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The New Confessions [Kindle Edition]

William Boyd
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

The New Confessions is a wickedly funny novel by bestselling author William Boyd

'Brilliant ... a Citizen Kane of a novel'
Daily Telegraph

The New Confessions
is the outrageous, extraordinary, hilarious and heartbreaking autobiography of John James Todd, a Scotsman born in 1899 and one of the great self-appointed (and failed) geniuses of the twentieth century.

'An often magnificent feat of story-telling and panoramic reconstruction ... John James Todd's reminiscences carry us through the ups and downs of a long and lively career that begins in genteel Edinburgh, devastatingly detours out to the Western Front, forks off, after a period of cosy family life in London, to the electric excitements of the Berlin film-world of the Twenties, then moves on to Hollywood ... to ordeal by McCarthyism and eventual escape to Europe' Peter Kemp, Observer.

The New Confessions will be loved by fans of An Ice-cream War and Any Human Heart, as well as readers of Ben Macintyre, Sebastian Faulks, Nick Hornby and Hilary Mantel.

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Product Description

About the Author

William Boyd was born in Ghana in 1952. He was brought up there and in Nigeria. He was educated at the universities of Nice, Glasgow and Oxford. He is the author of a number of acclaimed and hugely popular novels and three volumes of short stories, and the recipient of many prizes, including the Whitbread First Novel Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award. He is married and lives in London

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1174 KB
  • Print Length: 592 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375705031
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (19 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H03IEBC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,181 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another triumph 13 April 2007
The New Confessions has similarities to Any Human Heart, encompassing as it does a man's life from boyhood through to old age. The main difference is that while Any Human Heart unfolded contemporaneously in the form of a journal or diary, The New Confessions is written retrospectively - an old man looking back on his life, remembering the highs and lows.

The story is as gripping as any of Boyd's novels, largely due to Boyd's immense talent in imbuing the ordinary with rivetting, magnetic fascination. The ordures of public school initiation, the fierceness of first love (or crush), the passions, terrors, obsessions and regrets of any life, are magnified and captured with breath-catching aplomb. Boyd is one of the few writers - Updike, Ishiguro and McEwan also spring to mind- who can make the reader giggle uncontrollably one minute and in the next reel from some gut-wrenchingly vivid drama.

The New Confessions follows John James Todd from his childhood in Edinburgh, under the care of his austere surgeon father and his sharp-witted and idiosyncratic nanny Oonagh , through schooldays and friendship with the mathematical child prodigy Hamish Malahide, to adulthood with all its attendant thwarted dreams, shocking traumas and rich relationships.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
I struggle with some of Boyd's writing - but find the two quasi-autobiographical novels (Any Human Heart and The New Confession) truly outstanding.
They both take you on a rampage across the 20th Century - but whilst based on a similar premise are utterly different.
In this case the lead character is fascinating, flawed and disturbingly like many people you know in his ability to make the wrong decision at each moment of truth.
I am impressed with Boyd's ability to design fictitious lives in such detail - it really makes you feel as if he is a biographer who has researched his subject for years.
Impossible to put down. Truly excellent.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Confessions 3 Aug. 2010
This is an memorable evocation of a life, in my opinion the best William Boyd book so far. The characterisation rings true at every turn. John James Todd is a particularly masterful creation; I found myself simultaneously cringing and profoundly empathising with Todd's inability to control his self-destructive impulses. Boyd also creates a great sense of location atmosphere, I particularly enjoyed the Berlin and Hollywood scenes. A must read book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Angus Jenkinson VINE VOICE
This is a kind of partner to Any Human Heart. These two novels give us key themes of William Boyd and it's quite remarkable how similar the structure and storyline is. They are reflections on life lived in the century in which it was lived. Any Human Heart deals with a writer in search of his Magnum Opus, which never comes. Here we have a filmmaker in search of his Magnum Opus which never comes. In both cases they show a flash of genius that they cannot sustain. Life gets in the way. They both come from middle-class backgrounds. They have parents who expect something else of them. They both spent time in solitary confinement. And in the war. They both spent time in America and the Spanish Civil War. They both have a wife they leave acrimoniously and get cut off from children. But they have other lovers, losing great loves but finding others, including ones they meet up with again over the years. They both end up living in a kind of retreat in poverty but with preserved circumstances. They are both watched the 20th century unfold and their stories are linked to the events of the 20th century. For example, in this book, John James Todd is derailed by the McCarthy era when he is labelled a Communist. Our protagonist here doesn't make it to Oxford, he has to go to university north of the border.

Does that make it better because you can compare storylines and views of history or derivative or does it just mean that the author found a great plotline and repeated it with a twist? Well whichever, it is still a very good book. I think Boyd is one of those literary writers that you can enjoy on the beach.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving and funny tour of the 20th century. 12 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
Picaresque is the word I guess - a loose amble through the twentieth century, but at the same time utterly gripping - variously comic, philosophical, moving... for me, it turned me back on to British fiction after a disillusioned separation of several years. When I finished the book, I felt I'd lost a friend....
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The strength of Boyd's imagery is so strong, that it leaves a very deep imprint on the readers mind.
You feel like John James Todd takes you on a journey through the 20th Century - from the horror and darkness of the First World War trenches, to the glamour and grime of Hollywood. The storytelling is superbly paced and peaked - a rollercoaster ride of emotions. But this is only taking the book at face value. The New Confessions is actually a book of a film within a book - with a highly accomplished mirroring of Jean Jacques Rousseau's The Confessions. Boyd has not only succeeded in updating the characters and action from one of the most highly regarded pieces of literature of all time, he has in many ways surpassed it.
I cannot recommend this highly enough - it is not an overstatement to call reading this book a life changing experience. You will not want it to end and will go back again, time and again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Ww1😊
Found the story dragging at times although the First World War bits were good
Published 22 days ago by HMH
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It made me read Rousseaus Confessions. Thank you Mr Boyd!
Published 1 month ago by Rameses
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy
A favourite author. Good story and lots of detail
Published 2 months ago by sally seagull
5.0 out of 5 stars A Couple of Thoughts
Enough information is provided in the formal Description and the accompanying reviews for the potential reader to decide whether to purchase this volume. Read more
Published 2 months ago by talmine
3.0 out of 5 stars William Boyd
An early Boyd novel which sets the form of Any Human Heart
Published 6 months ago by Richard Pelling
3.0 out of 5 stars This does not seem toi have been written in William ...
This does not seem toi have been written in William boyd's usual style but I haven't finished it yet and will come back when I have.
Published 7 months ago by
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant story
A brilliant story allowed to weave it's magic in a slow and dramatic but not ponderous way so a shattering conclusion that leave you try to grasp at what. Read more
Published 7 months ago by John Lawson
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Disappointed after reading previous books.
Published 8 months ago by brian boyes
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I have enjoyed all of William Boyd 's books but this one was a real slog! It seemed to follow a formula set by Any Human Heart but turned it into a boring chore with not an ounce... Read more
Published 8 months ago by RoyR
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
With every Boyd book I read, I come to admire and enjoy his work all the more. This is a powerful and strongly-drawn novel, the story of one man's life, yet also the story of so... Read more
Published 9 months ago by A. Anderson
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