Vienna. 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor, walks through the city to his first appointment with the eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Bensimon. He is sitting anxiously in the waiting room when an extraordinary woman enters....
Moving from Vienna to London's West End, the battlefields of France, and hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a feverish and mesmerising journey into the human psyche, and a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe.
©2012 William Boyd (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
Too complicated. Too unclear. It is pretty meaningless to say that life is totally subjective.
Narration by Roger May fine.
The print edition is better but not by much. With a more accomplished narrator it would be comparable.
The central character, who is flawed, humane and very easy to empathise with.
High pitched voice, lacked the gravitas to read the autobiographical sections as the theatrical Lysander. Otherwise a bland, effete British voice.
Read the book
A man's got to do what a man's got to do..
The story develops in many European cities just before world war 1. Initially the characters are well shaped , the atmosphere captivating and the plot intriguing . Boyd writes with a confident and fluent style which makes the reading very enjoyable...However as the story progresses the plot becomes shaky (and frankly less credible) and Boyd seems uncertain as to how wrap it up . The end of the journey is somewhat disappointing , particularly because the first half of the book is so engaging..
All in all enjoyable (i.e. good,but not great)
"Writer or Reader?"
I got this book as part of my subscription. I have two books per month and, with a small stockpile behind me, decided it was time for another William Boyd. I enjoyed Restless immensely, so felt happy about this.
I enjoyed this so much, I am about to buy the book itself. The way the whole story is built, measured, parcelled, and then delivered, is beyond me. If ever I needed convincing that I could never be a writer, this book was the thing that did it.
I have to say though. that I am not totally sure who should have the most credit. The writer, or the reader. I have not heard Roger May before, but he is/was simply magnificient. He just brought the book to real life. So, William Boyd, Roger May, I salute you both. This was just Wonderful.
Much of the publicity for this novel centred around the fact that events take place in Freud's Vienna but in fact this only accounts for the first section after which the plot heads into Graham Greene, John le Carre territory. It consequently wasn't what I had expected, but I did enjoy it and thought the writer could stand comparison with these two masters of the spy genre. He creates a central character who is also a professional actor, and this talent enables him to get out of a couple of sticky situations. I don't think this has been done before: the spy who can also act.The author might consider a series of novels about this character as it's a good trick. A sort of 007 who takes on a different persona as his mission requires.
I digress, this is a really good writer, cleverly changing pace and the order of events in a pleasingly non-linear way. The psychoanalytic section gives the main character real depth as we saw him in a completely unguarded state visiting events from his childhood. The plot becomes quite complex but I think I understood it, and the denouement is thrilling and again stands comparison with Le Carre.
Loved previous Boyd novels but wasn't totally taken with this one at first - listened at bedtime & kept nodding off so the plot became somewhat obscure. Plus the emphasis on psyche in publisher's blurb is misleading. BUT then I got curious, then I got engaged & then I listened to it again from start and it hooked me. Reader doesn't represent women characters well, as previous review said, and II didn't feel they were well written either so that's an issue but I will be listening again to this sometime in the future and that signifies a good book in my estimation.
Could not put this down, and, having finished it, fired up the computer to write an enthusiastic review (not usually inclined this way). Alas, disappointed to find others have beaten me to it, and more than aptly described my views on the book, its author, and the narrator.
Agree with the sentiment that the lead character Lysander Reif is worth another outing, but one of William Boyd's strengths (for me anyway) is his variety of characters and plot-lines.
I for one cannot wait for Mssrs Boyd and Mays future collaboration.
"Boyd at his emthralling and thought-provoking best"
A fully engaging and wide-ranging journey of the central charachter through personal relations, espionage, psychotherapy, war and acting. It leaves you reflecting on the nature of reality in the light of issues of truth, deception and self-deception. Above all, it is a cracking good story and well read .
"Did we listen to the same book?"
After listening to Simon Mawer's 'The Girl Who Fell from the Sky', I was really looking forward to something in the same vein to listen to on my long commute each day. I read the good reviews on audible, and the more mixed reviews on amazon, and was looking forward to it. I suffered through the first half, feeling quite cheated as the pace was so slow, and the reader unfortunately made all the women sound like simpering idiots. Then the second half picked up the pace, and I kept waiting for the big finish, only to be very disappointed that it ended not with a bang but a whimper. I will not be listening to another William Boyd book, I'm afraid, though this book might be better in print form. Maybe I missed something - like 13 hours of my life.
"An actor and a spy one complimenting the other"
Really enjoyed this story from William Boyd. I have read others from him and he never disappoints. I enjoyed the character of Lysander Reif (what a name) and the characters he came into contact with. Dr Bensimom as a student of Dr Freud assisted Lysander with his erectile disfunction and in fact the great Doctor made an appearance in the novel! I was interested in the character of Blanche but to be honest I found Hattie Bull very bullish and annoying. I guess Mr Boyd chose the correct name for her!
I enjoyed the spy elements to the story and found the ending a bit odd to be honest and wonder if we will get more of Lysander in the future.
I felt the narration was very good and suited the story and will of course be reading more from William Boyd in the future.
"Takes gloriously unexpected twists and turns"
The book starts with what appears to be a love story but then changes into a spy story which leaves the reader guessing until well beyond the end of the book. Well narrated with convincing foreign and regional accents, and beautifully written, I can heartily recommend this book as an absorbing escape from life.
Marvellous sense of time and place, captured the era for me, but, yes, the BUT. I will make this review for Audible listeners not a literary review; it becomes tedious, I found myself pausing it, no rush to resume, i dragged it out, 'cos it was OK, when it finally ended, plot holes and tedium were my final feeling, coupled with relief. 3 stars may have been generous.
"OK but not his best"
I won't give away the story. It follows the life of an actor in Vienna in 1913 and then some espionage he gets involved in during the war. It is a curious mix of prewar Vienna, upper class English life, psychoanalysis, love and adventure. I found the story reasonably well told and enjoyable to read but, as a fan of William Boyd, I was slightly disappointed. I didn't find anything wrong with it, it just wasn't especially good. I thought Restless was better, in a similar theme. I also preferred Armadillo, Any Human Heart, New Confessions and, best of all, Ice Cream War. I would recommend any of those in preference to this, though it does seem to be a matter of taste.
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