Love is Blind
Love is Blind is William Boyd's sweeping, heart-stopping new novel. Set at the end of the 19th century, it follows the fortunes of Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician, about to embark on the story of his life. When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future - and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano, Lika Blum. Moving from Paris to St Petersburg to Edinburgh and back again, Brodie's love for Lika and its dangerous consequences pursue him around Europe and beyond, during an era of overwhelming change as the nineteenth century becomes the twentieth.Love is Blind is a tale of dizzying passion and brutal revenge; of artistic endeavour and the illusions it creates; of all the possibilities that life can offer, and how cruelly they can be snatched away. At once an intimate portrait of one man's life and an expansive exploration of the beginning of the twentieth century, Love is Blind is a masterly new novel from one of Britain's best loved storytellers.

Love is Blind Details

TitleLove is Blind
Author
ReleaseSep 20th, 2018
PublisherViking
ISBN-139780241295939
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Cultural, Scotland, France

Love is Blind Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This has all the inimitable style and qualities of an epic character driven William Boyd novel, of love, passion, obsession and music within a historical period presaging the great changes in the world at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a beautifully written and structured story of the life of the young Scottish Brodie Moncur, afflicted with health issues, employed at the Channon Piano Company in Edinburgh, when he is offered the opportunity to work in their Paris outlet which he ferv This has all the inimitable style and qualities of an epic character driven William Boyd novel, of love, passion, obsession and music within a historical period presaging the great changes in the world at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a beautifully written and structured story of the life of the young Scottish Brodie Moncur, afflicted with health issues, employed at the Channon Piano Company in Edinburgh, when he is offered the opportunity to work in their Paris outlet which he fervently grasps with both hands. It means that he can escape the clutches of his unbearably grotesque, hypocrital and bullying preacher father, Malky. The source of the rancour that Malky directs towards his son is not made clear. This is a tale that features numerous locations including Europe, Russia and the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, taking in music, love, betrayal, revenge, and secrets with its wide cast of characters.Brodie is a gifted piano tuner, and Boyd goes into some depth to give us detailed insights of all that this involves. The ambitious and energetic Brodie is inspired to move the business in innovative and risky new directions, despite obstacles, in his efforts to increase sales when he brings in the talented pianist, John Kilbarron, 'The Irish Liszt'. Kilbarron's amour is the beautifully arresting Russian opera singer, Lika Blum, a woman Brodie falls for hook, line and sinker, a passion that will have devastating repercussions on his future. Malachi, Kilbarron's brother and business manager is a particularly brutal and malign presence. Boyd delineates Brodie's relationship through the years, his travels, the dangers, a man that gambles with his own system. Boyd presents us with a chaotic and challenging life conjured by the blindness of love in all its aspects and how it shapes up to be infinitely testing of the human heart. This is a fabulously immersive read, set in turbulent times for the world, a turbulence that is mirrored in the gripping and compelling Brodie's life with the enigmatic Lika. A particular highlight for me was Boyd's skill in making the era come alive with his rich vibrant descriptions. An emotionally affecting and memorable book. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Penguin UK for an ARC.
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  • Andrew Smith
    January 1, 1970
    William Boyd writes books you can get lost in. In Any Human Heart and The New Confessions so rich is his mix of fact and fiction that he almost convinced me he was writing about the life of a real people. He wasn't of course, but I became so immersed in the lives of Logan Mountstuart and John James Todd that I really found it hard to accept I was reading a piece if fiction. I’d lived the life of these characters and at the end of both books I experienced a tearful moment when I reached the final William Boyd writes books you can get lost in. In Any Human Heart and The New Confessions so rich is his mix of fact and fiction that he almost convinced me he was writing about the life of a real people. He wasn't of course, but I became so immersed in the lives of Logan Mountstuart and John James Todd that I really found it hard to accept I was reading a piece if fiction. I’d lived the life of these characters and at the end of both books I experienced a tearful moment when I reached the final page. Here he manages to do it again, this time we are introduced to a piano tuner named Brodie Moncur. We’re close to the end of the 19th century and Brodie is 24 years old. He works for the Channon Piano Company at their Edinburgh showroom and we follow him through the ups and down of his working life, track his physical health, meet his large family and travel as far and wide as France, Switzerland, Russia and the little known Andaman Islands (in the Bay of Bengal if you're wondering). But most of all we get to share his obsession with a Russian opera singer called Lika. I’ll warn you in advance, it’s an emotional journey.It's soon recognised that Brodie possesses an energy and an entrepreneurial spirit that would serve the company well in helping grow its new shop in Paris and he is dispatched forthwith. But before he goes, he returns to the small rural town in which he grew up to visit his family. His father is the local clergyman – and a real Hellfire preacher he is, too – and he demonstrates an unexplained animus towards Brodie. After a testing couple of days spent with his large family he’s glad to make his escape. Once in Paris he meets resistance from the shop manager, the son of the company owner, but he manages to push through a number of his ideas which includes the recruitment of a top piano player to publicise their brand. It will cost money and it's a bit of a gamble, but Brodie is convinced it’ll bring significant dividends. It's at this point that John Kilbarron (the ‘Irish Listz’) enters the picture… together with his lover, Lika.Boyd brilliantly brings the whole thing to life with his rich descriptions of time and place and razor sharp dialogue. Each character is vividly described – none more so than Kilbarron’s sinister brother, Malachi - and even the minor figures seem to be original and interesting. And there are sufficient historical references and instances of casual name dropping to make the whole thing feel real.As the book progresses the tension level fluctuates. There is one brilliant set piece I won't go into, but it’s so well done I sure my eyes were bulging out of my head as I read it. If you get to read this book you’ll know this event when you reach it. But if I have a bone to pick it’s that the dance between Brodie and the Kilbarron brothers does seem to go on a little too long and, in fact, there are a few sections that did feel unnecessarily protracted. It all comes out in the wash though and by the end I was feeling that my investment in wading through the slower sections had paid off. By this point I really did have the feeling that I fully understood Brodie – I was virtually living inside his head – I believed that I was tuned into his line of thought and fully understood his (sometimes drastic) actions. I didn't know how was all going to play out but I really wanted some closure, some happiness for Brodie. And did I shed a tear when I reached the end? Yes, I'm afraid I did. Another superb offering form this brilliantly gifted writer, who I've admired for some years. I've now read a dozen or so of his books and I'm blown away by his inventiveness, the diversity of his stories and above all the way in which, in his best work, he invites the reader to become a part of the story – to become, in fact, the lead character and to experience their life as if it were your own. Quite a trick that. My sincere thanks to Penguin Books UK and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    So that was Lydia Blum... He felt his sphincter loosen and the bubble of air expand to fill his lungs... Brodie felt now as if his innards were molten - as if he might melt in a puddle of sizzling magma on the floor Well, there are ways to write about physical love, lust and desire but this isn't it - for me, at any rate. Boyd's prose is no more than workmanlike in this book which manages to be both bogged down in detail (why do we need to know precisely which brand of cigarettes each character So that was Lydia Blum... He felt his sphincter loosen and the bubble of air expand to fill his lungs... Brodie felt now as if his innards were molten - as if he might melt in a puddle of sizzling magma on the floor Well, there are ways to write about physical love, lust and desire but this isn't it - for me, at any rate. Boyd's prose is no more than workmanlike in this book which manages to be both bogged down in detail (why do we need to know precisely which brand of cigarettes each character smokes? Oh yes, because Boyd researched them) and simultaneously skim the surface when it comes to the personal relationships supposedly at the heart of this book. I never felt, either, that these were people who had grown up in the Victorian period or late nineteenth century - the way they think, speak and act feels utterly contemporary. The musical backdrop is done well but everything else felt overdramatic, almost operatic, but without the fantasy element that opera uses to, paradoxically, make us 'believe':(view spoiler)[for example, we learn quite early in the book that Brodie has the conventional lung disease that causes the sentimental early deaths of all those operatic women like Mimi and Violetta; while Lika carries a little pistol given to her by her lover so that she can't be ravished by any other admirers (hide spoiler)]. To me this feels overly simple and simplistic in writing and imaginative vision. There are lots of female breasts (lots) and quite a lot of masturbation (not explicit) all of which render sex as a transaction rather than something more emotional, no matter how many times Brodie swears his undying (ha!) love to Lika: 'Brodie kept a running calculation: from September 1898 to May 1899 - no sexual congress with Lika... masturbation was only the briefest consolation.' On the plus side, there's quite a lot of story here as the tale sweeps from Edinburgh to Paris to St Petersburg and then swoops off to the Andaman Islands. Personally, I found the whole thing rather thin and uninvolving - as an evocation of erotic love, I didn't believe this for a second.Thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley
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  • Paul Fulcher
    January 1, 1970
    "'You could say,’ Vere mused, ‘that, looking at it from one angle, you’re having an amazing Russian literary experience.’"In the TLS's recent Booker 50th anniversary edition, various past winners were asked about underrated authors that should have featured more in the prize's reckoning. Thomas Keneally suggested: "William Boyd is a consistently pleasing and illuminating writer. He made it onto the Booker shortlist once with An Ice-Cream War, and – to be honest – should have won it."(https://the "'You could say,’ Vere mused, ‘that, looking at it from one angle, you’re having an amazing Russian literary experience.’"In the TLS's recent Booker 50th anniversary edition, various past winners were asked about underrated authors that should have featured more in the prize's reckoning. Thomas Keneally suggested: "William Boyd is a consistently pleasing and illuminating writer. He made it onto the Booker shortlist once with An Ice-Cream War, and – to be honest – should have won it."(https://the-tls.co.uk/articles/public...)This commendation drew me to Boyd's new novel, Love is Blind, but I would be very surprised if it caused this year's panel to tary long in their deliberations.It's a straightforward (overly so) historical romance, set around the turn of the 19th Century around Europe, particularly in Scotland, Russia, Paris and the French coast (Nice, Biarritz).In the late 1890s, Brodie Moncur is an expert piano tuner, working for a Edinburgh based piano manufacturer, and when the chance arises for him to move to Paris to try to reinvigorate their showroom there he grasps it with both hands. There he meets and forms a business venture with John Kilbarron–“The Irish Liszt” - a brilliant pianist but with fading powers, but their professional relationship is soured as Brodie falls in love with Kilbarron's muse, the soprano Lika Brum. As the novel progresses, Moncur travels across Europe, finding work wherever he goes, following Lika, and pursued in turn by Kilbarron's vengeful brother and business manager, Malachi."Not for the first time he gave thanks to the universal nature of his profession. Wherever there were pianos he could find work, one way or another."Boyd's descriptive prose is his strong point, conjuring up the sights and sounds of the places and time:"The dog cart clip-clopped through the village and led them past the church, St Mungo’s, still looking new – pure Gothic Revival with flying buttresses, finials wherever a finial could be placed and a tall bell tower with no steeple. Its rowan- and yew-dotted cemetery was crowded with ancient graves, former parishioners, the late, good folk of the Liethen Valley. Then they turned into the gravelled carriage drive of the manse, set in a wide dark garden filled with ornamental conifers – monkey puzzles, larches and cedars – and beech trees. Beeches grew well in the Liethen Valley soil."And he - via Lika's observation - particularly effectively compares the Scottish highlands to the Russian steppe:"I feel I could be travelling through a Russian village, so isolated, you know? The mood , the landscape. These small , low houses. The poverty. It’s different, of course, but somehow it makes me feel back home."But Boyd is rather less successful conveying the historical background to the era, which is simply dropped in as lists of background events whenever Brodie picks up a newspaper:"He read about the continuing animosities of the Dreyfus Affair, the celebrations being organized around Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the economic tribulations facing President McKinley , and a review of a shocking new novel called Dracula."And the plot itself, while a reasonable page turner, was a little overwrought and contrived for my literary taste.A couple of particular bugbears for me in the book - although in each case one hopes the author was aware even if the characters aren't.First, at one key point, Brodie's tyrannical father, Malky Moncur, a famously impassioned, if rather hypocritical, preacher, bases a sermon on an Apocryphal text to indirectly condemn his son: but the verses quoted bear no resemblance to any version of Baruch 6 I have seen (did Malky simply invent them? or Boyd?)"Regulars turned the pages of their Bibles looking for the verses that Malky had chosen as his text for his sermon. It was, Brodie saw, very obscure, even for Malky. From the Apocrypha, the Book of Baruch, chapter six , verses ten to twelve. He could see people vainly flicking through their Bibles, searching for it....‘Now, whereof Nerias knew that his son Sedacius was caught in the snares of harlots and indeed had lusted after his brother’s wife, Ruth, and his brother’s daughter, Esther, and showed no remorse, yet Nerias suffered his son to live in his own house, yea, and fed him and his servants also. For Nerias, the Levite, was a righteous man. And the people saw the wisdom of the righteous man and Sedacius was spurned by the Levites, they spake not of him. There was a void, thereof. He was forgotten as a cloud melted by the force of the noonday sun, as smoke dispersed by a breeze. He was shadowless, a nothing, less than a mote of dust.’"The second bothered me more. As Brodie and Lika travel around, the novel tells us "between them, they made a modest living, supplemented by their nights gambling with the martingale system in Biarritz’s casino."Brodie describes his 'foolproof' system:"I only played roulette – you know what a hopeless gambler I am. I played a simple martingale system: doubling my stake (2 fr) when I lost and pocketing my winnings when I won. You only bet on 2 to 1 odds. Red or black, odd or even. By the law of averages you will win at some stage. The only strange thing – if you double your stake each time you lose – is that sometimes you can be betting 40 francs to win 2 – so you need a substantial float."Except of course this system is based on a mathematical fallacy. Even if the chances of winning were genuinely 2-to-1 (in practice, roulette is biased to the house) the expected winnings are zero. The last sentence highlights why - you don't just need a 'substantial float', you need an infinite one (and a casino prepared to extend you infinite credit lines). Sooner or later, the gambler will lose his entire float, the losses from which will balance out the modest winnings. I assumed that the flaw in the system would ultimately form a key plot point - but when it didn't it caused me to wonder if the author saw the flaw.Overall, a pleasant but not particularly stimulating read. 3 stars less one for the dubious scriptural and mathematical references.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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  • Sid Nuncius
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed parts of Love Is Blind, but I found a good deal of it dull and I’m not sure that it added up to much in the end.The book follows Brodie Moncur from his early working life in the late 19th Century as a talented piano-tuner in Edinburgh as his work and his health needs take him to various places in France, Russia and beyond. He develops an obsessive love for a Russian singer and this is both the driver of the book’s events and the main subject of William Boyd’s interest. For the first th I enjoyed parts of Love Is Blind, but I found a good deal of it dull and I’m not sure that it added up to much in the end.The book follows Brodie Moncur from his early working life in the late 19th Century as a talented piano-tuner in Edinburgh as his work and his health needs take him to various places in France, Russia and beyond. He develops an obsessive love for a Russian singer and this is both the driver of the book’s events and the main subject of William Boyd’s interest. For the first third or so of the book I was carried along by Boyd’s easy prose and the interest which, slightly surprisingly, I found in the details of Brodie technical work on pianos. The trouble is, I wasn’t very convinced by Brodie’s passion and found that I was more interested in his piano-tuning than the state of his heart. I got no real sense of obsession and I also found it completely un-erotic, despite some fairly graphic descriptions. This is not a good combination in a tale of overmastering passion and as the story moved from place to place I kept thinking, "OK, you're somewhere else now and you're still in love with her. And…?” I wasn’t drawn in by the period setting, either. The language isn’t always convincing and there are some rather clunky references to contemporary events and so on.Things picked up a little in the later part of the book with some more dramatic developments and sense of threat, but it still wasn’t all that involving. It wasn’t helped by a somewhat melodramatic feel and in the end I was quite glad to finish the book, whose emotional climax didn’t affect me in the slightest, I’m afraid, because it felt contrived and overdone. Love Is Blind is by no means terrible, but it certainly isn’t one of Boyd’s best and I can only give it a very lukewarm recommendation.(My thanks to Penguin for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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  • SueKich
    January 1, 1970
    Boyd’s vision.William Boyd writes a story of love and great passion set at the turn of the last century. Brodie Moncur, son of an overbearing patriarchal clergyman, has a particularly musical ear. His work as a highly skilled piano tuner takes him to Paris and beyond, fine-tuning the instruments of the great concert pianists of their day. On one such occasion, he meets Russian opera singer Lika Blum, mistress of a now-fading Irish pianist, and falls madly in love with her. Their affair must be c Boyd’s vision.William Boyd writes a story of love and great passion set at the turn of the last century. Brodie Moncur, son of an overbearing patriarchal clergyman, has a particularly musical ear. His work as a highly skilled piano tuner takes him to Paris and beyond, fine-tuning the instruments of the great concert pianists of their day. On one such occasion, he meets Russian opera singer Lika Blum, mistress of a now-fading Irish pianist, and falls madly in love with her. Their affair must be conducted in secret.Boyd is a natural storyteller who conjures up whole other worlds in which his readers can thoroughly immerse themselves. And this is no exception. One might assume the work of a piano tuner to be a dry subject but in Boyd’s hands it becomes fascinating. And as he describes these procedures of “elaborate precision”, it strikes me that this is what he gives his readers: precisely crafted novels of intricate complexity.In Brodie Moncur, he has created a sympathetic and likeable hero, although Lika, his great love, is less convincing. (One never quite gets a handle on her but this may well be the author’s intention.) The relationship between Brodie and his father, the “domestic potentate”, is one of the more intriguing aspects of this book and I would have liked to see this more fully explored. Just why does Malky Moncur resent his son so? All in all, this is a highly enjoyable and diverting read that takes in Edinburgh and Paris, Nice and St Petersburg, dampers and hammer-heads, jealousy and plagiarism, contemporary complaints and human conundrums. My grateful thanks to Viking for the ARC.
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  • Candace
    January 1, 1970
    Brodie Moncur is a piano tuner in Edinburgh which sounds like a pretty low-key profession, but in the hands of William Boyd certainly is not. It's the last decade of the 19th century when Brodie has the opportunity to move to his employer's new Paris showroom and help establish the brand on the Continent. Brodie is an artist, not only musically, but also as a tuner. He knows how to shave and balance the hammers so that a piano has just the touch the pianist needs. This gift is what brings John K Brodie Moncur is a piano tuner in Edinburgh which sounds like a pretty low-key profession, but in the hands of William Boyd certainly is not. It's the last decade of the 19th century when Brodie has the opportunity to move to his employer's new Paris showroom and help establish the brand on the Continent. Brodie is an artist, not only musically, but also as a tuner. He knows how to shave and balance the hammers so that a piano has just the touch the pianist needs. This gift is what brings John Kilbarron--"The Irish Lizst"--into the fold as a representative of Brodie's piano company. They travel across Europe and Russia, travels made prickly by transporting a grand piano hither and yon, and by Brodie's growing obsession with Kilbarron's lover, a Russian soprano named Lika Blum. ""Love is Blind" has many of the classic Boyd features; the silvery, unattainable woman, a wavering, flawed man with a special talent. As in the best of Boyd's novels, you are immediately immersed in the time and place, familiar, yet quirky and unexpected. There's an aspect of his writing that will tickle you in a subversive way. My favorite of his novels is "The New Confessions" and the thrillers are masterful as well. It's such a joy to read his latest, and continue to experience him as a writer at his best.
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  • Rob Twinem
    January 1, 1970
    Love is Blind by William Boyd is a truly memorable story with wonderful characterization. His colourful writing instantly transports the reader to Scotland at the end of the nineteenth century and continues the journey through mainland Europe at a time of great change and gathering turmoil in the years immediately preceding the 1st World War.Brodie Moncur is a piano tuner in the employ of Channons of Edinburgh and when the opportunity is offered to manage the Paris store he readily agrees. Brodi Love is Blind by William Boyd is a truly memorable story with wonderful characterization. His colourful writing instantly transports the reader to Scotland at the end of the nineteenth century and continues the journey through mainland Europe at a time of great change and gathering turmoil in the years immediately preceding the 1st World War.Brodie Moncur is a piano tuner in the employ of Channons of Edinburgh and when the opportunity is offered to manage the Paris store he readily agrees. Brodie is an ambitious and proactive manager and believes that the best way to expand and promote the "Channon" brand is to employ the services of piano virtuoso John Kilbarron thus advancing the Company's pianos throughout Europe. This association leads to a fateful meeting between Brodie and the beautiful alluring Russian singer Lydia Blum, Kilbarrons on off girlfriend. A passionate clandestine affair develops that results in Brodie and Lydia fleeing from city to city hotly pursued by Malachi Kilbarron seeking revenge for his wronged brother.I often think that the mark of a good story is the author's ability to take me the reader with him on a journey of discovery, to remove from the mundanity of modern living and surround me with the smells, sounds and excitement of the animated world he is describing. We therefore enter the preserve of piano virtuoso's at a time in history when piano use and production was at its highest and live performances although the privilege of the wealthy still attracted a mass following. Welcome to a place where the combustion engine has made an entrance, where consumption has destroyed the lives of young and old, and when true gentlemen resolved their differences by resorting to a dueling contest.An exciting story brilliantly executed by one of England's greatest living authors..Many thanks to the good people at netgalley for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review, and that is what I have written. Highly Recommended
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  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    Penguin Books (UK)Description: Set at the end of the 19th century, it follows the fortunes of Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician, about to embark on the story of his life.When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future - and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano Penguin Books (UK)Description: Set at the end of the 19th century, it follows the fortunes of Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician, about to embark on the story of his life.When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future - and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano, Lika Blum. Moving from Paris to St Petersburg to Edinburgh and back again, Brodie's love for Lika and its dangerous consequences pursue him around Europe and beyond, during an era of overwhelming change as the nineteenth century becomes the twentieth.Love is Blind is a tale of dizzying passion and brutal revenge; of artistic endeavour and the illusions it creates; of all the possibilities that life can offer, and how cruelly they can be snatched away. At once an intimate portrait of one man's life and an expansive exploration of the beginning of the twentieth century, Love is Blind is a masterly new novel from one of Britain's best loved storytellers.The prologue is a letter from: Port BlairAndaman IslandsIndian Empire11 March 1906Dear Amelia,[...]In the meantime, with my love as always, your sister, Page Part One opens in Edinburgh 1894, and Brodie Moncur is looking out through the windows of Channon & Co, over the bustle and dreck of daytime George Street.I make no secret of my appreciation of this author.5* Any Human Heart 5* Sweet Caress 4* Ordinary Thunderstorms 4* Restless4* Brazzaville Beach4* Love is Blind3* A Haunting3* Armadillo 2* SoloWL The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth WL Bamboo: Essays and Criticism TR Waiting for SunriseTR The New Confessions
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  • Michael Cayley
    January 1, 1970
    An engrossing novel by one of the best living novelists.It is the tale of a Scottish piano-tuner, Brodie Moncur, son of a brutal alcoholic church minister, who is sent by his employer to Paris, where he meets the love of his life, a Russian singer living with a virtuoso Irish pianist, John Kilbarron. As Brodie’s life takes him on to Russia, other parts of France, elsewhere in Europe and finally the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean, we see the role that chance plays in it and the d An engrossing novel by one of the best living novelists.It is the tale of a Scottish piano-tuner, Brodie Moncur, son of a brutal alcoholic church minister, who is sent by his employer to Paris, where he meets the love of his life, a Russian singer living with a virtuoso Irish pianist, John Kilbarron. As Brodie’s life takes him on to Russia, other parts of France, elsewhere in Europe and finally the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean, we see the role that chance plays in it and the deceits people engage in. There is violence, and Brodie moves from being haunted by memories of his unloving relationship with his father to a fear of being killed which stops him from settling for too long in any one place. To the end, he never escapes his fears.The narrative holds the attention throughout, and the style is every bit as good as one has come to expect of William Boyd. Interspersed are some fascinating glimpses into the work of piano tuners. There are also some literary games involving allusions to Chekhov (who makes an unnamed guest appearance) - but you do not need to spot these to enjoy a superb book.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me have an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Katrina
    January 1, 1970
    2.75 Just to be awkward. A mostly compelling tale aided by Boyd's excellent prose and descriptions of 19th century Europe. I particularly liked the attention to detail that Boyd had regarding the main character's profession which in the hands of an lesser author would have been mostly skipped over. The author has done a lot of research and it shows. The only thing that didn't quite work for me was the love story, but it's neither here nor there as there was plenty of other things going on to cou 2.75 Just to be awkward. A mostly compelling tale aided by Boyd's excellent prose and descriptions of 19th century Europe. I particularly liked the attention to detail that Boyd had regarding the main character's profession which in the hands of an lesser author would have been mostly skipped over. The author has done a lot of research and it shows. The only thing that didn't quite work for me was the love story, but it's neither here nor there as there was plenty of other things going on to counterbalance it. Love is Blind will be a solid but unsurprising read to established fans of the author, and a good introduction to newcomers. With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review
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  • BiblioPhil
    January 1, 1970
    Me no Lika. (not really true but couldn't resist.)
  • Elizabeth Grieve
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this sweeping tale of a piano-tuner and his life, love and travels, beginning at the end of the 19th century. Brodie Moncur is a gifted piano-tuner who leaves his Scottish home and overbearing father to seek work, first in Edinburgh, and then as his technical and entrepreneurial skills are rewarded, he is sent by his employer, Channon, the piano manufacturers,to work in Paris. Here, he strives to increase piano sales by forging an agreement with a famous Irish pianist. While I thoroughly enjoyed this sweeping tale of a piano-tuner and his life, love and travels, beginning at the end of the 19th century. Brodie Moncur is a gifted piano-tuner who leaves his Scottish home and overbearing father to seek work, first in Edinburgh, and then as his technical and entrepreneurial skills are rewarded, he is sent by his employer, Channon, the piano manufacturers,to work in Paris. Here, he strives to increase piano sales by forging an agreement with a famous Irish pianist. While working with this man, Kilbarron, Moncur meets Lika, a Russian singer who will be the love of his life (although she does not exactly seem to reciprocate). The story ranges far and wide, from Paris to Russia, and then further afield to exotic climes. William Boyd's writing is always marvellous, and the reader is immersed in the characters' lives and times, whether it be Edinburgh or fin-de-siecle Paris.Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.
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  • Ashwini Abhyankar
    January 1, 1970
    I was kindly given an e-ARC of the book by the publishers and NetGalley in return for an honest review.September is not shaping up to be brilliant in terms of my choices of reading. The general plot given in the synopsis promised quite a punch, plus the praise for the author’s works in general made me an expectant reader. That proved to be disastrous.As soon as I started reading this book, I was immediately happy to note that the writing is really, really good and so did the historical research I was kindly given an e-ARC of the book by the publishers and NetGalley in return for an honest review.September is not shaping up to be brilliant in terms of my choices of reading. The general plot given in the synopsis promised quite a punch, plus the praise for the author’s works in general made me an expectant reader. That proved to be disastrous.As soon as I started reading this book, I was immediately happy to note that the writing is really, really good and so did the historical research that the author did. Set at the end of the 19th century, Brodie takes across Europe from Scotland to Russia, to France with vivid details. Brodie Moncur is a piano tuner in Edinburgh in 1890s and when given a chance to move away from his home, his country to Paris, he grabs it with both hands because his life at home wasn’t enough for him at the time.There he meets with a talented pianist, John Kilbarron and he is spotted by Kilbarron for his talent not only as a tuner but also as someone who really knows the piano. The way Boyd gives us the imagery when it comes to Brodie talent is absolutely lovely. Truly. It made me want to learn more about piano in general and that is also how Brodie gets to bring a representative like Kilbarron to the company. As Brodie and Kilbarron start traveling, Brodie finds himself fascinated and later in love with Lika Brum.Now, here things start to get dicey for me. Lika is shown to be this absolutely enticing and intriguing beauty whose only purpose in the book seems to be create chaos out of people’s lives. I never really understood her or found out more about her personality. I need to know the characters and how they work and why they act the way they do, and while I am not so demanding as to want every little detail. I have to say that I wasn’t given much at all.Other characters in the book were also given much historical detail but not enough personality for me truly find this an engaging story. There’s a rather alarming number of times the female breasts are written about, and masturbation. Oh, boy. I mean, who keeps a record of the number of times one has had sex and the number of times one has had to masturbate? I hope I never know the answer. I hesitate to call the relationship of Brodie and Lika romantic, I really didn’t find much romance in it if I am being honest.For a book with so much potential, it never reached the summit that was promised, or rather that was hinted at. I am truly disappointed in that, overall, a rather thin and not quite engaging book unfortunately. I wish there was more because the writing does hint at the potential but with such problems as lack of character personalities and unnecessary additions near the end of the novel, it all made for a muddy read. Fans of historical fiction might find it interesting because of the research that went into it.This book releases on September, 20, 2018 and it will be available in bookstores and online stores.
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  • Joanne Cameron
    January 1, 1970
    This is an enjoyable page turner of a book. The narrative follows Brodie Moncur, a bright 24 year old with very poor sight and a troublesome cough who is the son of an abusive, alcoholic but charismatic Scottish preacher. He becomes an expert piano tuner. This gives him the opportunity to go to Paris as Deputy Manager of Channon’s piano company. Through this work he meets and starts working for the “Irish Listz”, John Kilbarron – a piano playing prodigy who is now having problems with pain in hi This is an enjoyable page turner of a book. The narrative follows Brodie Moncur, a bright 24 year old with very poor sight and a troublesome cough who is the son of an abusive, alcoholic but charismatic Scottish preacher. He becomes an expert piano tuner. This gives him the opportunity to go to Paris as Deputy Manager of Channon’s piano company. Through this work he meets and starts working for the “Irish Listz”, John Kilbarron – a piano playing prodigy who is now having problems with pain in his right arm and hand, leading him to abuse alcohol and cocaine, who needs Moncur’s expertise to make his piano keys light. Moncur also comes into contact with Kilbarron’s menacing brother and manager Malachi and Kilbarron’s young Russian lover, Lika whom Moncur falls head over heels in love with. The complications of this love affair lead to Moncur having to move constantly around Europe and then to the Andaman islands.The book is an easy read as the prose is really well written . I particularly like references to the reality of life at the turn of the century such as the description of stench of all the horse dung in the streets and the armies of flies that accompany them. I think that the first half of the book is a lot stronger than the second half. You are on the journey and invested in all the various characters and then the narrative veers off and I feel a lot of loose ends are left. I became invested in the story of Brodie’s father and his rancour against Brodie which are never resolved and the life of his sisters and their precarious financial position on the death of his father are not addressed. I didn’t quite believe the main storyline in the second half of the book and felt it was all a bit messy and not focused enough. I’m glad I read the book but felt it was ultimately a bit of a let down.I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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  • Melanie Garrett
    January 1, 1970
    Brodie Moncur had me seduced from the get-go. Here, I initially thought, was a man who might even give Logan Mountstuart a run for his money. Now, while the bits I loved, I loved to bits, this human heart still belongs to Logan.The reasons for this are not to do with these men themselves - both remain more vivid to me than some men I have known off the page for decades - but rather the contexts in which their lives played out. In both novels, we find Mr Boyd more interested in what it means to l Brodie Moncur had me seduced from the get-go. Here, I initially thought, was a man who might even give Logan Mountstuart a run for his money. Now, while the bits I loved, I loved to bits, this human heart still belongs to Logan.The reasons for this are not to do with these men themselves - both remain more vivid to me than some men I have known off the page for decades - but rather the contexts in which their lives played out. In both novels, we find Mr Boyd more interested in what it means to live - and therefore chronicle - a life, than what it is to be a cog helping wind on the wheels of a plot. The problem with this, for my own tastes, is that a novel without a conspicuously signposted plot has to have wider emotional and psychological preoccupations than I found here. Although we see that Brodie’s life is cast under a star marked ‘love is blind’ and this is tested over and over again, from Brodie’s own loves (from Callum to Like) and the fatherly love of Ainsley Channon, it feels quite slight somehow, perhaps because the consequences of this constraint never really ripple out very far. Having said this, there are long sequences of the piece - particularly in Paris and Russia - which are an unending delight of a romp to read. So, it is for this reason that, while this is a long way from being my own personal favourite Boyd novel, I have given it five stars. Anything less would have felt impertinent.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Love definitely is blind you realise when you read this novel. Brodie Moncur, a talented piano-tuner in Edinburgh meets someone in Paris and ends up falling in love with her to the point of obsession only to realise that she is the partner of someone else.Before that obsession starts, another one is already underway - that of the world of pianos and piano tuning. It all gets a bit technical and drawn out here in my opinion but you can’t help but realise that the art of piano tuning is a fascinat Love definitely is blind you realise when you read this novel. Brodie Moncur, a talented piano-tuner in Edinburgh meets someone in Paris and ends up falling in love with her to the point of obsession only to realise that she is the partner of someone else.Before that obsession starts, another one is already underway - that of the world of pianos and piano tuning. It all gets a bit technical and drawn out here in my opinion but you can’t help but realise that the art of piano tuning is a fascinating one!But it’s the obsession of his love for Lika which drives the novel. It’s more of an obsession for sex rather than love though as the graphic scenes suggest. He moves around and leaves Paris to head to Russia, and then...well he’s a bit lost in the geographical sense as well as the obsessive love one. Did he really even know her I ask myself? Yes he wanted sex but I didn’t really feel the obsessive love of the title.The settings are very nicely done however. The musical nature of each city shines through but so too does the filth of life around him,the chaos of each city and his account of each place make this somewhat of a fascinating travelogue. There’s some nice and apt literary references too with Onegin and Pushkin getting a mention and creeping into the story too.I did enjoy much of this, but it’s a long journey to get there.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    William Boyd's latest novel Love is Blind is aptly named. It shows us what people will do for love, the secrets they keep and what they choose not to see. Like Any Human Heart, this epic takes us around the world as it emerges into the twentieth century. Horse-drawn carriages make way for motor cars, but love affairs are as complicated as ever.Brodie Moncur is a gifted piano tuner and a romantic. He longs to leave his dour upbringing behind for a life of possibilities in Paris. Brodie goes to wo William Boyd's latest novel Love is Blind is aptly named. It shows us what people will do for love, the secrets they keep and what they choose not to see. Like Any Human Heart, this epic takes us around the world as it emerges into the twentieth century. Horse-drawn carriages make way for motor cars, but love affairs are as complicated as ever.Brodie Moncur is a gifted piano tuner and a romantic. He longs to leave his dour upbringing behind for a life of possibilities in Paris. Brodie goes to work for a piano manufacturer in Paris. His bright ideas bring success for the company but jealousy from his corrupt manager. A chance meeting with an opera singer will change his life forever, and not necessarily for the better. Hand in hand with love are terrible betrayals both artistic and romantic.Love is Blind succeeds not just as a great story but as a social history. Hausmann is building the Paris we recognise today. Social unrest is unfolding across Europe. Old empires are fading away. As the world becomes more known, the old ways must be catalogued before they disappear. Brodie's love causes him to travel the world, never settling for long. Through his eyes we see beautiful sights, and experience depths of emotion. Boyd's superior storytelling keeps us gripped until the end.
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  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    William Boyd is such a talented writer, he really immerses you in the lives of the characters he depicts in his novels. This is a sweeping tale, which spans the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, and moves across Europe. It's the story of Brodie Moncur, a Scottish piano tuner who moves from Edinburgh to Paris to help run a piano shop. He's pleased to be out of the reach of his bullying father, who rules over Brodie's many brothers and sisters, since the death of Brodie's mo William Boyd is such a talented writer, he really immerses you in the lives of the characters he depicts in his novels. This is a sweeping tale, which spans the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, and moves across Europe. It's the story of Brodie Moncur, a Scottish piano tuner who moves from Edinburgh to Paris to help run a piano shop. He's pleased to be out of the reach of his bullying father, who rules over Brodie's many brothers and sisters, since the death of Brodie's mother when he was a child. Whilst in Paris, he hits upon the idea to sponsor an up-and-coming Irish pianist, John Kilbarron. Kilbarron's lover is the beautiful Russian opera singer Lika Blum, and Brodie falls madly in love with her. But how will this affect his relationship with John and John's violent, thuggish brother Malachi? Although this is a long novel, it doesn't feel long enough as you follow Brodie round Europe, as he pursues his love, and the new century begins. If you enjoyed Any Human Heart or Sweet Caress, you will love this too.
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  • Julia Noble
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Books, and the author William Boyd. I am a big fan of all of William Boyd's novels and his writing style, and 'Love is Blind' was no different. There is no doubt that it is slower paced than some of his other work, and arguably felt slightly lacking in action and suspense at times, but as always it was beautifully written and very involving.The characters were convincing and well rounded, and Boyd's I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Books, and the author William Boyd. I am a big fan of all of William Boyd's novels and his writing style, and 'Love is Blind' was no different. There is no doubt that it is slower paced than some of his other work, and arguably felt slightly lacking in action and suspense at times, but as always it was beautifully written and very involving.The characters were convincing and well rounded, and Boyd's descriptive prose meant that every setting and scenario was painted incredibly vividly. A pleasant and diverting read, but definitely not as good as Any Human Heart, Waiting for Sunrise, or Ordinary Thunderstorms. I would still recommend this book, and am happy to have read it!
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  • Paula Williams
    January 1, 1970
    Great characters and an interesting period at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century. The love story at the centre of the story is echoed in the lives of all the characters and the book deals with family difficulties and the difficulties of love that although reciprocated is doomed and dangerous for both characters. The setting of the book in Edinburgh and then the many places that Brodie travels to makes the history of the different cultures interesting as he struggles to adapt t Great characters and an interesting period at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century. The love story at the centre of the story is echoed in the lives of all the characters and the book deals with family difficulties and the difficulties of love that although reciprocated is doomed and dangerous for both characters. The setting of the book in Edinburgh and then the many places that Brodie travels to makes the history of the different cultures interesting as he struggles to adapt to new surroundings and his own identity.
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  • Caren
    January 1, 1970
    Somewhat disappointing compared to other Boyd novels I've read. Its story was engaging, the reader immediately aware that fate was not going to favour the love-struck Brodie as he held tightly to the promise of his lover, Lika Blum, that she would return to him. The characters were strongly drawn as were the places that Brodie moves to in his attempt to flee from personal danger. But, the narrative just went on for too long. The last section, especially its conclusion, was so predictable that it Somewhat disappointing compared to other Boyd novels I've read. Its story was engaging, the reader immediately aware that fate was not going to favour the love-struck Brodie as he held tightly to the promise of his lover, Lika Blum, that she would return to him. The characters were strongly drawn as were the places that Brodie moves to in his attempt to flee from personal danger. But, the narrative just went on for too long. The last section, especially its conclusion, was so predictable that it reduced this love-story-turned-thriller to a mediocre melodrama.
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  • Sharyn
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this unproofed edition of Love is Blind courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. It was beautifully written and as easy to read as I always find William Boyd's books. A very interesting tale about a young Scots piano tuner named Brodie Moncur who fell in love with a woman known as Lika. Love is certainly blind and the story follows his life as he travel around the world tuning pianos, loving Lika and making friends and enemies. A very satisfying read and one I have I thoroughly enjoyed reading this unproofed edition of Love is Blind courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. It was beautifully written and as easy to read as I always find William Boyd's books. A very interesting tale about a young Scots piano tuner named Brodie Moncur who fell in love with a woman known as Lika. Love is certainly blind and the story follows his life as he travel around the world tuning pianos, loving Lika and making friends and enemies. A very satisfying read and one I have no hesitation in recommending.
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  • Sadlam
    January 1, 1970
    I always enjoy William Boyd's style. This book was no exception. However I thought Lika was entirely two dimensional. Apart from her beauty, what was it about her that Brodie loved? What was the dark in her character, except that she had a secret? Which he would be blind to because it was a SECRET!
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  • Douglas Osler
    January 1, 1970
    This is evocative,fascinating,intense and light all at once. It is superbly well researched and the author has an amazing ability to evoke the flavour of a historical period and the context of so many destinations favoured by Brodie Moncur, the lovesick piano tuner from Edunburgh. It is a very rewarding read.
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  • Barbara Hall
    January 1, 1970
    Boyd's epic story of art, romance and fin-de-siecle European history, traces the life of Brodie Moncur. Thanks to his talent as a piano tuner, he escapes his overbearing father and rural Scottish village, he lands in Paris and from there, throughout Europe. His romance with a Russian opera singer brings happiness, as well as complications and ultimately, threatens his life.Highly readable and very likable protagonist in this engrossing novel.
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  • Ali Dunn
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this. Loved the historical references, the characters and the scene it’s sets. I was fascintated by the in-depth information about tuning pianos, there’s more to it than I thought. I recommend this book as I would any other William Boyds treasures. Netgalley reviewer.
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  • Greville Waterman
    January 1, 1970
    Readable, likeable, beautifully written and plotted, lovely characters and a broad sweeping storyline - what's not to like?A master of the art still in excellent form.
  • Mary Robideaux
    January 1, 1970
    It starts off slow but gets better and better. I enjoyed reading the adventures of Brodie Moncur.
  • April Chang
    January 1, 1970
    Worth reading, interesting historical setting but I would have preferred a more robust underpinning of the central love story as lust isn't usually enough ..
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