Reviews of Restless by William Boyd

William Boyd
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Restless by William Boyd

Restless

‘Boyd maintains the tension right up to the end, with some enjoyable twists and turns … Atmospheric, intricately plotted and genuinely gripping’ Peter Parker, Sunday Times

‘A terrific Second World War spy thriller’ Henry Sutton, Daily Mirror

‘Captivating’ Siddhartha Deb, Times Literary Supplement

‘It is a tight drama, densely plotted and tremendously exciting’ Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph


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‘A good, rollicking read … Boyd has certainly done his research: Restless pulls you deep into the obscure, forgotten intricacies of wartime espionage … will keep you turning pages until the end’ Marianne Macdonald, Observer

‘The world of spies, especially during the Thirties and Forties, has been so extensively and so cogently covered in both fiction and non-fiction that it is a considerable tribute to Boyd’s authorial skills that he makes it work … extremely readable’ Sunday Telegraph

‘The plot is the thing in this utterly absorbing page-turner. British fiction contains a rich tradition of literary thrillers, from Wilkie Collins through Graham Greene to John le Carré, and Boyd’s new novel sits firmly within it … Not only thrilling but poignant... Boyd is a first rate story-teller and this is a first rate story’ A.C. Grayling, The Times

‘Boyd creates a wonderful appearance of candor in a narrative that is actually packed with twists and double meanings … Boyd very successfully draws the reader into a tactical unfolding of clues that can be taken straight, or as a double-blind, or even a double-double blind … The plot is gripping, and he creates characters who are spies in every fibre of their being, creatures of dangerous times and a soul-destroying profession … Restless is enormously readable in every respect: a confident, intelligent, ambitious novel’ Helen Dunmore, Guardian

‘Well known as a mainstream literary novelist, Boyd now turns the spy thriller genre on its head. Boyd invests this novel not only with a credible style and emotional authenticity but also a full-throttle plot’ Iain Finlayson, Saga Magazine

‘In many ways Restless is the book that Boyd has been building towards for over two decades. While exquisitely literary in scope, tone and style, it is also hugely readable — a real page turner’ Henry Sutton, Esquire

‘Boyd is telling big, encompassing stories that are so authoritatively presented, they have the ring of historical fact … Effortlessly readable … Boyd’s description of wartime Europe and America is as sure as if he had spent a gap year in the early 1940s. Underplaying the emotion, sketching in detail rather than plastering the page with atmospheric context, he unravels the characters of Eva and Romer with confident insouciance. The coolness of his tone as events unfold makes it clear personalities are as central to this novel as its increasingly dastardly plot … Restless is a novel of slowly gathering power and unforgettable imagery. In the characters of Eva and Romer, Boyd makes it horribly, memorably clear that private lives are inextricably, and often cruelly, intertwined’ Rosemary Goring, Glasgow Herald

‘A terrific Second World War spy thriller’ Ticket

‘Heart-stoppingly exciting … a riveting tale of wartime derring-do’ John O’Connell, Time Out

‘Boyd’s reputation, won over a career spanning eight novels before this latest, is that of English fiction’s master story-teller … As a maker of richly imagined, and, yes, good, old-fashioned stories. A generator, above all else, of narrative energy … A gripping, well-paced narrative … His stories circle intelligently around fascinating themes … This is a novel made, insistently, from interpretations of individual pasts … and eminently skilful in its depiction of the way that all human pasts manage a strange trick: to be fixed and always out of reach, yet at the same time, somehow, always with us, and always changing … It’s a final few pages both page-turning and deft, leaving us with a moving feeling that it is our histories, and our ever-changing, private interpretations of them, that render us ultimately unknowable. Restless is that rare thing: a spy thriller from a first-rate narrative intelligence’ Tom Pilston, Independent on Sunday

‘Enjoyable … His evocation of the chaos of Europe and the apocalyptic fears of Britain in the very early 1940s is expertly done … This is all well-turned le Carré territory, and at times Restless appears to be written in homage to the master … Eva is a compelling figure’ Tim Adams, New Statesman

Restless does what all William Boyd’s novels do. It informs us a little about what humans are like … The stories dovetail seamlessly towards the end, thanks to Boyd’s narrative control … fascinating … Restless will not disappoint spy-fi fans … Restless is almost certainly coming to a cinema near you … Boyd, as a novelist who must make his own beloved characters speak and live convincingly, is hyper-aware of the fact that we do not truly know even our closest acquaintances. Restless illustrates this universal ignorance unflinchingly. But it also provides all the excitement and intrigue that one might expect from a spy novel. It is a noteworthy example of what can happen when literary novelists turn to genre fiction’ William Brett, Spectator

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