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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  239 ratings  ·  23 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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Russell Bittner
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
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!
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
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.
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

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
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
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
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
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."
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!
Sensational. The only problem with these short stories is that I didn't want them to end.
The story "Adult Video" is exceptional. "The Mind-Body Problem" is also quite good.
Freddy Fynn
A great masterpiece.
*the ghost of a bird*
Not bad
Tom marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2015
Robin Harris
Robin Harris marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2015
Charlie marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2015
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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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