A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs - seeking only stolen kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery.
The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-of-nerve that wickedly complicate it. These funny, surprising and moving stories are a resounding confirmation of Boyd's powers as one of our most original and compelling storytellers.
William Boyd was born in 1952 in Accra, Ghana, and grew up there and in Nigeria. His first novel, A Good Man in Africa (1981), won the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize. His other bestselling novels include Any Human Heart, Restless and Sweet Caress. He is married and divides his time between London and south-west France.
Smart, funny and compelling The Times Books of the Year Boyd has always been eloquent, his narratives memorably stylish Literary Review These stories, by one of Britain's most compelling authors about how the post is inescapable - from random encounters to impulsive acts - is funny and surprising Elle Quite brilliant. There has been no decline in the wit, the style, the precise observation The Tablet Boyd delights in themes of deceit and getting one over on the competition...such finely-honed prose Evening Standard He is a skilled and humorous storyteller, and his pleasure in exploring life's uncertainties is apparent i William Boyd is arguably one of Britain's finest living writers...compelling and highly entertaining Sunday Express What Boyd does so mesmerisingly...is make the insignificant utterly significant...you are confronted by the full force of Boyd's undeniable talent for storytelling, as he inventively plays with time and form, and infuses his prose with themes of lust, love and emotional incompetence Stylist Enjoyably spot-on Sunday Times Spiky, sparking and simply brilliant Sunday Mirror Varied, entertaining Daily Mail A riveting short story collection from one of the best Woman & Home No one charts the highs and lows of the human condition like Boyd Red Boyd is dependably a master of what's most true: an always elegant realist whose characters will get under your skin GQ Highly entertaining Mail on Sunday In a 2008 essay, Boyd explained that writing short stories gives him a welcome chance "to change habits, to experiment, to take risks, to try out different voices". And in the best stories here, it's a chance he takes full advantage of, serving up an impressive variety of settings and protagonists Daily Telegraph Unfailingly amusing and clever Guardian The stories, as is often the case with Boyd, are packed with characters whose lives are upended by random upheavals Sunday Times Clever and, yes, cinematic Observer Like stealing badges, like shucking oysters, once you have one of these stories you can't stop. Lights out was after midnight Times Boyd shows why he's so often compared to Graham Greene.... brilliant and bewitching collection of stories Financial Times
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