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 ..........
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
Ruth always knew t...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
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
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
Ruth, a single mother with a five-year-old son, is suddenly drawn into the life of her mother, Sally Gilmartin. Sally tells Ruth she believes someone is trying to kill her. She then writes a journal of her involvement as a British spy in WW II. The novel is based on an extraordinary chapter of real history, the World War before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, where the English were fighting...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
I was underwhelmed by this book, the first William Boyd I have read. It's interesting from the perspective that we learn a lot about British spying activities in WW2 and I enjoyed remembering 1976 but it more or less ended there for me. The plot line was fairly thin in respect of both mother and daughter's stories and I found Ruth's approach by the British detective a ridiculous attempt to draw a parallel between her and her mother's lives. All in all, I'm disappointed in Boyd as I expected more...more
HOWEVER, i loved reading Eva's story but Ruth's (horrible name, especially when the Middle Eastern guy calls her Root) story was a bore for the most part. I still always wanted to keep listening though!
I thought the pencil part in the new Batman movie...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
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 past does not remain so, defying time, in this novel, as payback is sought and won. I will leave you to the enjoyment of narrative suspense.
What is worth discussing is the ambiguity in Boyd's...more
Then her mother gives her the first part of her autobiography to read, and Ruth's life is turned on end. Sally Gilmartin is really Eva Delectoraskaya, a Russian refugee recruited before WWII as a spy for Britain. Her main assignment was in the United States, putting out propaganda to force the government to com...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
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
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
While I will not reiterate the storyline and spoil it for those who've not yet read (reviewers, why do you do that?), I liked the different slant Mr Boyd presented on the usual British WWII spy...more
At the age of nine years he attended Gordonstoun school, in Moray, Scotland an...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.”