In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay.
In 1977 Amory is now living in Barrandale, a piece of land like an Island yet connected by a bridge to the Scottish mainland. Throughout the novel the story is anchored by her writing her journal in 1977 as she recalls her life through the decades of the 20th century. The book is divided into five parts each covering a period in Amory’s life making this read like an autobiography and to enhance that feeling there are photos of key people scattered along the way.
At a key stage in her life Amory’s father has returned from fighting in WWI a seriously damaged man and attempts suicide by driving into a lake in his car with Amory in the passenger seat. She saves herself and her father by this action that changes her life forever.
Boyd has shown brilliant skill in creating Amory as if she was a real person including photos, books that she has published and references to real events and people, such as Robert Capa.
The story is at its best during the war years and the scenes both in WWII and Vietnam are the most vivid and there are wonderful descriptions of the street life in Saigon.
I will be adding this to my favourite reads this autumn.