A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs - seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery.
The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-of-nerve that wickedly complicate it. These funny, surprising and moving stories are a resounding confirmation of Boyd's powers as one of our most original and compelling storytellers.
Boyd shows why he's so often compared to Graham Greene.... brilliant and bewitching collection of stories
Like stealing badges, like shucking oysters, once you have one of these stories you can't stop. Lights out was after midnight
Clever and, yes, cinematic
The stories, as is often the case with Boyd, are packed with characters whose lives are upended by random upheavals
Unfailingly amusing and clever
In a 2008 essay, Boyd explained that writing short stories gives him a welcome chance "to change habits, to experiment, to take risks, to try out different voices". And in the best stories here, it's a chance he takes full advantage of, serving up an impressive variety of settings and protagonists
Boyd is dependably a master of what's most true: an always elegant realist whose characters will get under your skin
No one charts the highs and lows of the human condition like Boyd
A riveting short story collection from one of the best
We asked you to share your reading highlights from this year. Here's what you couldn't put down.
Described by Sebastian Faulks as ‘the finest storyteller of his generation’, William Boyd details the secret to keeping readers hooked for over four decades as he speaks to Caroline Sanderson about his life as an author.