William Boyd is a maddening writer, by turns brilliant and glib, glittery and prosaic. Settings are exotic, geographically and historically. Nothing is on the level, everybody is somehow abroad but nobody is innocent.
This is the case more than ever in Boyd’s second collection of short stories, an eclectic mix of high comedy and almost Gothic period pieces that has a curious, self-referential quality.
Here again is the quintessential Boyd narrator, lustful and lonely, upstaged by the richer and the handsomer and the limpidly unscrupulous. Here, too, happy-heavy German and Scandinavian girls and tawdry holiday spots. (Adding to a certain sense of déjà vu is the fact that one of the stories, ‘Alpes Maritimes’,