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Love is Blind

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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. This is a fabulously immersive read, set in turbulent times for the world, a turbulence that is mirrored in the gripping and compelling Brodie's life with the enigmatic Lika.

His wife is editor-at-large of Harper's Bazaar magazine, and they currently spend about thirty to forty days a year in the US. The Mirror and the Road: Conversations with William Boyd (edited by Alistair Owen) was published in 2023. But there’s no philosophical armature to “Love Is Blind,” only the most convoluted of bildungsromans. It all gets a bit technical and drawn out here in my opinion but you can’t help but realise that the art of piano tuning is a fascinating one! It wasn’t helped by a somewhat melodramatic feel and in the end I was quite glad to finish the book, whose emotional climax didn’t affect me in the slightest, I’m afraid, because it felt contrived and overdone.Moving from Edinburgh in 1894 to the far-flung Andaman Islands in 1906, and smoothly landing in various European cities in between, Boyd’s affecting novel follows a young Scotsman’s ardent pursuit of a woman and its treacherous consequences . His is the art and craft not just of tightening an instrument’s screws, but also of subtly tailoring its mechanisms to an expert player’s strengths and weaknesses.

Despite its curiously bad title, this is an urbane, silkily written romance enlivened by late-in-the-day plot twists. So struck, in fact, that he invents a noun to describe the feeling: impendingment, and then an adverb, impendingmently, to qualify it. Brodie Moncur, a talented piano-tuner in Edinburgh meets someone in Paris and ends up falling in love with her to the point of obsession only to realise that she is the partner of someone else. Brodie Moncur, a young man gifted with an extraordinary accurate musical ear, but not enough talent to become a concert pianist, is a resourceful and methodical piano tuner instead. The last sentence highlights why - you don't just need a 'substantial float', you need an infinite one (and a casino prepared to extend you infinite credit lines).Boyd on form is the ultimate in immersive fiction, and Love is Blind is Boyd at the top of his game . Love is Blind is an epic love story that grew in power, hooked me in totally and saw me reading long into the night to finish.

But life without Lika isn't really life, and Brodie is still young and impetuous, and more than a little naive.Lika and Brodie undertake a 'hidden in plain sight' love affair in Paris that blooms into a dangerous liaison when the small entourage moves to St Petersburg. His fin de siècle hero — a sensualist, as is Boyd’s wont in his young male stars — is Brodie Moncur, a quick-witted Scot with a gift for tuning pianos. His own three-part adaptation of his novel Armadillo was screened on BBC 1 in 2001 as was his adaptation of his novel Restless (2012). 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 fervently grasps with both hands.

There is nothing revolutionary in William Boyd’s style but it’s always a great pleasure to read his retro novels. 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. When we first meet principal character Brodie Moncur in Scotland, we glean more about the difficult upbringing of this ambitious young man. And then he did feel a moment's sadness: thinking of his brothers and sisters and their circumscribed conditions. On the plus side, there's quite a lot of story here as the tale sweeps from Edinburgh to Paris to St Petersburg and then swoops off to the Andaman Islands.It’s something of a paradox that this “play”, with its vision of life as a chaotic kind of lottery, arrives in such an assiduously organised package as Love Is Blind.

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