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Ordinary Thunderstorms
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Ordinary Thunderstorms

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  3,858 ratings  ·  553 reviews
A thrilling, plot-twisting novel from the author of Restless, a national bestseller and winner of the Costa Novel of the Year Award.

It is May in Chelsea, London. The glittering river is unusually high on an otherwise ordinary afternoon. Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, ambles along the Embankment, admiring the view. He is pleasantly surprise
ebook, 379 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2009)
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Good Reads now makes recommendations, amazon makes recommendations, my friends here guide my impulses of what to put on my wishlist, I have a shelf of unread books that is quietly groaning under the weight of past purchases, and yet, and yet.....
Certain elements come together: I've just sold two books - never mind that, in the past weeks, five have come in for the two going out - it's November and I'm feeling end-of-the-yearish, days-drawing-in-ish, and even if I do buy a lot of my books online,
Stop me if you‘ve heard this one before. An innocent person discovers someone who has just been murdered, and then they stupidly pick up the weapon, end up covered in blood and then they’re accused of the crime. That scene has played out so many times in pop entertainment that I think anyone with more than ten working brain cells would instantly know that the one thing you should never do if you find a body is pick up the murder weapon.

Then I met Adam Kindred in Ordinary Thunderstorms. Adam is
Simon Lipson
I recently finished reading William Boyd's latest novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms. It took me forever because I kept abandoning it then picking it up again. I mean, surely it couldn't be that awful all the way through to the final page. Could it? Well, no. Somehow, it actually got worse before disappearing up its own bottom with a grim squelch. I had to check that this was the same William Boyd who wrote Restless and Armadillo. Tragically, it was.

I'm not Boyd's biggest fan, but have generally foun
Ordinary Thunderstorms is an extremely flawed novel. It's ostensibly a mystery, but it never completely solves that mystery. The protagonist makes a series of very odd choices that don't strike me as being believable. The ending is kind of a non-ending with a lot of loose threads, yet it's clearly not setting up a sequel. Yet, I give it 4 stars for the beauty of the writing. Boyd does an amazing job describing his characters and the setting. He uses an astounding vocabulary, but doesn't sound li ...more
Immensely enjoyable, Ordinary Thunderstorms is a literary thriller set in the world of global pharamceutical companies and packed with enough plot twists for half a dozen novels.

It takes the reader on a whistlestop tour of London society, from millionaires to illiterate prostitutes via academics, hospital porters, dissolute lords, police officers and self-styled African bishops.

The plot springs into life within the first few pages when, after a chance encounter in a cafe, the hero, Adam Kindred
PROTAGONIST: Adam Kindred, climatologist
SERIES: Standalone
RATING: 4.75
WHY: In London for a job interview, promising climatologist Adam Kindred eats at an Italian restaurant where he makes the acquaintance of Dr. Philip Wang. Wang leaves a folder behind, which Adam tries to return. He ends up walking in just as Wang is dying after being stabbed. He pulls the knife out, thereby setting himself on a collision course with the police as well as a hired killer. He can't return to life
Henry David Thoreau decided to live in a cabin next to a pond, and his writing has enjoyed a long shelf life because of it.* It's an unusual decision to live out, but not an unusual decision to imagine living.

Regardless of how irritated I've felt about society, I've always fallen back on the belief that it would be impossible to live underground in the 21st century. I was wrong.

In his latest novel, William Boyd spends the better part of 400 pages showing that people are living off the grid all t
The core of this book is a steal from The 39 Steps, with an innocent man finding himself at the wrong place at the right time, interrupting a murder for which he is subsequently framed. Spinning out from this we have the familiar tropes of such thrillers recast with a modern, literary bent: the hero goes on the run, but rather than fleeing to Scotland he loses himself in the murky London underworld of outcasts and the homeless; the murderer is clear from the outset, though who he’s working for i ...more
Nick Sweeney
I like William Boyd's writing a lot, and have read everything of his apart from his spoof biography of painter Nat Tate, which I must track down. My favourite WB books are The New Confessions and Any Human Heart, which were both long sagas taking in a lot of events and people through the whole of the twentieth century, and I feel that he pulls off such monumental tasks with great skill. He also does small worlds very well, such as those in Brazzaville Beach and A Good Man in Africa. So how does ...more
Sep 12, 2011 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone

William Boyd is Scottish by descent, was born in Ghana, and educated in Scotland and France. He completed a PhD in literature at Oxford. He is to my thinking a hybrid, an intellectual who has written a dozen novels, won awards but is considered British because he lives there part of the time. (You will see where I am going with this.) I have always been curious about his books, though Ordinary Thunderstorms, his 12th novel, is the first I have read. It won't be the last.

Recently I have come acro
Iain Rowan
I'm not quite sure what Boyd was going for here: a straight thriller, or a playful pastiche. Neither worked, for me, and it left the book as an uncomfortable amalgam of the two. I'm a sucker for stories about identity, and about missing people, but part of the reason this disappointed was that the protagonist was rather flat, and I never felt as if I got inside his skin. Some of the secondary characters were the same, from the ex-SAS coldhearted killer to the prostitute with a heart of gold, spe ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
In his tenth novel, Boyd takes a stab at the ""wronged-man-on-the-run"" plot, with mixed results. While some critics thought it a ""snappy page-turner, a true thriller"" (Philadelphia Inquirer), others felt the story falters under the weight of clunky writing and tiresome clich̩s. This came as a surprise to reviewers, who were accustomed to the elegant, precise prose in Boyd's earlier works. Ordinary Thunderstorms may not appeal to the conventional thriller fan. It perhaps works best as a novel ...more
Crossett  Library
How tenuous is our position in this world? Think about your job, your lifestyle, your relationships. William Boyd sets his main character, Adam Kindred, through a series of unfortunate coincidences that ends with Kindred being hunted by both the police and other forces. His only way out is to completely go off the grid---in essence lead a 19th-century existence in a 21st-century world. Kindred meets up with a variety of characters living day-to-day in London, in his efforts to stay alive long en ...more
Helen Dunn
My first novel from William Boyd (an author who came highly recommended) was not a disappointment.

Interesting characters, complicated plot, and a well developed sense of place come together into a well paced thriller. I think it's a good thing when I say that I felt I was reading an HBO drama.

The original premise is a bit crazy (mistaken identity) and it might all come together a bit too neatly in the end, but the week of reading between point A and point B was worth those minor flaws.

I will
William Boyd is well... well... how do I put this tactfully? He's like an easy a dish you make when entertaining guests. My go to easy dish is meatballs. It isn't the best dish I make but it easy and it tastes good. With the right presentation it doesn't look ordinary or boring. Secondly, I know they're just meatballs but they taste darn good. Suck that IKEA meatballs! Just kidding! But do you want to know the truth? It never fails every time I make them some asks me to disclose the ingredients ...more
Ron Charles
The most astonishing thing about William Boyd's fine new novel is how hackneyed its opening chapter is. It reads so much like a parody of thriller conventions that you expect Alfred Hitchcock to waddle out and drawl, "Good eve-en-ning."

On the first page, we learn that a young climatologist named Adam Kindred has "no idea how his life is about to change in the next few hours -- massively, irrevocably -- no idea at all." Okay, then, we're ready for excitement -- massively, irrevocably ready: Notic
Ronald Roseborough
Have you ever set aside a book promising yourself to read it later, because another book came along that you were dying to read? Then another book comes along that was well hyped and then another. Eventually you find that first book under a pile of other books you have read. You finally get a chance to read it and it turns out this book is better than many of the other books you read since you first set this one aside. Ordinary Thunderstorms: A Novel is that book. Adam Kindred is a young man who ...more
David Williams
I had been slightly disappointed by the last William Boyd novel I read, 'Any Human Heart', largely because of its lack of focus and its sprawling nature. I expected this one, in the thriller genre, to be much tighter, and it was, though Boyd still manages to cram a lot of characters in (rather too many - a few are mere caricatures) and takes us on quite a journey round London, from corporate jungle to sink estates, with the river literally and metaphorically at the heart of the story.

The basic p
I enjoyed this book. Having read the thoughtful and original Restless, I looked forward to it. It was in fact completely different from the previous work. I like that in an author – the ability to change genre. This was a fast-paced thriller based on a Hitchcock-style wrong-man-did-it type story. In London to interview for an academic job, to escape from his US life that has crumbled around him, Adam Kindred manages to walk into a murder-in-progress and leave his fingerprints all over it. Instea ...more
I was flipping through a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly and read Stephen King's column in which he was recommending books. This was his current number one choice and I'm happy I followed his advice. This was one of those rare books that are hard to put down. At first, I was annoyed by the protagonist, Adam Kindred. Although he had his reasons, he does something very stupid in the beginning that is the catalyst for this tale. But events progress from there and Adam proves to be not so stupi ...more
Boyd is skilled enough to craft characters and scenarios that grab the reader, but the story he wants to tell is oftentimes an ill fit with the structure of a suspense novel. Ordinary Thunderstorms is marketed as a straight-ahead mystery-thriller, but Boyd’s plot, while atmospheric and sometimes engrossing, is too leisurely paced to maintain any narrative thrust.

As a cat-and-mouse chase it lacks a sense of true urgency, and as an exploration into the evils of corporations, it falls far short of
Adam Kindred is a climatologist who has moved to London after an unfortunate sexual incident with one of his students at the University where he is a professor. Now divorced and unemployed because of the incident, he has an interview today. Interview goes well, and he steps into a restaurant/bar for a bite to celebrate. A man seated at a nearby tble strikes up a brief conversation with him, but leaves a folder on Adam's table as he departs. When Adam contacts the man, he offers to bring the fold ...more
This novel worked pretty well as a thriller. It also was a convincing portrayal of the twilight world that some people inhabit in London, if they fear for their legality. To the books credit I read about 250 pages in one sitting, such was the pace of the story. The end felt a bit contrived, something, which is difficult to avoid with this genre. I am also conscious of the influences of my peers having just returned from my offline book club meeting. If it had had more emotional or intellectual i ...more
I liked this story and thought the writing was good. Boyd intersperses interesting details throughout and creates realistic characters with believable dialogue. The story is well paced and suspenseful but also has contemporary issues that are worthy of contemplation.

I sympathized with the protagonist and liked thinking about how difficult it would be to go "off the grid" if you were on the run the way he was.

I liked what the author did with the ending but at the same time I was expecting somet
Amos Magliocco
If I'd started earlier in the summer I'd probably finish it, but time is short before school and there's still several stacks of unread books around the house. I don't remember how many point-of-view characters appear in the first 100 pages of ORDINARY THUNDERSTORMS, at least five, and while the plot is compelling and the depiction of contemporary London is illuminating, the book doesn't offer itself enough space for real character work, at least not yet.

Believe it or not I wasn't reading this
A mild-mannered scientist having a meal after a job interview in London strikes up a conversation with another man who leaves behind a portfolio when he leaves. Adam, the main character, wants to do a good deed and return the portfolio. When he gets to the man's flat, he finds the door ajar and the man lying on his bed dying from stab wounds. He tells Adam to pull out the knife, and this act begins a series of events for Adam that forever change his life and him.
Boyd is a good storyteller! Plus
Nancy Martira
I don't mind the convention of having the narrative split among several characters, but there are far too many narrators in this story, and the author never gives you enough time to latch onto any one thread before changing voices again. The story is too predictable to be called a "thriller" but the insight into the many different micro-cities within London was enough to keep me reading to the end of the book. My diligence was rewarded with many loose ends, but the story stopped just short of fe ...more
William Boyd's Ordinary Thunderstorms doesn't have much to do with thunderstorms and its opening premise is weak: a scientist stumbles across a murder and feels he is sufficiently implicated (though he is innocent) that he must abandon his life and become a street person until coincidence and fortune guide him through his crisis, If we can swallow that, the book then becomes a kind of thriller. Will our hero, Adam, be killed by the real killer? Will the real killer's employers, a drug company, s ...more
After an interview for a fabulous job in London Adam Kindred meets a strangely behaving man in a restaurant and, soon after witnesses a murder. He realises that all the evidence -circumstantial and physical (DNA) places him firmly in the guilty spot and so he goes to ground, literally. A small plot in Chelsea by the Thames and a bridge, behind a fence and amongst trees and bushes.

William Boyd is a great story teller and this is a great story. Examining how people can drop of the radar in our mod

Un chercheur en climatologie venu passer un entretien d'embauche à la fac, se voit à la suite d'une fâcheuse rencontre poursuivi non seulement par la police anglaise, mais également par une bande de mafieux. Il doit donc renoncer à son identité, et tenter de survivre sans argent ni abri à Londres.

Partons du principe que nous soyons de bonne volonté, et que nous acceptions volontiers de croire que c'était la seule solution pour le personnage : alors on passe un très bon moment, en vivant les ave
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THE LISTS: Novel Update 11 12 Dec 01, 2011 06:14PM  
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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 about William Boyd...
Restless Any Human Heart Waiting for Sunrise Brazzaville Beach A Good Man in Africa

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