He told me to 'keep writing'. In my youthful naivety and enthusiasm, I thought at first he meant for us to keep in touch but then I grew up a little and realised that he was telling me I should keep trying to be a writer. So you can probably understand how I've always felt well-disposed towards William Boyd, considering him to be both a great writer and a fine human being.
They all represented something to aspire to but for some reason William Boyd seemed to not quite belong to the same literary club - as though he already knew his own unique path and was determined to follow it come what may. William Boyd is first and foremost a storyteller, a teller of stories. He writes in clear sentences, builds his characters into substantial entities, and he creates engrossing scenarios that drive a narrative. The 'only connect' failure to communicate awkwardness that characterised An Ice-Cream War - beaten to the Booker Prize in by Thomas Keneally's Schindler's Ark - was merely a taste of what was to come.
Boyd produced a remarkable run of novels that included The New Confessions, Brazzaville Beach, The Blue Afternoon, and Any Human Heart and each of these books showed off his ability to tackle big themes over an extended time period. Often concentrating on a single protagonist, his stories never failed to reflect the bigger picture surrounding a person's life. I'd say the single most impressive achievement is that you want to know what happens next; not as a mystery to be solved but simply as a matter of interest in the outcome of the story, the resolution of a character's life.
And, believe me, that is some achievement. In , Restless was published by Bloomsbury, Boyd having moved from Penguin Books, and it marked something of a new departure. This resulted in the kind of commercial success writers can only dream of and - given how fondly I think of William Boyd - you'd imagine I'd be pleased for him. And I am, only. In switching to an espionage plot with Restless and attempting an almost orthodox thriller with his next book Ordinary Thunderstorms, William Boyd has lost me.
I'm not a snob - honest - it's just that he isn't as good at this as are many other writers. What prompted me to sit down and write this piece was my reading of his next book, Waiting for Sunrise, due to be published in early A literary agent once said to me: There's more subterfuge; there's a return to the trenches of the First World War; there's a fascinating lead character with a story to tell; the problem is I just don't care. By the time I get to the denouement, it doesn't seem to matter who did what to whom and when. Graham Greene knew how to spin a ripping yarn and William Boyd does too.
Jun 11, Tuck rated it liked it Shelves: Trivia About Waiting for Sunrise. He faces 8 to 10 years in prison, but can clearly be acquitted. Is there some message I'm missing? He then finds himself appointed spy hunter. About Product Details Praise From one of our most celebrated and imaginative writers comes a spellbinding novel about deception, betrayal, psychoanalysis, and the mysteries of the human heart.
Greene used to differentiate between his novels and what he called his 'entertainments' and I suspect these later William Boyd books should be categorised as entertainments. What they lack, and what I miss, is that insight into the human heart - the human factor, as Greene would have put it - that so captured my own heart all those years ago. View all 7 comments.
Many things had happened on the eve of the First World War: You are standing in a skewed pentangle of lemony sunshine at the sharp corner of Augustiner Strasse and Augustinerbastei, across from the opera house, indolently watching the world pass by you, waiting for someone or something to catch and hold your attention, to generate a tremor of interest.
Still, your eyes are open, you are unusually poised, ready for anything — any crumb, any flung coin — that the world might casually toss your way. Not the world, William Boyd tosses our way some sort of period mystery. Waiting for Sunrise is easy to read and it is probably the main merit of the novel… The book is quite entertaining and the story is smoothly meandering its way between psychoanalyzing and spying.
View all 3 comments. It means 'thorough', some say. And I've also been told it's Anglo-Saxon dialect for 'wolf'. What about the 'Ulrich'? Are you part German? Freud's followers, a British psychologist named Bensimon, can find a cure for his inner demons. In between talking about his dreams and his repressed "Rief - is that Scottish? In between talking about his dreams and his repressed memories, Lysander is getting mixed up in the vibrant life of the Austrian capital, with the people at the pension where he rents a room, with a couple of military attachees from the British embassy and with Hettie Bull, a crazy?
The blurbs describe this as a 'spy novel', but there is apparently little to justify the claim in this first Viennese section at the book. William Boyd is a master at dissimulation and at inserting little disturbing notes into the narrative that slowly change the focus from the inner journey of discovery Lysander Rief is going through, to the European conflict that is just about ready to burst.
Lysander is an actor and a poet, and most of all an innocent in a world rife with intrigue and betrayals. He gets in trouble in Vienna, and the reader is aware that some of the events that led to his plight are anything but accidental. My life seems to be running on a track I have nothing to do with - I'm a passenger on a train but I have no idea of the route it's taking to the final destination. Among the themes and clues introduced in this first section of the novel: What they search for is confession, a priest-like absolution for their sins.
As Lysander analizes his involvement to the sculptor Hettie Bull, the fact that he met her through his doctor is probably the main atraction: Or was it something more unhealthy - a kind of craving, an addiction? Secrets are also what a curious person can find as he or she searches through the files of a doctor's office. What a great tool for recruiting spies or for blackmail: Bensimon had been the only person to whom he had ever told the truth about that summer's day at the turn of the century and he had to admit that the recounting of his dire and dark secret had produced a form of catharsis.
And the most dangerous lies are the ones we tell to ourselves, even as Dr. Bensimon argues in favor of self-hypnosis as a valid method to cure anxiety. Let's say that the world is in essence neutral - flat, empty, bereft of meaning and significance. It's us, our imaginations, that make it vivid, fill it with colour, feeling, purpose and emotion. Once we understand this we can shape our world in any way we want. Wolfram Rozmann, a Jewish Austrian officer accused of theft because of his ethnicity. But is he telling the truth or lying to save his skin? Who else is lying about his motives and his identity?
We meet Lysander again several months later, returned to London and to his career as an actor. He thinks he has left the Vienna troubles behind, but his ghosts return with a vengeance as war is declared, and Lysander is blackmailed into joining the secret service by two of his former acquaintances from Austria.
The reader wonders, together with the young man, why Lysander's presence is so important since he has neither the training nor the inclination for the cloak and dagger business.
A short but intense episode in the Flanders trenches that will give Lysander fresh material for his nightmares, followed by a part baffling part suicidally dangerous mission in Geneve, accelerate the growing up process necessary for survival in the world of spies. Lysander puts to good use the lessons leanred in the theater: A third section of the novel ramps up the tension and the stakes of the game, as Lysander is put like a bloodhound on the track of a high level traitor in the British high command.
The quest starts with a boring search through mountains of records, but soon enough it turns personal for mr. Rief, as many of the accidents in Vienna are revealed to be connected to his present investigation view spoiler [ Dr. Bensimon is back with his cocaine and heroin remedies, his lover Hettie is back with a new husband and new indecent proposals, the two officers that helped Rief escape are now pressuring him to get results fast, his own family is mixed in the spy games hide spoiler ].
It is time now for the most important lesson of all in the business: The dramatic finale offers a creditable explanation, but the genius of mr. Boyd rests in the questions left unanswered and in the lingering doubt that what we are offered is only a cosmetic mask acceptable to all parties that allows the game to continue. We are alo offered now a sort of explanation for the title of the novel, as Lysander retreats inside himself to find the strength and the clarity needed to bring the case to a closure: The view backward showed you all the twists and turns your life had taken, all the contingencies and chances, the random elements of good luck and bad luck that made up one person's existence.
Still, questions buzzed around his brain all night as he tossed and fidgeted, punched and turned his pillows, opened and closed the windows of his room, waiting for sunrise. Personally, I prefer the more obscure, yet more poetic reference in the intimate journal of the young man, alluding to the same sentiments of being lost in a world of darkness and danger, yet thrilled to be alive: Seventh Caprice in Pimlico The dawn created itself And turned to see what had been lit.
Rubbish, litter, broken glass and a bit Of Green England, unsmirched, a glance At something beautiful. The girls advance, The boys decline. I roam the streets at midnight. The glare Of gaslights an artificial sunrise. View all 4 comments. Jan 26, Jill rated it it was amazing Shelves: Lysander Rief is a British actor of some renown on the world stage of life, as the rumblings of World War I become more and more pronounced.
He falls under a magical love spell of sorts with the woman, Hettie think: Hermia from the Shakespeare play. Almost all the time—each and every one of us. He will not know whom to trust and who will betray him. I am not typically a fan of the espionage story, but this one had me compulsively turning pages. The characterizations are well fleshed-out, the sense of place is finely-drawn, and the depiction of what is real and what can be trusted is palpable.
From the antechambers of Vienna to the battlegrounds of London to the elusive streets of Geneva, this book captured my attention and kept me reading on as more and more is revealed.
Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel and millions of other books are available for instant access. Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel Paperback – January 2, William Boyd follows his critically acclaimed novels A Good Man in Africa, Brazzaville Beach, and Ordinary Thunderstorms with a. Waiting for Sunrise is a espionage novel by William Boyd. The book was published on April 17, by Bloomsbury Press in the United Kingdom and by .
View all 12 comments. May 02, Tony Mac rated it it was ok. Oh dear, all a bit disappointing in the end. One of those books which for most of its length threatens to be clever and brilliant but ultimately fails to deliver the goods. It's a decent enough read while it goes on, with well observed characters and a clear sense of place and time, but its one of those high wire act thrillers that needs to deliver on the ingenuousness it constantly implies if it is going to pull it off, and it simply fails to do it.
I don't mind a bit of ambiguity and I get all Oh dear, all a bit disappointing in the end. I don't mind a bit of ambiguity and I get all the references to parallel realities, multiple truths and permanent performance, but the stage magician has to deliver a credible ending to bring the house down, and this ain't it. You spin a lot of plates, Mr Boyd, but - to borrow a theme from the books' first act - you fail to deliver a satisfying climax.
Too much confusion, too many loose ends, too many red herrings, too many inferred relationships that actually go nowhere. And what on earth are you doing with the central relationship? Lysander's sexual obsession with one woman, over which he seems to have absolutely no control, is discarded in the blink of an eye?
It comes across like a lot of modern TV thriller serials which pretend to construct incredibly complex scenarios, making the viewer work hard to keep up in anticipation of a sensationally clever conclusion, and then simply cop out at the end, failing to address their own challenges and leaving the viewer puzzled and let down. As a reader its as if I've done all the work for very little reward. Boyd sets up the Bergsonian idea of the Fonction Fabulatrice so very thoroughly, our protagonist is an actor and a confirmed liar, so how much are we to trust his version of events? I have no idea. It all sounds plausible, coherent, but there are some rather odd elements.
I think a re-read might be in order. I get it now. I was reading it all the wrong way, overthinking it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a thriller is just a thriller, and not a po-mo deconstruction of the Intriguing. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a thriller is just a thriller, and not a po-mo deconstruction of the narrative process.
So this is a spy story: You pays your money and you takes your choice as to just how far you wants to go with Lysander's persecution complex. What is he protecting himself from? Not always adequately accounted for. And some of those odd elements really are just there to rack up the tension, no more than that. Has his addiction to chloral hydrate addled his brain? It's left to you to decide. On a second reading, Mr Boyd's obsession with what people were wearing began to grate on the nerves. Bit of a foot fetishist I'd say. View all 13 comments.
May 20, Alexander McNabb rated it liked it. I hate to do this. I have long been an admirer of William Boyd's stuff, but this book was one I had to force myself through, often finding myself skimming. The main character, Lysander Rief, struck me as being all over the place - I often found myself drawn up to ponder why on earth would he do that or say this?
I suppose part of that is because little personality shines through that isn't self-obsessed and obnoxious. A sexual predator with little love for women, Rief is half Austrian but not in I hate to do this. A sexual predator with little love for women, Rief is half Austrian but not interred or even interviewed as war breaks out, in fact is recruited by MI6. There doesn't seem to be much structure on offer here, it reads as if it was made up as we went along.
They all become a tad exhausting. There are echoes of TE Lawrence in Rief - his superiority, his drawling insolence at a superior officer over whom he has a hold, his decision to become a private rather than take the commission he could so easily have achieved. And yet they are only echoes - there's nothing of the complexity and conflict that make Lawrence interesting. Rief isn't, well, driven to anything.
He just muddles through. I liked the setting and I liked the language, Boyd manages to capture the clipped schoolboy spies nicely. There are elements of this book that are brilliant. But the thing as a whole rambled and just didn't come together for me. I came out of it feeling a little tired and perhaps a tad puzzled. But for dark wartime espionage you can't better Alan Furst Jan 31, Cynthia rated it it was amazing Shelves: This leads me to wonder if Lysander was thinking of his life as a mean spirited comedy Measure or a tragedy, specifically a tragedy where the main character becomes lost and deluded…..
This book is part love story, part mystery and part espionage thriller. For that matter Lysander seldom seems to have a center either. The men in his life are either absent, dead father, uncle away from home, step father much older, or outright controlling such as his spy handlers. Unfortunately his worst enemy might be himself. Boyd writes an excellent book that will hold your interest.
Here are a few reasons: View all 18 comments. Jan 29, Will rated it liked it Shelves: I had another on hold and saw this meanwhile. And what ludicrously un-Edwardian sex it is too. This is basically knees-bent running-around intrigue, and with dialogue that is imaginatively appropriate for the era — the years from to early WW1. In other words, authentic but stilted what is it with me and century-old tales recently? I think I have to get out of this rut! There is an interminably tedious exchange between the two of them, full of pseudo-psychological theory After a false accusation and a run-in with the Austrian police, Lysander is spirited out of the country from the British consulate and back to England where he is pressed into doing some undercover work in return for his escape.
But it takes about half the book to get to this point, so hardly fast-paced, although it does pick up after that. As in all good mysteries, there are a host of possible traitors, including his mother, his handlers, half of a War Office department and several of his women. The final denouement occurs at dawn of course , after Lysander twigs to an obscure statement that only he knew to be false. It would have made some of the plot twists more intriguing too.
Answers on a postcard, slipped under the door, please. Aug 08, Elizabeth K. I like William Boyd and this was enjoyable, although not outstanding. I think there's actually a decent conspiracy drama in here -- I'm not entirely sure because at some point I couldn't follow it anymore. I got a little lost at which things were supposed to be coincidences that later turn out to be clues in the conspiracy, and which things were supposed to be plain old coincidences.
I think there's a little snicker t I like William Boyd and this was enjoyable, although not outstanding. I think there's a little snicker there, because Freud's theories are a big theme in the book, so sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I have found this in Boyd's work in general, but rather more pronounced here, the odd tendency to write passionate scenes as if he's working from a checklist. The love scenes are like Mad Libs.
It's really not bad, especially for fans of this time period. However, if you are only going to read one Boyd novel, it should still be Any Human Heart. Feb 02, Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it did not like it Shelves: When I write an honest review of a book I disliked, it often generates endless comments, mostly from people who want to argue with me.
The net effect being that a book I didn't want to waste time on ends up stealing even more of my time as I try to respond to comments months and even years later. I thought this book stank, and that's all I'm sayin'. View all 19 comments. Feb 24, Laura rated it really liked it Shelves: A quite enjoyable book on espionage during World War I. Apr 19, Jake Goretzki rated it it was ok. All a bit bloodless. He felt shallow and rushed. He then finds himself ap All a bit bloodless. He then finds himself appointed spy hunter.
I also suspect that William Boyd really wanted to write a WW2 thriller - I kept having to remind myself that this was , not , since the world of espionage seemed so much more developed than I imagine it would really have been in WW1. Oh, and that cover. Another Book Design Crime. So, all a bit of a mixed picture. Think of it as a practice run for the next Bond novel. Dec 30, Tony rated it liked it Shelves: I don't usually want my pots boiled; but when I do, I like Mr. Boyd to do the boiling.
He's erudite, can raise the temperature at times, and knows how to keep things hidden. That said, there were moments when he strained credulity. Filthy sex, many locales. She realizes she is four-months pregnant and she and her husband have him arrested for rape. His lawyer finds all the overwhelming evidence of consent hotel bills, witness testi I don't usually want my pots boiled; but when I do, I like Mr. His lawyer finds all the overwhelming evidence of consent hotel bills, witness testimony and is prepared to win "in a cakewalk". He faces 8 to 10 years in prison, but can clearly be acquitted.
The woman comes to see him and begs him not to expose their affair in court. He answers, duh, okay. But I'm guessing three months before I forget the plot and characters. Any fool can 'obey' an order. The clever thing is to interpret it.
May 02, Zina rated it it was ok. I like William Boyd - a lot, but I didn't like this. Young, middle-ranking English actor shows up in Vienna to consult an English shrink to help him with his inability to achieve orgasm. Young actor, Lysander Rief, then has steamy affair with very neurotic young artist, who accuses him of rape to protect herself when her volatile partner finds out about their affair. Rief escapes because he is a master of disguise. Of course he is. His skills have been noted and I like William Boyd - a lot, but I didn't like this.
His skills have been noted and appreciated by England's Secret Services, who recruit him as a spy. Off to the front he goes, to France, then Switzerland then finally back to England to sort it all out. There's plenty of local colour; quite a lot of sex - but a great deal of inconsistency of character, some plodding plotting, and too many of the dullest sentences I've read in a while. Definitely Boyd in an off period. Jan 31, Anne rated it it was ok Shelves: I have loved every William Boyd book that I've read to date, except this one.
It's hard for me to believe that Waiting for Sunrise was written by the same author. The story hardly hangs together. Secondary characters seem to pop up out of nowhere, the reasons given being unbelievable; worse, they don't add a thing to the flimsy storyline. The only positive thing I can say is that I liked the main character. View all 20 comments. Like Boyd's other recent and highly successful novels, Waiting For Sunrise is the story of a relatively ordinary individual caught up in extraordinary events.
Opening in Vienna in nineteen fifteen, it begins with Lysander Rief, a not overly-successful English actor, sitting in the consulting room of Dr Bensimon, a psycho-analyst, to whom he has come for help with sexual problems that originate in a childhood burdened with confusion and deception. A chance acquaintance with Hetty, a young Englishw Like Boyd's other recent and highly successful novels, Waiting For Sunrise is the story of a relatively ordinary individual caught up in extraordinary events.
A chance acquaintance with Hetty, a young Englishwoman, in the psycho-analyst's waiting room, precipitates a passionate affair that will profoundly alter the course of Lysander's life. In his childhood, as he confesses to Dr Bensimon, he was the cause of an innocent young man losing his livelihood and being falsely accused of sexually molesting him. So there's a certain justice when some months later he himself is falsely accused of sexual assault by Hetty, and is obliged to flee Vienna in disguise.
Later, when Boyd has returned to London and believes he has put the incident behind him, Monroe resurfaces, requiring a service from Boyd in repayment of his debt. By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from Bookperk and other HarperCollins services. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. Specialty Booksellers Interest-specific online venues will often provide a book buying opportunity. International Customers If you are located outside the U.
About Product Details Praise From one of our most celebrated and imaginative writers comes a spellbinding novel about deception, betrayal, psychoanalysis, and the mysteries of the human heart.
A provocative exploration of the line between consciousness and reality is nested within a tense, rollercoaster plotline following as a young English actor ensnared in a bewildering scandal with an enigmatic woman in early twentieth-century Vienna. Harper Perennial On Sale: Boyd has a positive genius for pace and description. Waiting for Sunrise manages to conjure an atmosphere of genuine disorientation that most spy novels gesture toward and few, if any, attain.
Waiting for Sunrise has the pace of a spy thriller, with code-cracking and double-crossing aplenty. And William Boyd makes the most of them. More than anything Waiting for Sunrise is a gleeful celebration of storytelling -- sly, clever, frequently hilarious, always involving. This is the literary event of the year. The denouement plays out with characteristic suspense and masterful design. The deftness with which Boyd knits together a complex cast of characters is immaculate.
To read a William Boyd novel is to open a bottle of wine, light a fire, sit back in your favourite armchair and trust that the master practitioner will take you on an intriguing and unpredictable journey. Few contemporary writers are able to evoke the ambiance and drama of our recent past as forcefully as Boyd. As seductive as it is, Waiting for Sunrise is no bodice-ripper.
He has been perfecting the craft of globetrotting entertainment for the past three decades. Boyd is a nimble and entertaining writer. This atmospheric novel is elegantly crafted by a London writer who serves up a rich portrayal of human psychology and a plot that is both engaging and imaginative. November Road by Lou Berney. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. Melmoth by Sarah Perry. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Pulse by Michael Harvey. Trinity by Louisa Hall. Subterranean by James Rollins.