- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1230 KB
- Print Length: 449 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408830396
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (16 February 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408835932
- ISBN-13: 978-1408835937
- ASIN: B006X9QJNE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,753 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Waiting for Sunrise Kindle Edition
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
Vienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor in town seeking psychotherapy, is caught up in a feverish affair with a beautiful, enigmatic woman—until she goes to the police to press charges of rape. Only a frenzied getaway plotted by two mysterious British diplomats saves him from trial. But after Lysander returns to a London on the cusp of war, the traumatic ordeal haunts him at every turn. The men who coordinated his escape recruit him to carry out a brutal murder. His lover shows up at a party, ready to resume their liaison. Suddenly plunged into the dangerous theater of wartime intelligence—a murky world of sex, scandal, and spies—Lysander must unravel a secret that threatens Britain's safety.
Moving from Vienna to London's West End, from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a mesmerizing journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller, and a literary tour de force.
There are few more reliable literary pleasures than a Boyd novel. Over three decades he has established himself as one of Britain's most popular and highly regarded novelists ... He is a novelist who writes intelligent books about plausible and fully rounded characters, brimming with challenging ideas and themes. Above all, he is a storyteller nonpareil (Mick Brown Telegraph)
Boyd guides the reader with a master's hand. It's ages since I read a novel that offers such breathlessly readable narrative enjoyment, such page-by-page storytelling confidence and solidity. Waiting for Sunrise is a homage to thriller writers, spy novels and crime detection stories and films from a hundred years ago, stretching from Sherlock Holmes, via Buchan and Greene, to Hitchcock (Independent)
An intricately plotted world of spies, lies and the double cross ... a coming of age story about an individual's self enlightenment, as much as a sui generis thriller. Waiting for Sunrise proves that rarest of beasts: a tantalisingly experimental work that is also an immensely satisfying page turner (Sunday Telegraph)
Boyd's run of first-rate literary thrillers continues with this nerve-jangling First World War-era tale (Benjamin Evans Sunday Telegraph)
Boyd's sophisticated espionage thriller succeeds in capturing the eve-of-war atmosphere of 1913 Vienna (Observer)
Review this product
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Great characterisation and the images of Vienna in 1913 are beautifully drawn.
Top international reviews
The sex is quite awful. Even a biology teacher could inspire more lustful thoughts than these attempts.
The pace of the plot varies from stagnant to exciting, but the whole thing takes for ever to conclude. I may be over generous in giving this three stars, but I do so because I wish my prose was as silky as Boyd's.
Lysander's little problem is of course sexual, arising from an excruciatingly embarrassing (but very funny) episode in his youth. Encouraged by Dr Bensimon, he keeps a journal which forms part of the narrative, allowing the reader to see the world through his eyes. Coincidentally, it's at Dr Bensimon's office that he first meets Hettie, the woman who will firstly help cure his problem, and then be instrumental in creating the situation that later forces him into the world of spying. And coincidentally, the man who will be his spymaster also first meets Lysander in the doctor's waiting room. All of these coincidences, and the many others that follow, are hardly coincidental though. Even Lysander begins to wonder eventually why everyone he meets seems to be something other than they appear at first sight.
The book is about deception, self-deception and lies. And that deception extends to the reader too. There are elements of the plot that are almost farcical in their unlikeliness, and dark moments that are glossed over with such subtle humour that sometimes it takes a moment or two to decide just how seriously they should be taken. Looking at reviews of the book tells me some people have taken it completely seriously and are therefore complaining about credibility issues, especially with the ending. And they may be right. But my perception of the whole thing is that it's a frothy construct, a parallel to the truly dark stories of wartime espionage, something imagined to shape the world in the way that Lysander wants. Having learned from Dr Bensimon how to obliterate unpleasant truths from his mind, it seems to me that the book extends this idea – so, bad things happen but Lysander, and the reader, choose not to dwell on them. It feels as if a false memory is being created as the reader watches, and to a degree the reader has to agree to be complicit in its creation.
As always with Boyd, the writing is eminently readable – smooth, flowing, neither forced nor artificial, but with a lovely use of language. There is a lot about sex in the book, but it's not at all graphic or icky (yes, I still haven't got those scenes in Birdsong out of my head) – instead it takes the route of gentle mockery, highlighting the more ridiculous side of the act. Lysander is a great character, self-absorbed, self-deceiving, but fundamentally a good guy with a too-trusting nature and a kind of relaxed, go where the wind blows him attitude that makes him a pleasure to spend time with. Boyd is rarely laugh out loud funny, but I love the way he keeps a layer of gentle humour simmering beneath the surface, lightening the tone and keeping the reader slightly off-balance. He's one of those authors who can be off-form from time to time, but when he's on form, as he is in this one, there are few writers I enjoy more. Highly recommended.
Interesting story again and characters so unlike all his others..there is never a comparison to things in his other books..each one is unique. The only thing I picked up which didn't ring true was on page 253 Lysander met Mme Duchesne for an evening meal at the Brasserie des Bastions and they chose the menu du jour. Unless it was different in the war years, you are not offered a Menu du Jour in the evening. It is a choice at lunch times.
This is the first book by William Boyd I have read and the principle character Lysander Reif's early comment about not being familiar with Greek mythology made me realise that there was going to be something about his account of events that was to fully that could not be trusted. Set just prior to the commencement of the First world War, the book can be seen as part thriller, part puzzle and part chronicle of the changing social and cultural conditions brought about by the conflict.
The author has populated this novel with a multitude of damaged and eccentric characters all of whom seemed less than honest, I was hooked by this book from the very beginning. Roughly divided in to three sections concerning Vienna, Western Front / Switzerland and England, each successive part ends on a climax. The story becomes increasingly complicated and convoluted with the different protagonists all seemingly being less than honest as the novel progresses. The first section puts all the components of the complex plot in place and as Reif's fate starts to rest in the hands of a couple of handlers. Coupled with Dr, Bensimon's encouragement to access his theory of parallelism and our knowledge that Reif is an actor, Boyd cleverly constructs a plot whereby the principle character is possibly an unreliable witness and then make this even more compelling by ensuring that the accounts of the other characters are possibly no more reliable. By the time the third section is underway, all the characters seem to be connected with each other with the plot going in to over-drive to identify who is the source of all the leaks concerning the logistics of the next Allied offensive.
This is the first book by William Boyd I have read. What I liked about it was that it was well written and also extremely well constructed. The tension is ratcheted up as the plot reaches it's conclusion and whilst the novel does reach a resolution, Boyd has constructed this in such a fashion that it is by no means clear just how many of the deductions that lead to this are true. I think that the use of red herrings are a well used device in the writing of thrillers but Boyd's craftsmanship in building up layer upon later of conceit take this to such a level that the actual truths may , in fact, be in the minority and lost amongst the web of lies. Some elements of the story are not resolved (what was Munro's serious problem divulged by Munro, for example?) and I wasn't 100% convinced that the fruit of Rief and Hettie's liaison actually existed. That said, the actual components of the subterfuge do neatly resolve themselves with even insignificant elements described within the opening sections proving relevant.
In summary, if any book breaths fresh life into the spy novel it is this effort. This book was a real page-turner and I will definitely be reading more novels by this writer. Recommended.
Some of the characters such as his Uncle' and his 'friend' are neither interesting in themselves or even as potential red herrings
Many characters such as the various characters who are 'on our side are hard to distinguish from each other. also, i may have missed something but I do not understand fully what his Mother's motivation was
But, there are still scenes which show all the Boyd writing skill and there is an undeniable tension as to how it will all be resolved.
Perhaps I was reading it and expecting too much but at any level, I found it a rather tame and contrived spy story.
William Boyd is a brilliant story teller. He has a real knack of pulling you in, embroiling you in his world, and making you desperate to know what happens next. He also paints a brilliantly evocative picture of that world, so that you really do feel you're there. This time, it was the pivotal years immediately before the Great War in 1913 to 1915 when the war had fundamentally changed the world (or those parts of it involved) forever.
Lysander Rief (Boyd always has such brilliant names, Logan Mountstuart is still one of my favourites) an actor, and a bit of a dissolute one at that. He's in Vienna seeking a cure to a sexual problem when he gets caught up, like so many of Boyd's characters, in a chain of events that send him headlong into a series of 'adventures' just exactly as if he'd been in a film. Lysander copes remarkably well, partly because he's able to look at some of the worst episodes as if they weren't real, and despite some pretty horrific incidents (I will never look at a metal pot scrubber in the sae light again) you can't help but find him endearing. Boyd's lightness of touch, as always, makes it possible to laugh at the worst parts, and it's only later that the darkness of what you've just read hits you.
Similarly with Lysander. As the book progresses (and I daren't mention a single bit of the complex, intriguing, hilarious and fantastically-woven plot for fear of spoilers) Lysander grows up, acquires a layer of cynicism, and sees the war, not as a game any more, but as a vast, unstoppable force, a huge monster that no-one can control, that is almost amoral. I'm writing a story set in The Great War myself, and was much struck by this viewpoint - that there's no 'right' or 'wrong' side, there's just this all-consuming thing that has to be fed and fed and fed, until either there's nothing left to feed it (bodies, ammo, food, coffins) or it blows itself up.
In case I've not been clear, I LOVED this book. Loved it. Cannot recommend it highly enough, and if you've never read Boyd before, you are in for such a treat.
We see a glimpse into how Vienna might have felt immediately before the Great War, yet although that war features as a backdrop to the latter part of the book this is not one of those war novels where we see the clouds forming and are drawn into the full horrors of the war. It is a story of love, obsession and adventure from the view of one man. I have heard Boyd's style described as "Buchan meets le Carré" and a lot of that applies here, we have the fast paced adventure of Buchan and the murky world of intelligence like le Carré but the writing is deep than Buchan's and less dense than le Carré's. Unlike either author Boyd can convey a sense of place and the feelings of passion and sexual obsession to a much greater degree.
Other reviewers here have commented about the ending - it is not trite, it was not a "twist" in the plot but nor was it what I was expecting. I felt it was perfect for the character we have got to know through the story and if that requires the readers to bring their own intelligence to it all the better.
I did find some flaws in the book but they are minor - perhaps at times the characters and language felt just a little too modern for the period and perhaps a few of the adventure passages were a little too "Buchan" with too easy escapes from peril.
All in all though I definitely recommend this book.
It's eminently readable, and rolls along with a plot, but like so much of Boyd things are not what they seem.
The scenes are painted brilliantly - Vienna, Warsaw, Kent, London, the trenches - but all is not as it appears to be . There is an other-worldliness - a shift off centre like Ishigoro.
Characters are out of Dance to the Music of time interlaced with real life contemporaneous figures - or were they real ? Saying hello to Sigmund Freud in a cafe.
There are red herrings everywhere - as there should be in a spy story. There is a solution given at the end, but is that the solution ? The reader can create numerous other plausible scenarios.
Intricate and fascinating - one does not ever get bored reading it.
I was disappointed when I discovered Boyd would not be writing the next 007 novel. However, I am glad there are a lots of other books of his to look forward to.