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3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  268 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Described as the finest storyteller generation, Boyd shows his mastery of the form as these stories range widely through time and space.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 7th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published October 7th 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 466)
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Russell Bittner
May 13, 2013 Russell Bittner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it’s merely the uncanny juxtaposition of two simple words that lets us know we’re reading a great writer. “(V)ast insouciance” — from the short story “The Pigeon” — is such an example.

William Boyd is not just a wordsmith; he’s a magician who pulls rabbit-words out of hats, throws them together, then lets us marvel at the effect. Problem is, we come away from the page thinking — we, the rest of us, we other purveyors of English prose — what’s the point? Why even bother? With writers lik
Tim Love
16 stories. 208 pages. Typically, a hetero-sexual man in a long-distance relationship meets a pretty stranger, and/or a man has a nervous breakdown. There are several artists and no shortage of music, breasts, World Wars in Northern Europe, name-changing and signs.

Stories are often episodic, even fragmentary. "Visions Fugitives" has some sections that are letters, some that supposedly come from tourist guides, etc. It has this passage - I ... shuffle the images that slip into my mind. ... You kn
Nick Davies
Jan 31, 2016 Nick Davies rated it liked it
Overall interesting, but confirmation that short stories aren't really my thing - they seem to have limitations which outweigh the advantages. Though Boyd writes beautifully, this collection of sixteen stories (loosely on the subject of desire) illustrated that his abilities are wasted unless the plot can make each piece worthwhile. I may read some of his full-length fiction, but he didn't strike me as an exceptional writer.

Averaging each story out, three stars is correct as a 'score'.

Brief summ
Elizabeth Moffat
This is the first time I have come across William Boyd and perhaps it wasn't the best place to start? This is a collection of sixteen short stories - I enjoyed A Haunting, Incandescence and The Ghost of a Bird but found many of the others unremarkable. And abrupt endings? This author must be the king of them!
Tracy Fells Fells
Sep 07, 2015 Tracy Fells Fells rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I particularly enjoyed how Boyd experimented with form and structure in this collection. There are only a handful that follow a traditional narrative form and I liked that. He accurately captures the male voice in a time of mental, and usually mid-life, crisis, both with humanity and humour. There is a truly sinister story of spiritual possession, 'A Haunting', in this collection, which is a close rival to Penelope Lively's story: 'Revenant as typewriter'. A couple of these needed a second read ...more
David Hebblethwaite
So I decided it was about time I read something by William Boyd – but where to start with such a prolific author? I asked for suggestions on Twitter, and the most common response by far was his 1987 novel The New Confessions. I looked for that book next time I was in the library, but they didn’t have it; instead, I came away with Fascination, one of Boyd’s short story collections – and it wasn’t the best place to start.

Most of Boyd’s protagonists in these stories experience sudden (and often unh
Jun 11, 2015 Oliko rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
As a big lover of short stories, I was looking forward to William Boyd’s collection. Alas, I found stories in “Fascination” the book a bit timid, unimpressive, some of them completely unengaging and easily forgettable (the one thing that is stuck in my memory is the number of middle-aged men going through midlife crisis – Boyd portrays them aplenty).

But then there was a couple of stories that drew my breath away. And it was worth it. Four stars, and I will be reading more of Boyd’s musings.
Apr 16, 2007 abby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few too many stories that I'd probably appreciate a lot more if I was a man going through a midlife crisis. I am quite biased, but I find these types of characters a) boring and b) creepy. There were a few moments that made me wonder whether it was the narrator or the author himself who completely lacked self awareness (for example, a married middle aged journalist blithely propositions his 19 year old interview subject, with little acknowledgment of her extreme discomfort), and a b ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

All but the most diehard fans of postmodernism will likely find Boyd's formal idiosyncrasies jarring. His abrupt changes in style and experimental narrative techniques prompted some critics to hail him as a virtuoso. Others felt that Fascination lacked the conventional pleasures of plot and character-more than one reader found these tales of anguished artists tiresome. This collection is more likely to satisfy on an intellectual level than an emotional one; readers bothered by gimmicks would do

Sep 19, 2008 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascination by William Boyd is a set of sixteen short stories. This may not sound either surprising or original until one considers their form. The author uses at least nine different and clearly identifiable forms in which to present this work. One takes the form of a video. There are childhood memories, a diary, a journal, an A-to-Z listing. One story is a set of dialogues over lunch. Another is a set of monologues. And William Boyd’s use of these different forms is not just a writer’s trick t ...more
Mar 05, 2016 Pembsgirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
William Boyd's writing makes me his stories for the odd delivery and twists and turns. He does like to write about lecherous men though.
Nov 01, 2011 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About half way into the first story I realised I'd read this before; I thought finding a book in the library by an author I like that I hadn't already read was too good to be true.

Interestingly, some of the stories felt a lot longer second time around, while others seemed far shorter and some I didn't remember at all. All are worth reading for fans of Mr Boyd and all contain his trademarks of well-drawn, complex characters, frequently on the horns of challenging moral or other dilemmas.
Mwai Nyamu
Apr 30, 2016 Mwai Nyamu rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books
There's loads of affairs and flings, but not with the sort of 50 shades description that would attract the masses. It's got the same problem as most short story comps that I've attempted to get through. There's only about 3 stories that I loved, the rest were really slow, boring or confusing. There was no in between
Gary Davison
Jan 21, 2011 Gary Davison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halfway through this and have been blown away by two or three stories and the others very decent. Boyd knows how to capture the best part of a story and present it in this short format. It often feels like you've actually read a novel and not a short story.
Wide-ranging set of short stories. The focus is often on the seedier side of life which gets wearisome before very long. One or two gems (The Ghost of a Bird, Varengeville) plus some gimmicky ones (Lunch, Adult Video) but mostly fairly pedestrian stuff.
Dean Serravalle
Jun 28, 2008 Dean Serravalle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, I am definitely appreciating Boyd's succinct prose and cinematic style of writing. It also comes across as very confessional, but in a subtle way. So far so good for a diverse short story collection.
"Comment savoir si votre vie est intrinsèquement dépourvue d'interêt ? Vous le savez, point final. Certaines personnes s'en accomodent dans la tristesse et le silence, d'autres tentent d'y remédier."
Apr 04, 2010 Brendan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
A short story collection- twelve in all. A good variety of settings and characters. Well-paced pieces, creatively presented. "Notebook No. 9" and "A Haunting" seem the best to me.

I wanted to like these stories but just couldn't. Found the stories rather inane and uninteresting and felt that the protagonist's were generally boring and superficial.
La première histoire, celle du titre, est belle. Un homme qui dévie sa route et rencontre ue femme qui deviendra sa maitresse. Les autres m'ont emmerdées.
Boyd writes with an attention to the interior that can be consuming. the simple short one in this collection titled "the view from yves hill" is a good one.
Jan 31, 2013 Kenneth marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Apr 11, 2011 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sensational. The only problem with these short stories is that I didn't want them to end.
Feb 14, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story "Adult Video" is exceptional. "The Mind-Body Problem" is also quite good.
Freddy Fynn
A great masterpiece.
May 22, 2010 Athena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*the ghost of a bird*
Not bad
Matt Sydes
Matt Sydes rated it really liked it
May 29, 2016
Jen marked it as to-read
May 28, 2016
Sandy Dale
Sandy Dale rated it really liked it
May 29, 2016
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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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