Pamela Norris

Camera Obscura

Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay

By

Bloomsbury 464pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

William Boyd’s novel Restless, winner of the 2006 Costa Novel Award, describes the adventures of Eva, a young Russian émigrée, who is recruited for the British Secret Service during the Second World War. A gripping account of female resourcefulness, the story is told through a memoir that Eva writes for her daughter. In his latest novel, Sweet Caress, Boyd returns to the theme of a woman undertaking a traditionally male role. Once again, the novel moves back and forth between the present and the past as its heroine, Amory Clay, alone on a remote Scottish island and writing in her 70th year, recalls the events of her life. As in Restless, the novel balances the twin themes of love and work.

Amory is a photographer, one of relatively few women who became actively involved in reportage during the Second World War. This is fertile territory, recalling the derring-do of such real-life heroines

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The breadth of Clarke’s knowledge and experience, coupled to a conspicuous absence of pomposity, makes for easy an… ,
    • In this month's Silenced Voices, Lucy Popescu shines a light on Myanmar's persecution of writers and journalists, p… ,
    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,