Monday, 31 October 2011

Any Human Heart

I'm gripped by William Boyd's Any Human Heart, a clever, if mechanically devised but admirably researched 'page turner'. The protagonist, an unconvincing medley of Uruguayan (mother) and English (father)is now aged 50, having survived an English public school education, Oxford university, introduction to sex by his best friend's girlfriend, early success as a writer of both lit crit and a novel, three marriages and a stint as a prisoner of war in mysterious circumstances connected with the Duke of Windsor followed by an improbable second career as an art dealer in post WWII New York. I am reading it on Kindle and can therefore see that I am 68% of the way through it. I haven't read a novel for ages, and now have a taste for them. Or maybe a short story by Helen Simpson. Some people count W G Sebald as a novelist, because he blurs the lines between documentary and something imagined. Well, ditto Graham Greene if it comes to that, in his A Sort of Life. It was remarkably mild yesterday, and I took my dog in law and grandson to the park . Harry and his brother Zac were at my house on Saturday, when Zac announced that he wanted to go home. I said to Harry who was absorbed in Scooby-Doo 'will you be OK?' - 'home' is just across the road. Without taking his eyes off the TV he said 'It's against the law' (meaning to be left on his own, aged 6, for two minutes) which made me laugh. He is also exercised by the - in his view - unjust ruling by his father that part of his birthday money is to go on a shoebox Christmas present to a child in less fortunate circumstances. And his snake has disappeared. Beanie apparently managed to escape from a tiny crack in the wall of his heated tank. A lizard is mooted as substitute. ps Many congratulations to Alistair Moffat, our Moffat Book Events guest on Oct 15, who was elected Rector of St Andrew's university on Friday. He follows in the footsteps of that other magnificently bearded Scottish celebrity James Robertson (Doctor in the House etc)Justice.

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