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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary writing
William Boyd is a literary craftsman whose skills keep the reader enthralled and informed from the first page to the last. He is the antidote to all the overpraised writers fawned over erroneously on both sides of the Atlantic in the current publishing climate of `name' and `brand' because they lucked into (often underserved) popularity. Boyd is the real thing: a...
Published on 31 Jan 2010 by John Joss

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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I've loved William Boyd since way back in distant history, when I was blown away by An Ice Cream War, and have continued to be mesmerised by his storytelling skills down the years. This one, however, was disappointing. It started really well; I had the usual sense of excitement about the world I was about to enter, particularly as London in my home town, and was...
Published on 26 Aug 2010 by Lynne Barrett-lee


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and yet unsatisfying., 21 Oct 2009
This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Hardcover)
Two huge problems.

Rubbish opening. Absolute rubbish. A supposedly clever protagonist (Adam Kindred) does something blindingly stupid.

Rubbish ending. After a really enjoyable (but lightweight) couple of hundred pages, Boyd runs out of steam. If you're going to give us a thriller - give us a thriller ending.

I love Boyd and some of his other stuff is really good - Any Human Heart is spectacular. This is still enjoyable but not substantial.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let-down, 1 Feb 2010
This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Paperback)
In Ordinary Thunderstorm, Boyd comes across as a talanted writer who just can't be bothered any more. Some of the actions of the main characters are beyond idiotic. On one occasion the hero does something so foolish that you immediately see the disaster that's going to befall as a result. So it's no big dramatic denouement when it does!

Elsewhere, some characters are cliched and stereotypical. The pompous CEO, his poncey, hair-dyed brother in law, the tough military geezer... they're all a bit cliched and unconvincing. (Oddly, he does a better job of painting the down-and-out characters he's probably most unfamiliar with.)

But the hardest thing about this book is how it leaves all the major storylines hanging. Leaving a book with loose ends can be frustrating at the best of times. But this feels less like a conscious decision to sign off amidst a fog of mystery and more like a simple disinclination to even bother writing the last three chapters. It's literally as if there are pages missing.

I enjoyed reading it, thanks to Boyd's elegant style - but I was sorely ticked off to be so abruptly abandoned at the end!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Whatever was he thinking?, 14 Jan 2010
This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Paperback)
I can't imagine what made Boyd turn to something that's been done so often before and done so much better. Nothing's believable here: not the characters, or the plot, or even the settings. Adam Kindred (yes, a bit of symbolism thrown in free there) doesn't bear any relationship to a genuine person--too silly, too dim, too dull. Nor does anyone else in this readable but eventually pretty boring book attain believability. A mystery with no surprises--not even any really close calls--it just sort of humps along until it peters out. If a young writer had asked for a critique of this book, I would have said it woud never get published without more work. Hard to believe this came from the author of Brazzaville Beach and Any Human Heart. Let's hope Boyd's next one will see back in form.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars John's review of Ordinary Thundersorms, 28 Dec 2009
By 
marjam (Sydney, NSW) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Paperback)
Ordinary Thundersorms is, like previous William Boyd books I have read, well written and easy reading. It is a story with lots of tension and pace. The plot, while admirably ambitious, is very thin. I kept having to tell myself that the obvious outcome of a particular scenario did not occur because we weren't at the end of the book yet - there didn't seem to be any other valid reason. Even so the book ends prematurely with some of the threads left hanging. What, for example, was the point of Ingram's brain tumour? It would have made more literary sense were he suffering the complications of long term use of his comapny's erectile dysfunction product - and this would have been no less plausible medically. (When did a malignant glioma cause blood spots on the sufferer's bed linen and itching as a major symptom?)

It is not at all clear why Jojo's life ambition has become to kill Adam, and if so why he does nothing with the information regarding the motor scooter, despite having till that point followed all his leads promptly, methodically and resourcefully. Unless, it is because the plot needed him to relax a bit at that point.

Why do Rita and Adam find the island from which Jojo escaped UK other than to introduce a little irony. Or did Boyd bring them there for some reason which he then abandoned (like the brain tumour).

Boyd needs to do more reasearch into drug trials if he wants to produce believable criticism of big Pharma. ICU admissions and deaths of trial subjects can't be hidden unless the processes are thoroughly corrupt from the outset with all contributing investigators in on the scam. In a scenario like that the trial data are unlikely even to get past the weak processes of the FDA let alone agencies like the EMEA.

I can't say I din't enjoy this book though I was annoyed that it didn't measure up to the standards now expected of this author.

Ordinary Thundersorms is lamentably an Ordinary Book.

John (I it from Mary as a gift)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfulfilled Promise, 6 Dec 2009
This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Paperback)
William Boyd is undoubtedly one of the best British novelists of his generation. He has never had quite the same profile of the likes of Martin Amis or Julian Barnes but his novels have always demonstrated a highly developed sense of storytelling without compromising his aspirations toward quality, cerebral literature. This is perhaps best exemplified in 2002's Any Human Heart which, for me is among the top ten books of the decade. Given all of that I guess I hoped to enjoy Ordinary Thunderstorms a good bit more than I did. Whilst there is much to admire here ultimately I felt rather let down. Boyd is a lot better than this. First, the positives. The premise is excellent; an ordinary man turns up in the wrong place at the wrong time and triggers a chain of events which cause him to lose everything he has ever known including his very identity. The concept of disappearing inside a city by vanishing downwards, through the layers of society, rather than by running away, is clever and inventive. The Dickensian use of London and the Thames as a link to characters and societal stands is good too but all of this is fundamentally damaged by the glaring weaknesses in the plot. Primarily there is not enough exploration of why the protagonist Kindred decides to abandon everything and live rough instead of going to the police. Then his life as a down and out proves just too simple. Rapidly and easily he rises to financial security which, as well as being hard to believe, is more than a little disrespectful of those who really are homeless and remain so for many years. Finally the ease with which he solves the mystery of what has happened to him with almost nothing to go on and absolutely no resources, is similarly unconvincing. I would still recommend reading this because off-form Boyd still knocks the socks off almost everyone else, but overall, it is definitely a missed opportunity from a writer capable of much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boyd does it again, 25 April 2013
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This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Paperback)
Excellent thrilling read, set in the modern era. Book has a great storyline...great book for beach although you wont be talking to anyone
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally gripping and beautifully written., 13 Mar 2013
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This book was recommended to me and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it. The book made me laugh,cry and hold my breath with tension. Excellent, everything a thriller should be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fairly gripping but not pleasant to read, 19 Feb 2013
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Rather crude in places, murky. Not much to admire in the characters.
A disappointing ending that fizzled out.
This was my first William Boyd book - I will probably not bother with any more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary Thunderstorms, 13 Jan 2013
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I was really looking forward to this book as it came highly recommended but although I enjoyed it I found Kindred's out of character behaviour in the extreme unbelievable and I thought the ending left lots of questions unanswered.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is there a sequel ?, 30 Oct 2012
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A disappointing read with many threads left hanging at the end. Not one of William Boyd's better books. Restless is still my favourite.
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Ordinary Thunderstorms
Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd (Paperback - 7 Jun 2010)
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