the characters are very thin and a lot of them pointless , the plot creaks like a House of Horror film door , and most of the writing is cliched . most of what Boyd seems to know about spying seems to have come from the Mail on Sunday
here are some gems that i noticed
here is Romer , supposedly a big cheese spy ,explaining the rules of spying " don't trust anyone " he said ..........
god i ...more
He creates wonderful characters in rich geographical settings and plots, often told within a twentieth century historical context: Africa commonly, and also America, oth ...more
The story alternates between the wartime life of Eva, recruited as a spy, and ~30 years later, when she tells her adult daughter about it. There are also subplots relating to the daughter's life, though I think the book would have been better without them: Eva's story is exciting enough without trying to draw weak parallels ...more
Fairly competent world war two spy thriller which goes along at a good pace without taxing the brain too much (not a bad thing as I'm also immersed in Proust and Gass at the moment).
Set in 1976 with flashbacks to 1940/1941. The central characters are Sally and her daughter Ruth. Sally decides to let Ruth knowabout her hidden past as a spy and does so in a series of written chapters which gradually reveal her story. SWhe does so because she thinks someone is trying to kill her a ...more
The shape of the chapters, alternating between the reminiscences and betrayal of the 1940's with the ' present time ' account of the sweltering summer of 1976 was simple but effective. As a young lad in 1976 I remembered that sum ...more
A woman tutoring foreign students in English while she half-heartedly completes a dissertation in history visits her mother in a picturesque village a short drive away. Her mother is a widow, in reasonable good health and in possession of her faculties. But Sally (the mother) has decided it's time to tell Ruth (the daughter) the truth about her life. She's rea ...more
Every critic agrees that William Boyd is a shamefully overlooked author on this side of the Atlantic. A powerful storyteller whose novels span genres and continents, Boyd often subtly ruminates on the thin line between private and public life. In Restless he fictionalizes a little-known moment of international espionage while using the conventions of spy thrillers to explore a generation gap. Critics roundly praise Sally's story. It's her daughter's story that's the trouble: a few reviewers find...more
Mr. Boyd has that remarkable ability and talent to tell a story that keeps the reader engaged right to the end. This is an espionage novel, a war novel, and a love story. Sally Gilmartin, a woman in her seventies living in Oxford, begins giving pieces of her memoirs to her daughter, Ruth – a single mom. She reveals, first of all, that she is not Sally Gilmartin, but actually Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian emigre recruited for the British Secret Service in 19 ...more
Ruth Gilmartin is a graduate student in history at Oxford, 28-year old single mother of a three-year old son, Jochen. On a hot Saturday in the summer of 1976 her world is turned upside down when her mother reveals that her identity as Sally Gilmartin (nee Fairchild) is an elaborately constructed fabrication. Turns out that Sally is actually Eva De ...more
Un solido romanzo di “spionaggio”, classico nella forma (due linee narrative alternate, con protagoniste madre e figlia, la prima delle quali si svolge negli anni della II guerra mondiale) ma originale per molti aspetti che si celano dietro l’apparenza di una tipica opera “di genere”.
Boyd in effetti non è Forsyth o Le Carré ma un autore contemporaneo inglese che in patria vanta una prestigio paragonabile ai McEwan, Coe o Barnes ed è un habitué dei premi letterari (questo “ ...more
Ruth always knew t ...more
We were comparing notes on our best reads of the past twelve months. I was very glad for the introduction because I enjoyed Restless a lot. But not completely…
Particularly thrilling is the recruitment to the British Secret Service of a young woman, Eva, in a state of emotional distress following the loss of her brother, who has been murdered and she ...more
The novel takes place on two historical timelines simultaneously: oxford in the the 1970's (presented as the present day) and Europe/US during World War II. In Oxford a young single mother taking her PhD, is handed a file by her eccentric mother. The file describes a life she did not know her mot ...more
The long and the short of the story is this:
Ruth Gilmartin is a graduate student with a young son, working as a tutor while she is supposed to be working on her thesis. She visits her mother Sally dutifully every weekend, and on one weekend, her mother makes the startling announcement that she thinks someone is trying to kill her ...more
The dual time frame structure of the book worked well. The two strands eventually meeting at the denouement brought the whole thing to a satisfying conclusion. My only criticism is that “The Story of Eva Delectorskaya” was written as just ...more
I find William Boyd a good storyteller, and an intelligent writer, but I suppose I expected slightly more from the writing - it was all pretty strong and straight, with not much playfulness or quirkiness. The first half I enjoyed more than the denou ...more
I say "back in World War II" because the novel's present day setting is 1976 and the World War II setting emerges from a memoir the mother writes recou ...more
This book is another timeslip novel, set in the 1970s and the 1940s. Ruth gets vaguely involved with some half hearted protestors, while her mother in the 1940s is a spy in an organisation which creates propaganda for use in the second world war. The two stories come ...more
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
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A taxi'll come', she said. 'I'm in no hurry'.
She remembered something a woman in Paris had told her once. A woman in her forties, much married, elegant, a little world-weary. There is nothing easier in this world, this woman had claimed, than getting a man to kiss you. Oh really? Eva had said, so how do you do that? Just stand close to a man, the woman has said, very close, as close as you can without touching - he will kiss you in one minute or two. It's inevitable. For them it's like an instinct - they can't resist. Infaillible.
So Eva stood close to Romer in the doorway of the shop on Frith Street as he shooted and waved at the passing cars moving down the dark street, hoping one of them might be a taxi.
We're out of luck', he said, turning, to find Eva standing very close to him, her face lifted.
I'm in no hurry', she said.
He reached for her and kissed her.”