation of wanting to cry out 'don't do it!and the warmth and humour when they do.
Larkspur
Boring once you leave the introduction, not picking up again until more than 2/3 of the way through, Armadillo is the Fremdschämen-filled story of a stalker who finds his stalking justified, supported be an unlikeable cast of one-dimensional characters (who are sometimes completely indistinguishable from one another, especially in the case of the female members of his family).
Alexandra Brown
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.
Steve
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 avoid s ...more
Lynda
Quite enjoyable with interesting characters and a bit of insight into the world of insurance liss adjustment. Slightly unfinished feeling - none of the characters were fully resolved.
John Bateman
Apr 12, 2007 John Bateman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Karschtl
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
Susan Ross
I enjoyed it as an easy, engaging tale. I won't describe it as 'comedic' despite what the blurb suggests.
Richard Novak
I liked this book. Found it in a reference somewhere about that one should not wear brown shoes.
Miles Carter
Enjoyable, but not nearly up to the level of Any Human Heart or The New Confessions.
David Whittlestone
A great story. No wonder so many keep cropping up in our second hand book stall!
Ashland Mystery Oregon
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
Stuart
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
saizine
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
Estibaliz79
No estoy segura de si esta vez tengo la famosa duda con el medio punto, que en cualquier caso sería hacia arriba, porque la historia entretiene, y el protagonista es todo un elemento al que se le acaba cogiendo el punto, y hasta cierto cariño, a pesar de sus rarezas... o acaso por las mismas. Pero empiezo a tener un problema reconocido con los finales de Boyd (y eso con sólo dos títulos), que cuando no son abruptos me dejan con las ganas, en el sentido decepcionante de la expresión.

Pues eso... n
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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
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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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