In this extraordinary novel, William Boyd presents the autobiography of John James Todd, whose uncanny and exhilarating life as one of the most unappreciated geniuses of the twentieth century is equal parts Laurence Stern, Charles Dickens, Robertson Davies, and Saul Bellow, and a hundred percent William Boyd.yes'>#160;yes'>#160;From his birth in 1899, Todd was doomed. Emerging from his angstfilled childhood, he rushes into the throes of the twentieth century on the Western Front during the Great War, and quickly changes his role on the battlefield from cannon fodder to cameraman. When he becomes a prisoner of war, he discovers Rousseau's Confessions, and dedicates his life to bringing the memoir to the silver screen. Plagued by bad luck and blind ambition, Todd becomes a celebrated London upstart, a Weimar luminary, and finally a disgruntled director of cowboy movies and the eleventh member of the Hollywood Ten. Ambitious and entertaining, Boyd has invented a most irresistible hero.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Rich in character and incident, An Ice-Cream War fulfills the ambition of the historical novel at its best." --The New York Times Book Review Booker Prize Finalist "Boyd has more than fulfilled the bright promise of [his] first novel. . . . He is capable not only of some very funny satire but also of seriousness and compassion." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times 1914. In a hotel room in German East Africa, American farmer Walter Smith dreams of Theodore Roosevelt. As he sleeps, a railway passenger swats at flies, regretting her decision to return to the Dark Continent--and to her husband. On a faraway English riverbank, a jealous Felix Cobb watches his brother swim, and curses his sister-in-law-to-be. And in the background of the world's daily chatter: rumors of an Anglo-German conflict, the likes of which no one has ever seen.
In An Ice-Cream War, William Boyd brilliantly evokes the private dramas of a generation upswept by the winds of war. After his German neighbor burns his crops--with an apology and a smile--Walter Smith takes up arms on behalf of Great Britain. And when Felix's brother marches off to defend British East Africa, he pursues, against his better judgment, a forbidden love affair. As the sons of the world match wits and weapons on a continent thousands of miles from home, desperation makes bedfellows of enemies and traitors of friends and family. By turns comic and quietly wise, An Ie-Cream War deftly renders lives capsized by violence, chance, and the irrepressible human capacity for love.
"Funny, assured, and cleanly, expansively told, a seriocomic romp. Boyd gives us studies of people caught in the side pockets of calamity and dramatizes their plights with humor, detail and grit." --Harper's "Boyd has crafted a quiet, seamless prose in which story and characters flow effortlessly out of a fertile imagination. . . . The reader emerges deeply moved." --Newsday From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the small African republic of Kinjanja, British diplomat Morgan Leafy bumbles heavily through his job. His love of women, his fondness for drink, and his loathing for the country prove formidable obstacles on his road to any kind of success. But when he becomes an operative in Operation Kingpin and is charged with monitoring the front runner in Kinjanjayes'>#8217;s national elections, Morgan senses an opportunity to achieve real professional recognition and, more importantly, reassignment.After he finds himself being blackmailed, diagnosed with a venereal disease, attempting bribery, and confounded with a dead body, Morgan realizes that very little is going according to plan.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Any Human Heart is William's Boyd's classic, bestselling novel, now available as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary, but Logan Mountstuart's - lived from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century - contains more than its fair share of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war and as an art-dealer in '60s New York, Logan mixes with the movers and shakers of his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness. Here, then, is the story of a life lived to the full - and a journey deep into a very human heart. Any Human Heart will be enjoyed by readers of Sebastian Faulks, Nick Hornby and Hilary Mantel, as well as lovers of the finest British and historical fiction around the world. It was recently adapted for a major Channel 4 four-part drama series scripted by William Boyd and starring Kim Cattrall, Gillian Anderson, Jim Broadbent and Tom Hollander. This edition features beautiful cover artwork from the television series. 'Astonishing, touching, extremely funny. A brilliant evocation of a past era and an immensely readable story' Sunday Telegraph 'Superb, wonderful, enjoyable' Guardian 'A terrific journey through the twentieth century. Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable' Jeremy Paxman
On Brazzaville Beach, on the edge of Africa, Hope Clearwater examines the complex circumstances that brought her there. Sifting the details for evidence of her own innocence or guilt, she tells her story with a blunt and beguiling honesty that not only intrigues and disturbs but is also completely enthralling.
Sixteen masterpieces of short fiction from one of today's most original storytellers. Wide-ranging in style and subject matter, the collection moves from 19th century Russia to Second World War Los Angeles to modern-day Eastbourne. First published in Penguin in 2005 to great acclaim, now reissued with a striking new cover image.
All Henderson Dores dreams of is fitting in. But America, land of the loony millionaire and the subway poet, down-home Bible-basher and sharp-suited hood, of paralysing personal frankness and surreally fantasized facilities, is hard enough for an Englishman to fit in to. Henderson could never shed enough inhibitions to become just another weirdo.