Archives for photography

Book review: Sweet Caress

This is a tour through history, via the life story of Amory Clay, photographer, born 1908. In 1977, from Barrandale in Scotland, she looks back at her life from schoolgirl to 1920s Berlin, 1930s New York, pre-war fascist riots in London, France in the Second World War, Vietnam in the Sixties and a hippie commune in California. In Sweet Caress, William Boyd uses the same technique that was so successful in Any Human Heart: slipping a fictional character into a grid of true events. It works, again, just. The lines between fact and fiction are satisfactorily blurred, when Amory meets someone new I found myself asking, ‘is this a real person or an invented one?’ I read this book quickly, the drive of historical events pulling me through. I didn’t quite connect with Amory, I’m not sure why. Possibly, because the only viewpoint we see is hers. I never really got why men were drawn to her so. She only sleeps with five men in her life, neatly there is one for each segment of her life. One scene I could have done without, a description of her first lover after sex made me cringe. Boyd is strongest when writing
Read More

Categories: Book Love.

I’m looking forward to reading: ‘Sweet Caress’ by William Boyd

I’ve loved William Boyd ever since A Good Man in Africa in 1982, and have the battered paperback to prove it [below]. Why? Because:-Boyd is one of the best British novelists alive; I’ve read most of them. Still to read Solo, delayed because I am not a great fan of continuation novels written by not-the-original author; My favourite novel is Any Human Heart; The most astonishing read: Brazzaville Beach; Best novel to start with: I would start at the beginning, but that’s just me. For the ‘fictional autobiographies’ read Any Human Heart; to be shocked, try Brazzaville Beach; if you like thrillers, start with Restless or Ordinary Thunderstorms. Sweet Caress is different because: it’s the life story of photographer Amory Clay, and includes around 70 photographs chosen from 2000 sourced at auctions, car boot sales and online. It is the fourth of his ‘fictional autobiographies’ which comprise The New Confessions, Nat Tate and Any Human Heart. Visit William Boyd’s website here ‘Sweet Caress’ by William Boyd [UK: Bloomsbury] Buy now
Read More

Categories: Book Love.

New day, new photo

I’ve been away from home all week, filming for Ignoring Gravity: a book trailer and an author interview in which I talk about my idea for the novel, adoption in the 1960s, and the symbolism of trees. I also have a new portrait photo, which I’m rather pleased with. For one thing, you can’t see me shivering… the blue sky gave way to grey, then wind, then rain… and secondly I love the setting. One of our locations was the most beautiful garden with a [leafless] tree, the trunk of which was surrounded by a circular wooden seat. I hope you like my new photo as much as I do!
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.

Flash Fiction: ‘An Apple Five Ways: 1/Hers’

She gets on the number 45 and sits upstairs. He sits down so he can see when she gets off. In town they cross the road to the station. The ticket machine is out of order and he is pleased, he prefers talking to a person. He stands in line behind her. She buys a return ticket to London, so does he. On the train, he sits two rows away. It’s a bit close but she may make a telephone call on her mobile and he needs to hear. She could be arranging to meet someone. He sits with his good ear facing her, she sits looking at her phone, typing. But there is no call. At Waterloo he waits outside M&S, studying a poster about Kew Gardens. She re-appears, carrying a small green bag. Her lunch. He has no food, didn’t expect to be gone for long. He can’t go into a shop now, and risk losing her. Really he just wants to touch her, but he knows this is not possible. He is frightened she will disappear on contact, like the time he looked at his reflection in the pond at Wisley. He dropped to his knees to
Read More

Categories: My Flash Fiction.