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A new collection of stories by the internationally acclaimed author of Any Human Heart (“the finest storyteller of his generation” –Chicago Tribune).
In “Notebook No. 9,” a film director’s journal becomes an unintentional record of his obsessive love for his leading lady and the slow destruction of their relationship.
In “Beulah Berlin, an A–Z,” a performance artist, longing for stability and order, reveals the details of her chaotic life through her comments on such varied subjects as angst, hay fever, photography, baby names, sonnets, and tobacco.
In “Fantasia on a Favorite Waltz,” a prostitute finds an unexpected friend in a young man who plays piano in a brothel.
In “Adult Video,” we see a man’s life in film format—rewinding to his years as a struggling student at Oxford, fast-forwarding to his dreams of success as a writer, and watching the present unfold as he proposes to his future wife for all the wrong reasons.
Exploring the ways a life can be dominated by a need for love and the torments that arise when love is misplaced or denied, these stories confirm William Boyd’s reputation as a master of the art.
“The stories are perfect…Suffused with an understanding of love, desire, and emotional incompetence.” —M. John Harrison, the Guardian
“A virtuoso range of techniques, Boyd shows here just what he is capable of…The resonance and impact of past events on present lives, and a sense of yearning for love or completion, permeate these perfectly formed snapshots of life at its most mystifying.” —Ross Gilfillan, The Daily Mail
“Boyd’s remarkable, and almost wholly consistent, gift is to convince us of the roundness, the existence of his characters from the very first sentence.” —Erica Wagner, The Times
“Short stories by William Boyd are an occasional treat…For those who enjoy what might loosely be called canapé fiction—delicious little morsels that whet the appetite but never sate it—Fascination is a must-read book. Every one of the 16 stories has the patina of craftsmanship…The writing transcends cleverness…An impressively sophisticated offering from a writer whose charms never wane.” —David Robson, The Sunday Telegraph
“Sly and consistently entertaining…Boyd uses the artistic methods of the cinematographer…but he twists them to his own ends…This collection demonstrates Boyd’s versatility as well as his virtuosity. He is as much at home writing about nineteenth-century Vienna as he is twentieth century Cape Cod.” —Sebastian Shakespeare, Literary Review
"A masterwork. . . . [Boyd is] one of the finest authors of our time." —Forth Worth Star-Telegram
“Brilliant. . . . Burns with the kind of artistry that turns a piece of short fiction into a work of imagination that expands beyond the boundaries of the page. . . [Boyd’s] breadth and depth and control are simply breathtaking.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Lovely. . . . Elegant. . . . [These stories] deal not simply with art vs. life but with the terrible demands that art makes upon the artist.” —The Washington Post
"Deeply moving. . . . The insights arrived at in Boyd's stories are experienced rather than merely witnessed. They strike us deep, and they stick." —The Boston Globe