Do I Want To Read… Any Human Heart by William Boyd

Once again I am looking to all of you for advice on a book that I have been umming and ahhing about, however I wasn’t (if I am honest) until last week when I saw a feature in the paper all about it’s adaptation. It seems the next big Sunday night period drama in the UK, after the wonderful Downton Abbey finished, is going to be ‘Any Human Heart’ based on the book by William Boyd. It looks like its going to be marvellous, I held off from watching it this Sunday because of course in this instance I always think ‘should I read the book first?’, so now I am asking you… should I?

I have only read one other William Boyd novel before, though I do have ‘Ordinary Thunderstorms’ on Mount TBR and that was ‘Restless’ which was in my pre-blogging days for an old book group. I have to say I really, really enjoyed it I also promised my self to read some more of his work… and then of course haven’t since 2007.

Back to ‘Any Human Heart’ though! After having seen this feature and my interest being piqued I decided to pop to that fountain of all book knowledge (my tongue is in my cheek) that is a certain online book store to see what people were saying in their reviews. We know on that site people can be quite venomous, hence why I was always going to ask you all your thoughts regardless, yet the reviews I started reading for this novel were all simply incredible. People saying things such as ‘nothing I have read for years has had such a profound effect on me as this has’ and ‘read pretty much continuously, but was unable to pick up another book for almost two weeks after finishing this – there was no point, I was…replete’. Now that is quite some quotes from those reviewers, only it also rather intimidated me as I thought ‘oh dear what if its so good nothing compares afterwards?’

So I thought I would ask out into the blogosphere and see if any of you have read it and what you made of it, or if you know people who have read it and what they thought? Anyone else suddenly had the urge to read this?

I did notice that people are in uproar on thta certain site as the Kindle edition is more than the book… I inwardly jumped for joy at that, buy the blinking book instead.


Filed under Do I Want To Read?, William Boyd

12 responses to “Do I Want To Read… Any Human Heart by William Boyd

  1. I read Restless and didn’t really like it, to be perfectly honest. I read somewhere that it was his ‘commercial’ novel. I like commercial novels, but just good storytelling (and a good story) works better for me. So I have more hope for Any Human Heart, which I will seriously consider picking up after seeing the first episode of the adaptation.

  2. No advice (I’m not watching it though, I actually think it will be better as a book than as a tv series even with the amazing British talent) just wanted to say you could always check out the flufftastic Garrows Law if you’re looking for period drama on a Sunday.

  3. lizzysiddal

    Here’s one I know the answer to. Of course, you want to read it – it’s brilliant!

  4. Harriet

    Yes you do want to read it — it’s really good. Then you can carp on about how the TV version doesn’t do it justice.

  5. I almost feel bad for watching the first tv episode as I have never read the book and it is always the wrong way round to do things… however, it was a fantastic drama and I’m now hooked. Going to watch this series, forget about it for 6 months (about the time it takes me to forget what happened) then read the book and be riveted all over again!
    Would love to hear your review when you’re done 🙂

  6. I ve read the first 30 pages of it then put it to one side a few weeks ago due to size of it ,hope to finish it when off next week so know what happens in the rest of the tv series ,all the best stu

  7. Any Human Heart is one of my favourite books. It’s clever and entertaining, with a slightly unlikable character who you do actually understand and feel sympathy for, despite his unlikable traits. Boyd has done a really good job with this book, although I hope you’re not disappointed after reading all the rave reviews. I would say try and read it before watching the adaptation, though, as my sister saw the TV prog and mentioned she had problems following what was happening because she hadn’t read the book.

    Read it!

  8. Jennifer

    Don’t hesitate, this is an excellent book and so much better than the tv adaptation. The tv seems to have missed out his school days and is quite dull in comparison. I loved the book and it would definitely be in my list of top 100 books.

  9. Stephanie

    Hi Simon

    This is a great story that weaves in and out of 20th century history taking in some well recognised characters and major political and social events along the way. It’s a memorable book with strong character development. I have a clear picture of the story some six years after reading it. And there’s some great tips for surviving an impecunious retirement!

    Another worldly read of Boyd’s is ‘The blue afternoon’, which is partially set in the Phillipines, an unusual country to read about in European fiction.

    I would recommend reading the book before seeing the visual medium as it tends to taint the reading. The last book I read ‘after’ the movie was ‘The English Patient. I got quite confused reading the book as the director had taken liberties with the characters and I had trouble removing the visual images from the movie out of my mind so I could enjoy the book.

    I should declare myself a great fan of William Boyd’s wide ranging writing style.

  10. m

    I know I’ve read it, but I found it completely forgettable.

  11. Deborah

    It is an incredible book, when I finished it I wanted to call Boyd and thank him it felt like an honour to have read it but this was because it felt like a real autobiography, like you had shared the protagonist’s life and experiences, and although you don’t necessarily like him all the time you do feel part of his life. I watched ten minutes of the tv version and became enraged! This a Big and Deep book, can’t poke it into a few tv snapshots. Read it! Do it now!

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