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3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,740 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
One cold winter's morning, Lorimer Black -- insurance adjuster, young, good-looking, on the rise -- goes out on a perfectly ordinary business appointment, finds a hanged man and realizes that his life is about to be turned upside down. The elements at play: a beautiful actress glimpsed in a passing taxi . . . an odd new business associate whose hiring, firing and rehiring ...more
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published October 6th 1998 by Knopf (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,704)
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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
Oct 19, 2007 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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!
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Contemporary London satire read by Stephen Critchlow
May 07, 2015 Judi rated it really liked it

I love William Boyd. This book was quirky, I liked it.
Marcus Hobson
Jan 10, 2016 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
Penny Reinecke
Jul 24, 2015 Penny Reinecke rated it really liked it
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
May 16, 2012 Kristina rated it it was amazing
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
May 26, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it
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
Bonny Macisaac
Mar 07, 2016 Bonny Macisaac rated it really liked it
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
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.
Ian Mapp
Feb 06, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it it was ok
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
Kiera Healy
Feb 26, 2013 Kiera Healy rated it liked it
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
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
Mark Speed
Mar 07, 2014 Mark Speed rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 13, 2010 Adam rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 25, 2014 Chasquis rated it really liked it
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.)
Sep 20, 2015 Rik rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contempoary, fiction
A rather uneventful and disappointing novel, in which nothing really happens. There are many long, dull descriptions of the path through London that the character takes, merely telling you which roads he took, if this was a film you'd be bored stiff, and it's only Boyd's writing skill that remotely saves this from being unreadable.
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
May 21, 2014 Judy Fowler rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 24, 2014 Larkspur rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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).
May 02, 2015 Kevin rated it did not like it
How can an author I like write a book that I hate so much? Ugh, I have read 5-6 Boyd books and liked them all until I read this one. Awful. Boring.
Aug 15, 2015 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
Dec 11, 2014 Lynda rated it liked it
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 it was amazing
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
Susan Ross
Sep 28, 2014 Susan Ross rated it liked it
I enjoyed it as an easy, engaging tale. I won't describe it as 'comedic' despite what the blurb suggests.
Diaconu Vlad
May 10, 2016 Diaconu Vlad rated it it was amazing
it was an exceptional book, with a lot of visual descriptions and with a good story at the base
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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...

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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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