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'An elating read' Sunday Times
A producer. A novelist. An actress.
It is summer in 1968, the year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. There are riots in Paris and the Vietnam War is out of control. While the world is reeling our three characters are involved in making a Swingin' Sixties movie in sunny Brighton.
All are leading secret lives. Elfrida is drowning her writer's block in vodka; Talbot, coping with the daily dysfunction of making a film, is hiding something in a secret apartment; and the glamorous Anny is wondering why the CIA is suddenly so interested in her.
But the show must go on and, as it does, the trio's private worlds begin to take over their public ones. Pressures build inexorably - someone's going to crack. Or maybe they all will.
From one of Britain's best loved writers comes an exhilarating, tender novel that asks the vital questions: what makes life worth living? And what do you do if you find it isn't?
PRAISE FOR WILLIAM BOYD
'The ultimate in immersive fiction . . . magnificent' Sunday Times
'A finely judged performance: a deft and resonant alchemy of fact and fiction, of literary myth and imagination' Guardian on Love is Blind
'William Boyd has probably written more classic books than any of his contemporaries' Daily Telegraph
'Simply the best realistic storyteller of his generation' Sebastian Faulks
The lives of a film producer, an actor, and a novelist converge during an ill-fated movie shoot in Boyd's madcap 16th novel (after Love Is Blind). It is 1968 and the very British Talbot Kydd is in Brighton overseeing the production. His leading lady is American ingenue Anny Viklund, and the movie is directed by the pretentious, unfaithful husband of famous writer Elfrida Wing. Talbot, secretly gay, constantly puts out fires on and off the movie set. Anny has been extorted by her terrorist ex-husband who has recently escaped from prison. And Elfrida is a raging alcoholic who can't get past the first, terrible, paragraph of her new book. As Boyd expertly unfolds his characters' stories, philosophical questions emerge: where does each of these individuals belong in history, and must they play the part expected of them? Filled with outlandish and amusing characters, including predatory talent agents and a pornography-peddling has-been actor, Boyd's novel offers its heroes paths to escape their burdens, some of which are a bit implausible, but all are fun to watch. Boyd is an exquisite stylist, and his tragicomic novel is a sublime escape.