Report on The Page Turners Meeting - , Thursday, 3 October 2019

…’this audaciously unpredictable tale of passion and pianos in 1880s France and Russia is worthy of adulation’.., so says The Guardian about Love is Blind by William Boyd (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/sep/03/love-is-blind-william-boyd-review)

It’s a little unclear whether the adulation should be aimed at the book itself or the fact that in this fiction William Boyd is believed to have returned to his storytelling heights. There definitely was a story there, set against the heady fin de siècle creative arts. Music figured largely in the story, with details of piano tuning raising the could have been banal overview to some very interesting details that may cause you to appreciate piano music in a different light in future.

The “anything is possible“feeling associated (for those that could afford it) with the late 19th century was evident throughout the story. The shiny bits of history were there, as was the travelogue through Scotland, France, Russia and India. The details of walks, cafes, food and clothing were the highlights that gave the sense of place to Brody Moncur’s travels. I, personally, loved the descriptions of the development in dressing styles of the old Mr Channon.

However, back to the theme of the title of the book. Love can be blind certainly, and perhaps there might have been more of a story should the love between Brodie and Lika been explored rather more. One of our group found this relationship to be an ..’engaging  … poignant love story’, though the general references to love were irregular, hazily filtered sexual encounters, that from the word go, Brodie decided was love. The fin de siècle mist may have clouded his senses. Though the play on words introduced into his surname should have alerted the reader to the floaty nature of his passion.

It was an easy read that had some substance to it. But then, William Boyd is a crafted writer, so the substance should have been there. For me, I gave up before the end of the book, as I found the general meaningless of it all just defeated me. But, I was in the minority. This book was generally enjoyed by the majority of our group. I’m not sure if there was an overall recommendation that this book would be enjoyed by others, but based on the scores I received there probably was.

The average score was 7.5

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