8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Boyd Fan Disappointed,
This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Paperback)
I like Boyd.
Much better than what people see as his peers such as Pat Barker or Julian "I am just so smart because I like the real France, not like that Peter Mayle bloke" Barnes. As a result, I was surprised to be really disappointed.
Put simply, it is neither here nor there. I guess that the concept was to combine smart literature and thriller writing. Perhaps it was a move by Boyd to use a pop format (and so access to more readers and money) to promote the rest of his work. Others have done that mix well (Le Carre, Wolfe, Dickens amongst others spring to mind) and I would have put my money on Boyd doing the same, especially after Restless. However for me, it made a mess of both genres.
It is a woefully poor thriller. The plot is thin, feels false (unrealistic is forgivable but outright implausability feels wrong) and poorly executed. Around about 1/4 of the way through the narrative loses way and the "what next?" page-turning feel turns to simple "hmm, is there anything here?" habit. The finish is about as poor as you could get for a thriller.
It is poor literature. The writing is loose, the characters wooden and the rigid use of thriller "story-swap" technique feels leaden and cheap. As a study of what it is like to be out of modern society it adds absolutely nothing.
I had just read the recent Robert Harris thriller and the contrast couldn't have been sharper. Daft as a brush for sure but completely "thrilling" and no pretence at being smart.