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Any Human Heart (Unabridged Audiobook) [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

William Boyd , narrated by Mike Grady
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2011
Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary, but Logan Mountstuart's - lived from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century - contains more than its fair share of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war and as an art-dealer in '60s New York, Logan mixes with the movers and shakers of his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness. Here, then, is the story of a life lived to the full - and a journey deep into a very human heart. This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60% of the author's work and as low as 30% with characters and plotlines removed.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 15 pages
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Uabridged Audiobook 15 CDs edition (1 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407488104
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407488103
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 13.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 504,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Boyd is the author of ten novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and a Richard & Judy selection, and most recently, the bestselling Ordinary Thunderstorms.

(Photo credit: Eamonn McCabe)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Logan Gonzago Mountstuart, writer, was born in 1906, and died of a heart attack on October 5, 1991, aged 85. Any Human Heart is his disjointed autobiography, a massive tome chronicling "my personal rollercoaster"--or rather, "not so much a rollercoaster", but a yo-yo, "a jerking spinning toy in the hands of a maladroit child". From his early childhood in Montevideo, son of an English corned beef executive and his Uraguayan secretary, through his years at a Norfolk public school and Oxford, Mountstuart traces his haphazard development as a writer. Early and easy success is succeeded by a long half-century of mediocrity, disappointments and setbacks, both personal and professional, leading him to multiple failed marriages, internment, alcoholism and abject poverty.

Mountstuart's sorry tale is also the story of a British way of life in inexorable decline, as his journey takes in the Bloomsbury set, the General Strike, the Spanish Civil War, 1930s Americans in Paris, wartime espionage, New York avant garde art, even the Baader-Meinhof gang--all with a stellar supporting cast. The most sustained and best moment comes mid-book, as Mountstuart gets caught up in one of Britain's murkier wartime secrets, in the company of the here truly despicable Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Elsewhere author William Boyd occasionally misplaces his tongue too obviously in his cheek--the Wall Street Crash is trailed with truly crashing inelegance--but overall Any Human Heart is a witty, inventive and ultimately moving novel. Boyd succeeds in conjuring not only a compelling 20th century but also, in the hapless Logan Mountstuart, an anti-hero who achieves something approaching passive greatness. --Alan Stewart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Astounding. One of Boyd's greatest achievements' --The Mail on Sunday

'Astonishing, touching, extremely funny. A brilliant evocation of a past era and an immensely readable story' --The Sunday Telegraph

'Wise, profound and moving. Only the very best novels make you look at your own life and imagine your own future with fresh eyes' --The Independent on Sunday

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
178 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life less/more ordinary? 19 Sep 2002
I suppose that the measure of a good book is whether you want it to end or not.
I certainly didn't want "Any Human Heart" to end. In fact I was trembling when I read Logan Mountstuart's final diary entry. Now I am mourning the passing of a man I could not possibly have known, existing as he did only in the minds of the author and myself in the two days I have done little else but read this book.
On the face of it, "Any Human Heart" has little to recommend it. It has no plot, a character with more flaws than qualities and seemingly no message to impart.
But Boyd's book is about a life. A life that is very different from yours or mine, in as much as mine is different from yours and ours are different from anyone else's. All our lives are plotless and for the most part very ordinary. Most of us have qualities that pale into insignificance when measured alongside our faults. Logan Mountstuart enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame which - despite Andy Warhol's assertions to the contrary - we don't all experience. "Every dog has his day" is probably closer to the mark.
But in reading "Any Human Heart" we get a rare insight into someone else's life - Logan Mountstuart's - from the minutiae of what he ate for lunch to the experiences that rocked his world and changed him for better or worse. Remarkably, it didn't matter to me that Logan Mountstuart was an entirely fictional character. I suppose this is because all our lives are fictions to those who don't live them.
The title confused me at first, but now I understand. We all have our stories to tell and even the most superficially "ordinary" life is extraordinary to someone else.
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly rare novel. 17 Nov 2006
Read this book! This is the kind of book you chance upon just once or twice every few years - a real journey. Not many authors are capable of what Boyd achieves in these pages: a clever interweaving of fact with fiction and a kaleidoscope of emotions that runs the complete gamut of human experience. I read pretty much continuously, but was unable to pick up another book for almost two weeks after finishing this - there was no point, I was...replete. It stayed with me for ages - this is the literary equivalent of a nine-course meal with a great bottle of wine. Deeply satisfying.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Life, as understood by Logan Mountstuart, is a series of random events, not events which are fated, controlled by a higher power, or the result of carefully made decisions. There's nothing and no one to blame for whatever good or bad luck we may have in life. A person may choose to enjoy the good times, seek out happiness wherever possible, and live life to the fullest or sit back passively and just endure whatever happens. Logan Mountstuart is one of the former types, a man who recognizes that "Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary--it is the respective proportions of those categories that make life appear interesting." But Mountstuart also believes that one can look for and find the extraordinary within the ordinary.
Through his personal journals, begun in 1923, when he is seventeen, and continuing to the time of his death in 1991, we come to know Mountstuart intimately, both as an individual, growing and changing, and as an Everyman, someone who participates in and is affected by the seminal events of the 20th century, after World War I. Because he is a writer, he is able to travel and to know other writers and artists of the period. When he meets Aldous Huxley, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Cyril Connolly, Evelyn Waugh, and Ian Fleming, the reader has the vicarious fun of being there and meeting them, too, since Mountstuart, as a person, appears to be very much like the rest of us. He buys early paintings by Paul Klee and Juan Gris, and Pablo Picasso draws a quick portrait of him and signs it. He engages in intellectual discussions about Braque, Picasso, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the Bloomsbury group and keeps the reader aware of literary and artistic achievements of the era.
It is in his depiction of the historical moment that Boyd shines.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare thing 16 Mar 2007
Stunningly good. I've just finished reading it for the second time - I never read books twice - and what I remember of it rings true. Big and bold - yes - a fascinating intertwining of historical fact and fiction - yes - but most of all, Boyd evokes the vibrancy of what it is to be alive to life. A fictitious memoir stocked with asides and self-doubt so real that I'd voice them about myself if I had the author's insight and command of language. Filled with simple joys, black despairs, unidealised moral turpitude, lessons of life.

Rereading AHH has rekindled my love for literature after the comparative dryness of Greene, McEwan, Murakami. I really hope that if you read this review, you'll make a respectable attempt to read this book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boyd on top of his art 13 Sep 2002
The simplest thing to say about this book is that I felt genuinely sad when it came to an end -- I wanted to go reading about Logan Mountstuart. Through Boyd's skill he becomes an extremely believeable and very empathetic character, subtly changing voice as his outlook on life matures and deepens. The way that Mountstuart's declining years are handled is particularly good. This could have been mawkish and clumsy in the hands of a lesser writer given the roller-coaster of his youth and middle age but it is so skilfully done that it is easily the best part of the tale. A wonderful story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good seller
Published 8 hours ago by toby gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top ten books of all time
To me this the novel of Boyd's life. An audacious and entertaining account a life lived in the 20th century. I'm jealous of anyone who hasn't read it yet.
Published 1 day ago by Miss ASC Hedley-Dent
5.0 out of 5 stars Any Human Heart
Was lent this book by my son. Half read it and had to give back as was leaving. Bought it for myself, so that I could finish it.
Published 21 days ago by Mrs D
3.0 out of 5 stars torn cover
Haven't read the book yet but the cover is torn, unfortunately across Matthew Macfadyen's lovely face! Otherwise no problem with delivery.
Published 1 month ago by Psych dot
3.0 out of 5 stars Commendable and disposable
Boyd, in his attempt to experiment boundaries between fact and fiction, fashions a faux-memoir of a fictional character living in the 20th century. Read more
Published 2 months ago by coronaurora
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful beautiful book
struggled a bit with the first part of Logan's life and just couldn't get into the story...I carried on though as I was intrigued and wanted to find out what happened next. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmeric
Possibly Boyd's best book. A stunning romp through most of the 20th century through the life of one man. Read more
Published 3 months ago by tpryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant
Watched this a few years ago when the brilliant Jim Broadbent played Logan Mountstuart, and the book has not disappointed me at all. Held me from the first few pages. Read more
Published 3 months ago by minkie
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and entertaining
Read it. At least, that's what I suggest. Go on. What's the worst that could happen? You'll like it and tell all you friends...
Published 3 months ago by Mr. S. K. HURLEY
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Gripping read. Great fun. I Couldn't put it down. Highly recommend this and most of William Boyd's other stuff too.
Published 3 months ago by Toby Haselwood
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