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 ...more
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 ..........
He creates wonderful characters in rich geographical settings and plots, often told within a twentieth century historical context: Africa commonly, and also America, ...more
The story is set in the 1970s with WWII flashbacks (the spy bits), for me it worked really well. Just as I was finishing a section of the 1970s part of the story, I was ready for the 1940s part, and vice versa. I thought it was a really ...more
Here we have a young-ish single mother who works as a language tutor to professionals who've arrived extremely capable in their professional pursuits but who can barely speak a word of the Queen's tongue. She's also procrastinating on a thesis at Oxford, but between hosting uninvited international house guests, suddenly being courted by one of her students, ...more
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
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 ...more
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 ...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 ...more
Ruth always knew ...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
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
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
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 ...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
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
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.”