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The Blue Afternoon Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
As with all of his books, the writing is excellent, every phrase hitting the mark, encompassing both tragedy and comedy with equal skill. Boyd's originality means you can never quite predict exactly where the story is going. His characters are simultaneously infuriating and likeable, and always very very real.
My main criticism of the book lies with the sections set in Los Angeles, which I didn't think quite worked. It would have been better to launch straight into the story proper and leave out the cloak and dagger beginning, and use a simpler way to relate the ending. The end of the story also seemed a bit rushed and left too much unanswered.
But overall another great read from William Boyd - not his best, but still better than most other recent novelists!
In Los Angeles Kay Fischer is approached by an elderly man who claims to be her father. But her father died when she was an infant and her mother (now remarried) has told her about him - and he is not this strange man. But Kay is intrigued and is drawn to Salvador Carriscant and sets off with him "to find a killer".
The narrative then becomes Carrascant's story of his life as a doctor in the Philippines under US rule. The vivid descriptions of the steamy atmosphere of life in the tropics are brilliant. The hospital scenes are especially good - and not for the squeamish! Carrascant becomes obsessed with a married American woman and plots ingenious ways in which they can be together. In places the writing was reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The Blue Afternoon is a very bold piece of story telling with some excellent plotting devices and lively characters. However it is not without faults. We have to question Kay's willingness to go with (and finance!) Carrascant on the trip to Europe. And the ending is a bit rushed, leaving a number of loose ends.
Nonetheless a highly enjoyable novel.
In the Blue Afternoon, William Boyd paints a vivid picture of the Philippines in the early part of the 20th century. And within that picture is a touching love story.
So emersed was I in the Philippines, that when the story 'returned' to 1930's Los Angeles it was like emerging into daylight from a darkened room. It takes some minutes of blinking to reorientate.
There are debates about the storylines and the need for the beginning and end, but none of it bothered me. This is simply a very good story, written about a distant place and time with impossible clarity.
William Boyd is an extremely talented author, and this is as good as he has written.
I have now read seven Boyd novels and they are all different as regards the period and place (country or continent) of their setting, unlike many detective stories which often feature the same detective in the same city where only the crime and the killer's motive are different. (That doesn't mean they aren't good reading, for example Ian Rankin's Rebus novels set in Edinburgh are all highly praised.) but ALL Boyd's novels (that I've read) are COMPLETELY different.
In this novel the 'story' is set in the Philippine Islands at the turn of the century (1901-1903), and the main protagonist is a skilful surgeon (trained in Scotland) with forward looking ideas, while his anaesthetist is devoting all his spare time to constructing a heavier than air flying machine.
All in all a rattling good read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
good price, as described and prompt service, nothing more required !Published 6 months ago by mike88
Not for the squeamish . . . but superb entertainment for the rest of us. Another Boyd masterpiece.Published 9 months ago by Jonathan Veale
Prompt Delivery. Excellent Service. Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Great writer. Great story. Many thanks - Sam.Published 12 months ago by William Jones
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