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18
3.7 out of 5 stars
Fascination
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Fascination by William Boyd is a set of sixteen short stories. This may not sound either surprising or original until one considers their form. The author uses at least nine different and clearly identifiable forms in which to present this work. One takes the form of a video. There are childhood memories, a diary, a journal, an A-to-Z listing. One story is a set of dialogues over lunch. Another is a set of monologues. And William Boyd's use of these different forms is not just a writer's trick to impress a critic. In each case to form complements the story, adds interpretation to the events and helps our understanding of the characters. Fascination is thus no less than a fascinating read, a tour de force in miniature by a great writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 June 2015
As a big lover of short stories, I was looking forward to William Boyd’s collection. Alas, I found stories in “Fascination” the book a bit timid, unimpressive, some of them completely unengaging and easily forgettable (the one thing that is stuck in my memory is the number of middle-aged men going through midlife crisis – Boyd portrays them aplenty).

But then there was a couple of stories that drew my breath away. And it was worth it. Four stars, and I will be reading more of Boyd’s musings.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2010
I got this as a present. I've not read any of the author's work before so had no expectations. And I'm not a huge fan of short stories, so I was pleasantly surprised when I read the first story. It was fantastic. And each and every one after was just as good. Superb collection from a talented writer, highly recommended.
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on 3 May 2015
Beware these are not short stories like those of (say) Somerset Maugham. Most of them were to my mind rather quirky in both composition and content. Take for example the very first story, entitled ADULT VIDEO which hints (quite unnecessarily) at pornographic content. The episodes in the story are each headlined with the actions one might perform is playing a video tape to an audience, namely PLAY, PAUSE, REWIND, FAST FORWARD together with the further headings, SLOW MOTION, FUNCTION, MEMORY, DISPLAY and REPEAT. The meaning of the first group is clear enough, With FAST FORWARD, for example the story jumps ahead a few (or many) years. MEMORY is the same but in reverse. As to FUNCTION and DISPLAY I can't recall their exact purpose. The story itself has just one protagonist (Edward?). However I couldn't reconcile the information yielded in the FAST FORWARD episodes with that in the present (PLAY) episodes.

All too often I found myself out of my depth in these stories. I just couldn't reconcile them with the Boyd I had grown familiar with. However I suggest you read the other reviews before you take the plunge.
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on 17 July 2015
While some of the stories were actually quite interesting, most were rambling, self-absorbed pieces that seemed to say 'look at me, I'm deluded into thinking I'm interesting'. Some of the stories could've made excellent novels, but were squashed and condensed too much, while others were simply the tedious babbling a of a narcissistic twit. As a whole, I feel this compilation of stories was, overall, pretentious and polished to a standard only the author himself could ever appreciate.
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on 31 July 2012
Any book with William Boyd's name on the cover is a must buy for me and I must be one of Amazon's favourite customers.

A great set of short stories, each one completely individual in its own right - Boyd's imagination knows no bounds and they take you into different worlds that you've rarely experienced. I always wanted to know more at the end of each story - now that's good writing
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
William Boyd's range is one of the widest I have come across in a British writer. In this collection of short stories he writes about Germany before and after the war, a sleepy French village, a French cineaste scenario and France in wartime, and about Britain and America in several settings. He is also secure writing as a woman or as a child.

There is a sophistication and richness in his work that defies classification. He is easy in his writing, though never casual or loose, but he defies the conventions of traditional story-telling that demand a neat tying up of all the ends of a tale.

These stories demonstrate Boyd's range, but they are not traditional, often taking a deliberately experimental form, suited to the mood of anomie that so many of the characters express or exemplify. Throughout these stories a thin thread of despair runs, which seems to me to be connected to the literary 21st century's rejection of tradition, almost as if the writer is looking around for something with which to replace it. There is certainly a quality here that is hard to find in other writers in this form.
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on 3 June 2013
I was introduced to William Boyd books by a local independent book shop. Fascination is yet another fantastic novel from a great writer. Unfortunately, I read Mr Boyd's books quicker than he writes them! Like many of his books, this deserves to have a screenplay & movie from it.
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on 16 May 2012
Wide-ranging set of short stories. The focus is often on the seedier side of life which gets wearisome before very long. One or two gems (The Ghost of a Bird, Varengeville) plus some gimmicky ones (Lunch, Adult Video) but mostly fairly pedestrian stuff.
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on 29 November 2013
I was rather disappointed in this collection of short storied - not up to the high standard I had come to expect from the author.
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