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Love is Blind

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,703 ratings  ·  339 reviews
Love is Blind is William Boyd's sweeping, heart-stopping new novel. Set at the end of the 19th century, it follows the fortunes of Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician, about to embark on the story of his life.

When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in h
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 20th 2018 by Viking
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,703 ratings  ·  339 reviews

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This has all the inimitable style and qualities of an epic character driven William Boyd novel, of love, passion, obsession and music within a historical period presaging the great changes in the world at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a beautifully written and structured story of the life of the young Scottish Brodie Moncur, afflicted with health issues, employed at the Channon Piano Company in Edinburgh, when he is offered the opportunity to work in their Paris outlet which he ferv ...more
Andrew Smith
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
William Boyd writes books you can get lost in. In Any Human Heart and The New Confessions so rich is his mix of fact and fiction that he almost convinced me he was writing about the life of a real people. He wasn't of course, but I became so immersed in the lives of Logan Mountstuart and John James Todd that I really found it hard to accept I was reading a piece if fiction. I’d lived the life of these characters and at the end of both books I experienced a tearful moment when I reached the final ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading a William Boyd novel ensures a view of history, some travel and a somewhat naive main character trying to make sense of the world. Love Is Blind is no exception. The novel is set in the late 19th and early 20th century, focusing on Brodie Moncur, a Scottish piano tuner. Brodie comes from a large dysfunctional family near Glasgow, and he is fortunate to be sent off to Paris to work for a Scottish piano manufacturer. There, he meets Lida, a Russian singer, thereafter becoming blinded by lo ...more
Roman Clodia
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
So that was Lydia Blum... He felt his sphincter loosen and the bubble of air expand to fill his lungs... Brodie felt now as if his innards were molten - as if he might melt in a puddle of sizzling magma on the floor

Well, there are ways to write about physical love, lust and desire but this isn't it - for me, at any rate. Boyd's prose is no more than workmanlike in this book which manages to be both bogged down in detail (why do we need to know precisely which brand of cigarettes each character
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, favorites

Falling in love is the one illogical adventure, the one thing of which we are tempted to think as supernatural, in our trite and reasonable world. The effect is out of all proportion with the cause.
Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque

A writer at the height of his narrative powers embarks on an incredible journey that takes his hero, Brodie Moncur, across half the world on a quest of self discovery. The exotic places he visits are ultimately irrelevant to the true scope of his life, a s
Look at the title, it says it all. This is first and foremost a love story, or rather, multiple love stories. Set at the turn of the 19th century, it is a period piece drawing the life of a Scot, Brodie Moncur. Look at the surname; if one is acquainted with French, one sees there a play on words. We follow Brodie from 1888, when he is eighteen, to 1906, in his mid-thirties, and from Edinburgh to Paris to Geneva to Nice to St. Petersburg to Biarritz to Vienna to Graz to Trieste to finally the Nic ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Like the inner workings of a finely-tuned piano, the harmony of William Boyd’s Love is Blind is the work of true craftsmanship that is sensed more than outwardly observed.

On the surface, it’s a rousing good yarn – a book that is, among other things, a novel about the fine art of piano tuning (Brodie Moncur, the protagonist, practices that profession), about love, passion, and revenge, and about how fateful encounters can change the trajectory of one’s life. It’s page-turning and immersing.

Julie Christine
This rich, lovely novel offers a breathtaking tour of fin-de-siècle Scotland, France and Russia seen through the myopic eyes of Brodie Moncur, a renowned Scottish piano tuner. His severe short-sightedness serves as a metaphorical reminder that we should hold his perspective at arm's length. Brodie's adventures abroad often become misadventures due to his poor reading of reality.

Brodie is plucked from a dull piano showroom in Edinburgh to lend support at the company's troubled Paris flagship. Th
Paul Fulcher
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, net-galley
"'You could say,’ Vere mused, ‘that, looking at it from one angle, you’re having an amazing Russian literary experience.’"

In the TLS's recent Booker 50th anniversary edition, various past winners were asked about underrated authors that should have featured more in the prize's reckoning. Thomas Keneally suggested: "William Boyd is a consistently pleasing and illuminating writer. He made it onto the Booker shortlist once with An Ice-Cream War, and – to be honest – should have won it."
Sid Nuncius
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed parts of Love Is Blind, but I found a good deal of it dull and I’m not sure that it added up to much in the end.

The book follows Brodie Moncur from his early working life in the late 19th Century as a talented piano-tuner in Edinburgh as his work and his health needs take him to various places in France, Russia and beyond. He develops an obsessive love for a Russian singer and this is both the driver of the book’s events and the main subject of William Boyd’s interest.

For the first th
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it

A digital ARC of this book was provided to me by the publishing house, Viking, via NetGalley

"Love is Blind" is the bittersweet story of Brodie Moncur, a young Scotish man who fixes pianos for a job, in the late 1800s. But the new century is coming, and so are a lot of changes in Brodie's life. He will fall deeply in love with a Russian soprano, Lika, and this love will perpetuate for all his life, through thick and thin, and through difficulti but wonderful times.

I must admit that I've nev
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Boyd’s vision.

William Boyd writes a story of love and great passion set at the turn of the last century. Brodie Moncur, son of an overbearing patriarchal clergyman, has a particularly musical ear. His work as a highly skilled piano tuner takes him to Paris and beyond, fine-tuning the instruments of the great concert pianists of their day. On one such occasion, he meets Russian opera singer Lika Blum, mistress of a now-fading Irish pianist, and falls madly in love with her. Their affair must be c
Roz Morris
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
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Mary Lins
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
I simply couldn't put down "Love is Blind", by William Boyd, finishing it over a weekend. I was captivated by protagonist Brodie Moncur, a flawed but compelling character blinded by love. Boyd is a fabulous writer, winner of many awards; anyone enamored with beautiful prose and a well paced plot, will love this novel, AND learn a lot about pianos and piano tuning, music, tuberculosis, and the aborigines of the Andaman Islands!
switterbug (Betsey)
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Love is blind” may seem like a tired proverb, but it fits literally and figuratively as a theme for the protagonist in Boyd’s new novel, which spans over a decade at the turn of the 19th century. Brodie Moncur is a 24-year-old handsome, educated gentleman, a first-rate piano tuner in Edinburgh,with perfect pitch and attention to detail. He has poor vision, though, and depends on his Franklin bifocals; otherwise the world appears “utterly aqueous.”

When Brody’s boss at Channing & Co, a famil
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm reading this in a distracted state, in short bursts, in noisy places, feeling a bit weary after work, BUT... it holds my attention and I look forward to continuing.

I've hit the half-way mark and although I'm happily reading away the story somehow isn't delivering the something - whatever I thought that was going to be.

I'm going to finish it but there is a lack of depth to the characterisation that really prevents me from caring in the way I normally do with other novels by William Boyd.

Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm hovering between 2.5 and 3 stars for my first book by William Boyd. On the one hand, I can tell he writes very well, but much of it struck me as rather thin. It is a love story (with quite a bit of lust) set in the late 19th century between Brodie Moncur, a brilliant Scottish piano tuner and Lika Blum, a Russian soprano of dubious talent.

I found the scenes between Brodie and his tyrannical, despotic father quite powerful, and also the parts describing how Brodie tuned a piano to please a fin
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brodie Moncur is a piano tuner in Edinburgh which sounds like a pretty low-key profession, but in the hands of William Boyd certainly is not. It's the last decade of the 19th century when Brodie has the opportunity to move to his employer's new Paris showroom and help establish the brand on the Continent.

Brodie is an artist, not only musically, but also as a tuner. He knows how to shave and balance the hammers so that a piano has just the touch the pianist needs. This gift is what brings John K
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A totally superb book. Indescribable really. What a story-teller William Boyd is. The detail of Brodie Moncur's travels held my attention throughout. I tend to be a skipper when it comes to detailed description but not with this book. It is so wide-ranging in depth and scope. It tells the reader so much about the human condition - life, upbringing, love, death, loss. Well I cannot praise this book too highly. I doubt I shall read a better book in 2019
Maine Colonial
In the late 19th century, Brodie Moncur is given the chance to move from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Paris, to be assistant manager of Channon’s piano store. This is a real promotion from his prior position as piano tuner at Channon’s in Edinburgh. In Paris, he meets a Russian singer, Lika, and is thunderstruck with love for her. Complication: she is the mistress of a prominent Irish pianist, John Kilbarron, whom Brady has persuaded to promote Channon pianos.

You know that the expression “love is bli
Penguin Books (UK)

Description: Set at the end of the 19th century, it follows the fortunes of Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician, about to embark on the story of his life.

When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future - and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano
Adolescent obsession...

Brodie Moncur works for an Edinburgh piano manufacturer, Channon, at the turn of the 19th century. He started out as a piano tuner but now helps out with the general running of the saleroom, so when the new Paris branch is struggling the owner asks him to go over and see what he can do. Brodie has long been at odds with his father, a bullying hellfire preacher, and has no real ties in Scotland, so happily agrees. Once there, he falls in love with Lika Blum, the girlfriend
Rob Twinem
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love is Blind by William Boyd is a truly memorable story with wonderful characterization. His colourful writing instantly transports the reader to Scotland at the end of the nineteenth century and continues the journey through mainland Europe at a time of great change and gathering turmoil in the years immediately preceding the 1st World War.

Brodie Moncur is a piano tuner in the employ of Channons of Edinburgh and when the opportunity is offered to manage the Paris store he readily agrees. Brodi
For about 2/3-3/4 of this novel i thought it was truly excellent and would make my top 10 of the year, but then the author makes some choices with how to get to the end (which was always kind of clear) that just didn't work out for me so the last 1/4 or so of the novel became a bit of a slog

Overall excellent for most of it but loses energy in the last quarter or so and becomes a fairly banal story of failure after that; the writing and characters still keep it readable but it could have been so
Brittany (Lady Red)
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This was...I’m not sure. It was very “1890s White dude problems”
It was very well written, despite this, although TB is kinda the deus ex machina of neo-, or actual Victorian novels. So that was unfortunately predictable.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read! William Boyd is certainly becoming my favourite author! Love is Blind is the unlikely story of a piano tuner - Brodie Moncur. More than just a love story, it traces his life across Europe, Russia and eventually to the Andaman Islands. His love for Lika, a Russian opera singer, never falters, despite their being separated.

Dick Reynolds
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brodie Moncur is our protagonist, a young man from a large family in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brodie’s father Malcolm, nicknamed by his children as Malky, is also the pastor of St. Mungo’s church. Brodie is a piano tuner, an excellent one, and is assigned by his employer to accompany the traveling concerts of John Killbaron who is known throughout Europe as the Irish Liszt.
Brodie joins the tour and finds his job of tuning John’s piano an enjoyable one. John is the performing pianist and musician
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel took me almost completely by surprise. I've read Boyd in the past so the arc of the story was one I expected (the life of one man during his formative years to death) but the depth and richness of both the character and the setting made this a wonderful and I feel what will be an unforgettable read.
The one man—Brodie Moncur is a Scottish piano tuner. Brodie works for a large piano company in Scotland during the late 1800’s. His innovative ideas for piano sales and service have landed
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Willliam Boyd has a gift for writing fiction that has depth and texture but at the same time is eminently accessible. Set at the turn of the twentieth century, Love Is Blind is in many ways typical of his oeuvre. From the first line the characters draw you into a world that feels detailed, authentic and enticing.

The central character, Brodie Moncur, the eldest son of tyrannical Scottish preacher, has been born with perfect pitch, an ability that enables him to forge a career for himself as a pi
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Not my cup of tea as far as the story goes, but W.Boyd writes as brilliantly as ever. I just prefer his earlier works.
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Note: William^^Boyd

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
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“Low-ceilinged and smoke-foxed, it had a curious smell: part beer, part cold fireplace ash, part pipe tobacco.” 0 likes
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