This is William Boyd at his best. I have to admit I was not a fan of ORDINARY THUNDERSTORMS, I think Boyd writes historical settings much better than contemporary ones and I couldn’t get pass the setting up in ORDINARY THUNDERSTORMS where the main character is falsely suspect of murder because he picks up the murder weapon when he discovers a body. But WAITING FOR SUNRISE is William Boyd at the top of his game. If you loved RESTLESS or ANY HUMAN HEART you are in for a treat.
The novel opens in Vienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, an English actor, is seeking psychoanalysis for an unusual problem. His therapy sets of a chain of events that sees him embark on a passionate love affair that has far-reaching consequences. Consequences that see Rief’s acting talents being put to use by the British army a few years later when the world goes to war.
The novel is told in a very interesting way. We get journal entries from Rief, that he starts as part of his therapy but the novel is also told from the third person and the interchanging works perfectly. Boyd combines elements of conspiracy and family connections with quirky, witty humour to create an odd sense of innocence and naivety that is being shaken awake by world events. There are chance meetings and odd coincidences that all work perfectly to keep you guessing right up until the end. This is a perfect blend of entertaining storytelling, intriguing plotting and masterful writing.
I don’t think it has screened in Australia yet but you must check out the TV mini-series of ANY HUMAN HEART. The screenplay is by William Boyd and it is from the producers of DOWNTON ABBEY. A miniseries of RESTLESS is coming at the end of the year