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Waiting for Sunrise [Hardcover]

William Boyd
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 15.51 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Feb 2012
Vienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor, walks through the city to his first appointment with eminent psychiatrist, Dr Bensimon. Sitting in the waiting room he is anxiously pondering the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis when a young woman enters. Lysander is immediately drawn to her strange, hazel eyes and her unusual, intense beauty. Her name is Hettie Bull. Their subsequent affair is both passionate and particularly destructive. Moving from Vienna to London's West End, from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a feverish and mesmerising journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller and a literary tour de force.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (16 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408817748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408817742
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,135 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

Review

William Boyd is one of our most cherished writers ... Waiting for Sunrise is as much A Dance to the Music of Time as Any Human Heart, a giddy burlesque where characters, particularly figures of erotic obsession, vanish only to reappear unexpectedly ... It's the sort of novel you finish then begin again to revisit your favourite bits ... More than anything, Waiting for Sunrise is a gleeful celebration of storytelling - sly, clever, frequently hilarious, always involving. For me at least this is the literary event of the year (The Times)

There are few more reliable literary pleasures than a Boyd novel. Over three decades he has established himself as one of Britain's most popular and highly regarded novelists ... He is a novelist who writes intelligent books about plausible and fully rounded characters, brimming with challenging ideas and themes. Above all, he is a storyteller nonpareil (Mick Brown Telegraph)

Boyd guides the reader with a master's hand. It's ages since I read a novel that offers such breathlessly readable narrative enjoyment, such page-by-page storytelling confidence and solidity. Waiting for Sunrise is a homage to thriller writers, spy novels and crime detection stories and films from a hundred years ago, stretching from Sherlock Holmes, via Buchan and Greene, to Hitchcock (Independent)

An intricately plotted world of spies, lies and the double cross ... a coming of age story about an individual's self enlightenment, as much as a sui generis thriller. Waiting for Sunrise proves that rarest of beasts: a tantalisingly experimental work that is also an immensely satisfying page turner (Sunday Telegraph)

Boyd's run of first-rate literary thrillers continues with this nerve-jangling First World War-era tale (Benjamin Evans Sunday Telegraph)

Boyd's sophisticated espionage thriller succeeds in capturing the eve-of-war atmosphere of 1913 Vienna (Observer)

Book Description

A thrilling, plot-twisting new novel set in Europe during the first world war, from the bestselling author of Any Human Heart, Restless and Ordinary Thunderstorms

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for the ending 13 Mar 2012
By Michael Watson TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It makes a change to have a spy thriller set in Vienna around the turn of the first world war and William Boyd gets to grips with this one very well. In fact, if you hadn't read the blurb, you might be thinking this was a rather lame love affair doomed to failure thanks to the up and coming horror of the war.

But Lysander Rief, there's a name and a half, up-and-coming actor is drawn into the spying game little by little and he turns out to be rather good at it. Whilst trying to sort out his psychological problems with a colleague of Freud in Vienna, he is asked to obtain the code in order to break secret messages emanating from the UK and finishing up where they shouldn't be! He does this with such aplomb that, despite a near death situation, he is then rehabilitated to London, his personal problems resolved and so the fun begins.

The author weaves an excellent spy chase from this point. Rief's earlier contacts catch up with him, he finds himself investigating a spy who may well be more closely connected that he would wish and those around him each appear to be the possible suspect. The ending is odd. To explain it gives away too much information but there we are. I enjoyed the book. The atmosphere in Austria and in London is excellently described especially given the fast approaching circumstances. The inclusion of a Zeppelin adds a little flavour to the mix and the storyline makes you turn the pages. Whether or not there is room for a follow-on remains to be seen but the main protagonist is a character who could be developed for future forays into the spying world, after all, who better than an actor to confuse the enemy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By S. B. Kelly VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Boyd is above all a storyteller: he creates believable characters with unlikely names and puts them in implausible situations which he somehow makes credible. Is he more than a storyteller? Perhaps not. He reminds me in many ways of Graham Greene, who wrote novels that middle-brow people could enjoy while pretending to believe that they were high-brow.

Waiting for Sunrise is densely plotted. It has a sense of breathless haste as characters rush on stage and off again, turning up unexpectedly in different parts of Europe, until an abrupt -- infuriating -- ending that asks as many questions as it answers.

He is, in many ways, an old-fashioned novelist, with a fondness for symmetry. The adolescent Lysander makes a shocking false accusation against a servant at his stepfather's estate, getting the lad dismissed. That Lysander is himself the victim of a false accusation 13 years later is all-too-poetic justice.

It is a real page turner but anyone hoping that their rabid page turning will lead to ultimate enlightenment will be disappointed.
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117 of 129 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anticlimactic 24 Feb 2012
By M. D. Smart VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In his novel Restless, William Boyd pulled off the difficult trick of marrying a tense wartime thriller with an affecting study of a daughter coming to terms with the knowledge that her mother is not the person she thought she knew. The result was a book that had the compulsive appeal of a commercial page-turner with the satisfying emotional depth of the literary fiction Boyd is known for. In his latest title, Waiting For Sunrise, he attempts the same feat - sadly, the results this time are less successful, and it adds up to a disappointing and disjointed whole.

The main problem with Waiting For Sunrise is it appears to be two disparate novels cobbled together. It begins in pre-WWI Vienna as we follow a young English actor, Lysander Rief, who has come to seek a cure for a debilitating sexual problem through psychoanalysis. During his stay he meets a free-spirited sculptor, Hettie Bull, and they begin an intense affair which apparently cures his 'problem'. All seems to be going well when Lysander suddenly finds himself in serious trouble and has to return to England. From that point the novel morphs into an espionage thriller, with Lysander pressured into assisting the War Office with breaking a secret code and unmasking a traitor.

In fact, both these plot strands are gripping, up to a point; we get a fascinating glimpse of pre-war Europe, an insight into psychoanalysis and a passionate love story in the first section, while the spy story is genuinely thrilling for the most part, with plot twists galore and almost every supporting character coming under suspicion. It even begins to seem that these two halves of the story may be connected after all, and I was enjoying the book a great deal...until the last few chapters.
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77 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb story telling 16 Feb 2012
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a highly readable novel which will keep you turning pages into the night...The story focuses around the character of Lysander Rief, a young English actor who is drawn by events into the world of wartime spies. Opening in 1913, in Vienna, shortly before the outbreak of war, the story is driven along by the chance meeting, and subsequent tempestuous relationship, of Lysander, and a young English sculptress. Arrested for a crime he did not commit, Lysander finds the consequences taking over his life, taking him deeper and deeper into a chain of events in which nothing is quite what it seems.

As always with William Boyd, this is superbly crafted fiction, beautifully written, and compulsive reading

Superb - highly recommended
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great, readable book.
Published 4 days ago by Frankiesam
4.0 out of 5 stars almost really good
almost captures the authenticity of the times, but why is Boyd not ever quite profound enough tackling these themes? Read more
Published 6 days ago by Leslie Gardner
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written story with glimpses into another time and place.
I realised as I was reading this that it was almost exactly a century after the book is set which added an interesting poignancy on top of what is already a very well told... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Martin Baines
4.0 out of 5 stars Had me hooked from the first page.
Enjoyed the descriptions of Vienna, Geneva and London as they were 100 years ago.

It has a great plot from start to finish together interesting characters.
Published 1 month ago by Nick5449
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Not one of his best but I did enjoy it, I rather like books set in this period, it was quite complex but I really enjoyed his character.
Published 1 month ago by F. Whitham
1.0 out of 5 stars Great style but no substance
Nothing remotely possible or plausible in the plot; so many holes it`s a fishnet (no catch!). The writing style redeems the novel, but this is, in a sense, the downfall as the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Grace
4.0 out of 5 stars intriguing and ambiguous
Impossible to know what was really going on for much of this book ... Espionage and subterfuge mixed in with psychoanalytical theories ... But that is part of the book's charm.
Published 2 months ago by Sara
1.0 out of 5 stars Slick job
This novel comes with standard high praise for Boyd. But I agree fully with the other one star reviewers. Read more
Published 2 months ago by k. kold
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay
I've read much worse. This was an entertaining but soon forgotten novel. It was,so soon forgotten that I ordered the hardback version shortly after reading the kindle version.
Published 2 months ago by M. Beetham
3.0 out of 5 stars Gift
I have not read it. It was a gift for my daughter in law who it seems is enjoying it.
Published 3 months ago by Carol Dey
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