Monday, October 15, 2012
Review of Restless by William Boyd (Bloomsbury, 2006)
Restless is told in chapters that alternate in time between 1976 and the war. Whilst I found the more recent narrative to be well written and interesting, it is the war time tale that sparkles - Boyd wonderfully evokes Eva’s journey and the politics, intrigue, spy craft and danger of being a spy for a country at war. Unfortunately the switching thus had the effect of breaking up Eva’s story with more mundane interludes that a love-sick Iran engineer/activist, suspect German guests, and Ruth’s investigation fail to enliven to the same intensity and vividness of the war years. At one level then, this is a very good read, with engaging prose, strong characterization, and a well constructed plot; at another, it is a little uneven varying between good and outstanding, though Boyd does an excellent job of weaving the two strands together in the final part of the book with a satisfying resolution that has a nice twist.