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Any Human Heart

4.4 out of 5 stars 370 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (15 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455113883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455113880
  • Package Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.8 x 6.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (370 customer reviews)
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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.

Review

'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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps it's a bad idea to describe a book on its cover as "Wise, profound and moving, astonishing, touching, astounding, extremely funny, brilliant evocation" etc as it raises impossible expectations. I didn't actually find it any of those things, and as someone who has kept a diary on a daily basis since I was eleven, it does not even convince as that. One man's life through the twentieth century, certainly, with wars, bereavement, riches and poverty, friendship and betrayal (and improbable, contrived meetings with "real" famous people from Royalty to terrorists to artists) - Logan Mountstuart measures out his life, not with teaspoons but with renewed passports - and finally convinced me towards the end, as he grew old, that the book had been worth reading after all, for the accurate portrayal of a messy, random life where everything is unplanned and down to random chances. I was happy for Logan that he looked at the beautiful, heedless young people around him in his last weeks without envy, glad he was proud of what he had done, and could look back fondly at the thousands of people he had met. The book also got funnier towards the end (Swiss roll is not a pudding, Swiss roll is a cake) or perhaps as Logan grew older (eating dog food) Boyd succeeded in making him more sympathetic, less thoughtless. He joined the "vast parallel universe of the unwell", not feeling old but looking at himself and seeing the signs of ageing everywhere. I certainly felt a pang when he died. He was ready to go, he just wanted, as we all do, for it to be quick.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What an astonishingly imaginative, engaging and wonderfully written piece of work. It's incredible how William Boyd gets the tone of voice perfect all the way from schoolboy to old man.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is really too much going on in this tale. The lecherous Lothario who is the main character has little self control, and no doubt his precarious existence would appeal to some and compares to that of dissolute rock star
The main character would seem to be happy to shag anything in a skirt and apart from infrequent attempts at morality is morally bankrupt.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Readable, but not as good as other novels Boyd has written. I found the main character (the narrator) to be somewhat impersonal and lacking depth.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful, Wonderful. I agree with all the other 5 stars. I have now read 7 Boyd Novels to date.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A thoroughly enjoyable novel about a twentieth century life not entirely well lived. Logan is an engaging narrator navigating his way through a life of sadness
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The many ways a person can live - interesting, glamorous, clever - and yet still forgotten- whether you are survived by loved ones or not. A novel to make you assess your own existence.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book grows on you and absorbs you into the life of a writer, Not what I expected but really enjoyed it
and plan to read more of Boyd.
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