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This new collection of eleven stories by the author of The Blue Afternoon takes readers back in time from a contemporary Hollywood film shoot to World War I in Vienna, introducing an unforgettable cast of characters. Artful, witty, moving, The Destiny of Nathalie X is a confirmation of Boyd's standing as a master storyteller. 208 pp. Author tour. 15,000 print.
I rarely enjoy books of short stories; usually they are simply not long enough for the author to bring a character to life. In this collection of short stories William Boyd exhibits his customary writing flair, sketching scenes and drawing the reader in, but ultimately it is a frustrating read: as each story ends, you're left wanting more. This collection is also notable for the lead character in one of the short stories it contains (Hotel des Voyageurs), Logan Mountstuart, whose story Boyd later developed as the central figure of his masterpiece Any Human Heart.read more
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In the long title story of Boyd's accomplished new collection, a young African filmmaker finds himself catapulted by an obscure French prize out of his native village into Hollywood and an unwanted movie deal. In the book's shortest piece-a fictional, two-page obituary-a Vietnamese writer wins fame in Paris, falls into obscurity during the Occupation and dies after being struck by a bicycle. Other stories feature a British student in Marseilles; a latter-day Walter Mitty, misplaced in London, whose real life unfolds in dreams of Brazil; and a German architect who builds diners in 1950s Los Angeles. Like Boyd's popular novels A Good Man in Africa and Brazzaville Beach, all are tales of expatriate life or spiritual exile. In this collection, Boyd's style is polished and elegant, and he has developed a mature point of view that takes the bitterness out of his satire and makes his use of even conventional themes and situations subtly unsettling. His observations, whether of a landscape, an accent or an attitude, are consistently open to surprise and delight. His expats are, like their author, nomad exquisites: through their fresh eyes nothing looks banal, and the world-past or present, Old or New-is an entertaining, unfailingly exotic destination. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved