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Restless

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  13,197 ratings  ·  1,176 reviews
“I am Eva Delectorskaya,” Sally Gilmartin announces, and so on a warm summer afternoon in 1976 her daughter, Ruth, learns that everything she ever knew about her mother was a carefully constructed lie. Sally Gilmartin is a respectable English widow living in picturesque Cotswold village; Eva Delectorskaya was a rigorously trained World War II spy, a woman who carried fake ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published 2007 by Bloomsbury (first published September 4th 2006)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,197 ratings  ·  1,176 reviews


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Michael
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a compelling, smart, and literate thriller. It is both a page-turner and a profound meditation on identity--on what we think we know about others and ourselves. The flashback sections were definitely the strength of the book, but all-in-all this is a terrific novel and certainly one that rises above the usual genre fare.
Tea Jovanović
Sjajan autor... mnoge knjige su mu i ekranizovane...

Nažalost, ovo je zasad jedina njegova knjiga prevedena na srpski... Ali ne gubimo nadu da ćemo mu opet naći izdavača :)
Steven Godin
William Boyd goes all John John le Carré and has written a pretty good spy thriller that felt like reading a movie, with it's fast-paced tense narrative, and moments that were utterly gripping.
Central to the story is Eva Delectorskaya, the daughter of a Russian family in 1930s Paris. After mourning her brother's death she is approached, wooed to attraction, by the dapper Lucas Romer, who wants her to leave her shipping company to work for his mysterious British organisation against the Nazi thre
...more
Alistair
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: someone on a long haul flight with 24 hours to spare
Recommended to Alistair by: my daughter sorry !
i just about stayed with this to the end but for a good writer like william boyd , i found it underwhelming .
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 ..........
god i
...more
Jerry Cowhig
Sep 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
I've just posted all the William Boyd books on my bookshelf. I started reading him about five years ago (Armadillo, set in London) and over time I occasionally bought and read others. Lately after I read Brazzaville Beach I realised with surprise that I had now read all nine of his novels - and that's all until he writes another!

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
Cecily
I read this because I enjoyed Any Human Heart (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...) so much; I don't normally read tales of wartime espionage. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.

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
K.D. Absolutely
William Boyd (born 1952) is a Scottish novelist and screenwriter. In 1983, he was one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelist’ in a promotion run by Granta magazine and the Book Marketing Council. Restless (published 2006) tells the story of a young woman who finds out that her mother used to work as a spy for British government prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. However, unlike Susan Isaac’s Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) in the 1992 movie, Shining Through, this is about a Russian-born spy ...more
Paul
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
3.5 stars really.
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
Tony
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Boyd, William. RESTLESS. (2006). *****.
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
GloriaGloom
Nov 18, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ho girato intorno a questo libro per alcuni giorni senza trovare il coraggio di tiralo su dalla pila e acquistarlo. Poi un pomeriggio, alla fermata Colosseo della Metro B, mentre stavo proprio pensando al perché e al percome di questa mia difficoltà è uscita dal vagone della metro una donna sprofondata nella lettura proprio di questo libro, quasi investendomi. Ho letto questo accadimento come un segno, come un incrocio momentaneo di destini, come uno scherzo del caso, come un gioco delle possibi ...more
Chrissie
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
As usual my rating only expresses my personal reaction to a book and thus my personal preferences. Two stars reflects that spy novels are not my cup of tea, even if the artist is a magician with words. I do appreciate Boyd’s writing. It just works for me! A character enters a room and observes that the spider plant in the corner was “dying of thirst”. Another character remarks at the placard on the door “Ladies Drawing Room” and says, “How do you know I am a lady?” The writing is subtly humorous ...more
Mark
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Picked this up in a bookshop as a Christmas present for someone but then read it myself; as this is how I got hooked on the earlier works of Michael Morpurgo whilst buying them as presents for my nephews and nieces whilst young it looks like a bit of a christmas hazard.

The shape of the chapters, alternating between the reminiscences and betrayal of the 1940's with the ' present time ' account of the sweltering summer of 1976 was simple but effective. As a young lad in 1976 I remembered that sum
...more
Susan
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to find this book on a list of the "best" spy novels, but not when I read it. It's not only a good one but it's different.

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
Cheryl
I disappeared into this book like I would have in a good movie. In fact I could see the movie play as I read the book. William Boyd manages to tiptoe around a few different genres here: thriller, historical fiction, fiction...Ah, is it all the French and different languages in the book that makes me want to say, C'est Magnifique? I don't know. What I do know is that 3-4 days reading the book and I was sad when it ended. It was one of those books that makes you savor each word.

Ruth always knew t
...more
Esil
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This was the second book by William Boyd I have read. I didn't like it as much as Any Human Heart--it didn't seem as rich. But it was still a good read. Spy novels tend to focus on men. This was an interesting perspective on what it would be like for a woman to live a double life--to hide much of who she is from her daughter.
Bookmarks Magazine

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
Helena
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This may well be the book that brings me back to fiction. I devoured it in seven days, rising and falling asleep with it. It's the story of a young British woman who discovers her mother was a British spy in the years leading up to the second world war. The story weaves back and forth as the mother retells the story. Boyd develops such interesting characters and his subplots are all so very interesting. If you want a good escape this is your book!
Ella
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
2.5 Stars.

A very basic thriller, which is quite disappointing. I enjoyed the flashbacks though at some times the whole Spy shtick was quite ridiculous. "Dont trust anyone" .. oh really?

Ruth is the daughter of the ~spy~ and she is a single mother which in the 70s wasnt as widely accepted as today and thats about the only relatively interesting thing about her. She is a teacher, and she gets involved conveniently with some dangerous people. Meh

Evas story was fine but I found the premise of telling
...more
David Ball
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
I bought this book on the back of a recommendation by somebody I interviewed back in 2006 or 2007, so it has sat on my bookshelf for the better part of five years. I needed something easy to read, as I booked myself a one day round trip flight from Copenhagen to London, so I grabbed it, despite the pretty poor rating given to it by my fellow Goodreads reviewers. I should have listened to you! I don't have anything against a pulpy spy novel (I loved the Girl with the Dragon tattoo trilogy), but t ...more
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction-uk
I must say that this is one of the finest mystery stories I've listened to. It is a beautifully-written novel and I'm planning to get more by this author. He is amazing.

The long and the short of the story is this:

Ruth Gilmartin is a graduate student with a young son, working as a tutor while she is supposed to be working on her thesis. She visits her mother Sally dutifully every weekend, and on one weekend, her mother makes the startling announcement that she thinks someone is trying to kill her
...more
David
This book was phenomenal. I started it at 3 o' clock this afternoon and just read it straight through. (It's now 9pm and I still haven't eaten dinner.)

Ruth Gilmartin is a graduate student in history at Oxford, 28-year old single mother of a three-year old son, Jochen. On a hot Saturday in the summer of 1976 her world is turned upside down when her mother reveals that her identity as Sally Gilmartin (nee Fairchild) is an elaborately constructed fabrication. Turns out that Sally is actually Eva De
...more
Rebecca
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sexy spies
Shelves: frillers
Long time since I read any William Boyd, I think he's like a lighter, wittier version of John Le Carre. I liked the dynamic between mother-with-mysterious past who was a spy in WW2 and stroppy grown-up daughter. Set in the heatwave of 1979 (or 8??) so there are a few moustache and cheesecloth references. Made me wish I'd been a spy.
Cynthia
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Restless is an entertaining. World War Two spy novel. T
He only reason I'm giving it only four stars is because the ending was weak.
Ubik 2.0
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Restless, senza riposo.

Un solido romanzo di “spionaggio”, classico nella forma (due linee narrative alternate, con protagoniste madre e figlia, la prima delle quali si svolge negli anni della II guerra mondiale) ma originale per molti aspetti che si celano dietro l’apparenza di una tipica opera “di genere”.

Boyd in effetti non è Forsyth o Le Carré ma un autore contemporaneo inglese che in patria vanta una prestigio paragonabile ai McEwan, Coe o Barnes ed è un habitué dei premi letterari (questo “
...more
Amy Plum
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I haven't read a spy novel in a long time, and absolutely loved this. Much more than a spy novel, it's an exploration of relationships and how one's take on one's life can change when a parent's story is told.
Laura
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Just arrived from UK through BM.

After have listen to the audiobook version, I decided to read the printed version.
Patricia Kaiser
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow, now I really need to read more William Boyd!
I love the way this story is told, switching back and forth from World War II to 1976 and somehow it feels like reading a movie. I don’t have a lot of experience with spy thrillers but really enjoyed reading this one even though the ending was a bit predictable, but the journey of Eva Delectorskaya was fascinating and gripping.
Ian Laird
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, wartime
I was introduced to Restless, and to William Boyd, by Richard Tulloch, the co-creator of the outstanding Australian kids series Bananas in Pyjamas.

We were comparing notes on our best reads of the past twelve months. I was very glad for the introduction because I enjoyed Restless a lot. But not completely…

Particularly thrilling is the recruitment to the British Secret Service of a young woman, Eva, in a state of emotional distress following the loss of her brother, who has been murdered and she
...more
Mike Kimera
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mainstream, thriller
"Restless" is both a compelling thriller and a close look at the mechanics and consequences of deception. It slides easily across the tongue and then leaves an after-taste that is complex and intriguing.

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
Kathleen Fowler
A well-written and suspenseful novel of espionage circa WWII. The heroine is intelligent, resourceful, complex and likeable. Her experiences are plausible and left me wondering if the British really were involved in operations of the sort described in the book.

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
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February's Bookclub choice 1 7 Jan 25, 2014 06:06AM  
February's Bookclub choice 1 16 Jan 25, 2014 06:06AM  
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1,045 followers
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
...more
“Maybe we should go by tube', he said.

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.”
64 likes
“I stood there in the kitchen, watching her staring across the meadow still searching for her nemesis and I thought, suddenly, that this is all our lives - this is the one fact that applies to us all, that makes us what we are, our common mortality, our common humanity. One day someone is going to come and take us away: you don't need to have been a spy, I thought, to feel like this.” 8 likes
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