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Comment: Condition: As New condition., As new condition dust jacket. Binding: Hardcover. / Publisher: Knopf / Pub. Date: 2005-01-04 Attributes: Book, 277 pp / Stock#: 2047174 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Fascination: Stories Hardcover – January 4, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (January 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400043204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400043200
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,129,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Boyd (Any Human Heart, etc.) is difficult to pigeonhole. The 14 stories in this book include the supernaturally inflected ("A Haunting," "Visions Fugitives"), the Chekhovian bittersweet ("The Woman on the Beach with a Dog"), the PoMo urban spiel ("Beulah Berlin, an A-Z") and the comedy of dogged lechery. The last is represented by "Adult Video," which, in journal form, records the infidelity of one Edward, a cynical graduate student, and "Fascination," in which the same Edward, married to the girlfriend he cheated on, bungles a brief foray as a freelance journalist by making a pass at a young interviewee. "A Haunting" uses an old horror motif (a man is possessed by the spirit of another man) to illuminate the character of architect Alex Rief. While the story begins well, it concludes rather flatly with a pseudoscientific explanation. Dispossession is the more everyday horror that animates "The Ghost of a Bird," in which a Doctor Moran observes the brief recovery and sudden death of a young brain-damaged soldier, Gerald Gault. Gault, who published a short story shortly before being injured in 1944, has, in his brief recovery, confused his life with that story: "what became real to Gerald Gault was a consoling phantom, a dream, an urgent wish." Boyd's characters are, as a general rule, seeking—and mostly failing—to attain the intensity of some similar imaginative act.
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From Bookmarks Magazine

All but the most diehard fans of postmodernism will likely find Boyd’s formal idiosyncrasies jarring. His abrupt changes in style and experimental narrative techniques prompted some critics to hail him as a virtuoso. Others felt that Fascination lacked the conventional pleasures of plot and character-more than one reader found these tales of anguished artists tiresome. This collection is more likely to satisfy on an intellectual level than an emotional one; readers bothered by gimmicks would do well to stay away. For those interested in stretching the limits of the short story form, however, Fascination may live up to the promise of its title. For those who want to play it safe, check out Boyd’s Any Human Heart (**** May/June 2003).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

More About the Author

William Boyd is the author of ten novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; and Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Hickman on July 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There's always something to like in a book by William Boyd. He is never less than a witty raconteur with an unswerving instinct for the mot juste. As the present collection of short stories, "Fascination," attests, he is also a brilliant ventriloquist, capable of embodying, alternately, an adolescent bicyclist, a 19-year-old asthmatic whose parents are both bodybuilders, a female performance artist, a writer named Edward with delusions of his own grandeur (in the collections's best two stories), and a host of dysfunctional middle-aged men. These are narrators who are driven largely by "fascination" for unattainable love objects, like the American publisher in 1940s Cape Cod who meets "The Woman on the Beach with a Dog" and is capable of forgetting his own marriage even when hers intrudes. The fascination here is in the unexpected twists and turns these stories take, including a side trip into Chekhovian territory in "The Pigeon." I enjoyed reading these stories; each is a testament to Boyd's mastery of the form; but I wasn't particularly engaged by any of them. The plotting, to put it bluntly, is perfunctory. I barely got interested in a character or situation, when the story concluded and I was shuffled on to the next character and situation. I got the impression that these might be sketches for books that Boyd never got around to writing--compressed novels, as it were. That being said, this is a much more satisfying collection than the earlier "The Destiny of Nathalie X," which, with the exception of the mordantly funny title story (an insider's take on Hollywood), is even sketchier than "Fascination." Boyd, as his fans know from "On the Yankee Station" (his first collection of stories), "A Good Man in Africa," and a raft of other books, is capable of so much more. I'm certain Boyd has another comic masterpiece like "Stars and Bars" up his sleeve. In the meantime, enjoy this collection for the jeu d'sprit it is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philip Spires on November 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fascination by William Boyd is a set of sixteen short stories. This may not sound either surprising or original until one considers their form. The author uses at least nine different and clearly identifiable forms in which to present this work. One takes the form of a video. There are childhood memories, a diary, a journal, an A-to-Z listing. One story is a set of dialogues over lunch. Another is a set of monologues. And William Boyd's use of these different forms is not just a writer's trick to impress a critic. In each case to form complements the story, adds interpretation to the events and helps our understanding of the characters. Fascination is thus no less than a fascinating read, a tour de force in miniature by a great writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pesso on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I generally don't like short stores - they are over before they begin. But I loved the character presentations in these. I was quickly involved in most of them right away. Not having read this author before, I started to think that Boyd must be very clever to create so many different stories under one roof. A wealth of riches so-to-speak. Can't wait to read his novels.
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By John Offenbach on February 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Best thing about the stories is the constant very strong character building within a few words.
Some stories were a little weak at the end, more like a writing exercies than a structured short story, but the only negative was that typically you're left looking for more.
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