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Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 17, 2012
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“It’s ages since I read a novel that offers such breathlessly readable narrative enjoyment, such page-by-page storytelling confidence and solidity. Boyd has a positive genius for pace and description.” (The Independent)
“Always a smooth and expert storyteller, Boyd effortlessly combines historical detail with a sexy, galloping narrative that proves irresistible.” (People (4 stars))
“Boyd retrofits a genre full of familiar devices and character types with finer textures and deeper psychology than it typically boasts. . . . Waiting for Sunrise manages to conjure an atmosphere of genuine disorientation that most spy novels gesture toward and few, if any, attain.” (Laura Miller, Salon)
“Boyd is a born story teller whose clear, taut prose never gets in the way of his characters and their unpredictable fates.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Thoroughly entertaining. . . . Waiting for Sunrise has the pace of a spy thriller, with code-cracking and double-crossing aplenty.” (The New Yorker)
“Sex, psychiatry and Vienna on the eve of World War I - those are promising ingredients for a novel. And William Boyd makes the most of them. . . . Boyd’s narrative moves briskly, and his local color is deftly done.” (The Seattle Times)
“As ever with Boyd there is an effortlessness to the prose and a piercing acuity to the period detail and evocation of place, along with thrilling set pieces. . . .[This book] proves that rarest of beasts: a tantalizingly experimental work that is also an immensely satisfying page-turner.” (The Telegraph)
“This is the sort of novel you finish, then begin again to revisit your favourite bits. . . . More than anything Waiting for Sunrise is a gleeful celebration of storytelling -- sly, clever, frequently hilarious, always involving. . . . This is the literary event of the year.” (The Times (UK))
“A page-turner. . . . A thinking person’s thriller.” (Good Housekeeping)
“Waiting for Sunrise retains a consistent intrigue and a splendidly intricate plot. . . . The denouement plays out with characteristic suspense and masterful design. . . . [Boyd has] a truly remarkable imagination.” (The Huffington Post)
“A literary thriller that genuinely thrills, a plot-driven novel assembled by a master of plotting. The deftness with which Boyd knits together a complex cast of characters is immaculate. . . . It demonstrates yet again this writer’s unrivalled versatility and consistency.” (The Financial Times)
“Superb. . . . To read a William Boyd novel is to open a bottle of wine, light a fire, sit back in your favourite armchair and trust that the master practitioner will take you on an intriguing and unpredictable journey. He’s done it again.” (The Spectator (UK))
“Fans of previous Boyd novels will find themselves on gratifyingly familiar ground in Waiting for Sunrise. . . . Few contemporary writers are able to evoke the ambiance and drama of our recent past as forcefully as Boyd. . . . Boyd’s prose is often radiant.” (The Washington Post Book World)
“An evocative mix of sex, spies, and psychoanalysis. . . . Fans of the author will love and recognize all the hallmarks of Boyd’s best books.” (CNN.com)
“A tantalizing, fast-paced spy novel. . . . As seductive as it is, Waiting for Sunrise is no bodice-ripper. It’s a brainteaser, charged with uncertainty and danger, electric with restraint.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Powerfully entertaining. . . . Boyd’s ability to evoke a sense of time and place is unmatched. . . . He has been perfecting the craft of globetrotting entertainment for the past three decades.” (The Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“A thoughtfully plotted story, whose twists and turns reveal the price its characters pay in trust. . . . Boyd is a nimble and entertaining writer.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
“Waiting for Sunrise does the neat trick of evolving from a historical romance into a seat-of-the-pants spy thriller. . . . This is Boyd’s stage, on which he is a virtuoso.” (The San Antonio Express-News)
“The narrative in this novel is almost seamless. . . . This atmospheric novel is elegantly crafted by a London writer who serves up a rich portrayal of human psychology and a plot that is both engaging and imaginative.” (The Tucson Citizen)
From the Back Cover
Vienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor in town seeking psychotherapy for a troubling ailment of a sexual nature, becomes caught up in a feverish affair with a beautiful, enigmatic woman. When she goes to the police to press charges of rape, however, he is stunned, and his few months of passion come to an abrupt end. Only a carefully plotted escape—with the help of two mysterious British diplomats—saves him from trial.
But the frenzied getaway sets off a chain of events that steadily dismantles Lysander's life as he knows it. He returns to a London on the cusp of war, hoping to win back his onetime fiancée and banish from memory his traumatic ordeals abroad, but Vienna haunts him at every turn. The men who helped coordinate his escape recruit him to carry out the brutal murder of a complete stranger. His lover from Vienna shows up nonchalantly at a party, ready to resume their liaison. Unable to live an ordinary existence, he is plunged into the dangerous theater of wartime intelligence—a world of sex, scandal, and spies, where lines of truth and deception blur with every waking day. Lysander must now discover the key to a secret code that is threatening Britain's safety, and use all his skills to keep this murky world of suspicion and betrayal from invading every corner of his life.
Moving from Vienna to London's West End, from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a mesmerizing journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller, and a literary tour de force.
Top customer reviews
Characterization is central to 'Waiting For Sunrise' (as it is in every Boyd novel.) Lysander Rief comes on the scene as a handsome man in his later twenties. Unevenly educated since his actor-father moved the family from one theater to another, he becomes an actor and furthers his education through preparing for his theatrical roles. Readers are treated to a bit of the Theatrical Life in Britain through this thread of the story. So often playing someone else, Lysander is somewhat late in coming to a mature self-knowledge; most explicitly about sexual matters. He seeks to remedy some of this by traveling to Pre-WWI Vienna for a consultation with a Freudian-influenced psychoanalist--Dr. Bensimon. Vicariously we enter into some of the world of the new psychoanalysis of that day, including a treatment methodology of 'Parallelism'--burying the unpleasant facts from the past by creating a detailed alternate reality. There is serious food for philosophical thought in that plot thread. From that beginning, we are treated to more experience of deception--sneaky adultery, shaky self-deception and the duplicity of spying, even in the cause of one's country. Lysander becomes a counterspy, ferreting out a 'rat' in the British War Machine...but working without any training other than his acting ability. He takes personal risks that trained agents would have avoided in a somewhat naive search for facts. At the end of this novel I believe Boyd wants us to ask ourselves if Lysander really did get to the true bottom of the deception...or if any deception--by ourselves or others--can ever be completely laid to rest. I put the book aside after finishing reading but my thinking kept working on, much like the nagging itch left by many modern short-story writers. If you are that kind of reader, I believe you will LIKE 'Waiting For Sunrise.'
The story is about a young actor who in early 1914 is undergoing the then new therapy through psychoanalysis in Freudian Vienna and further to his analysis goes through a hot carnal love story as a result of which he is unjustly accused and ensnared in the hands of the Austrian police.He saves himself with an imaginative escape assisted by his future colleagues in the SIS.
Back to England he tries to rebuild his life but the War and his past catch up with him. He is now an officer,following some adventure in the trenches,employed by the Secret Service,where he has additional adventures in the line of duty and his task to find a traitor in the British Headquarters, who is supplying with very damaging info the other side.
The story reminds vaguely of "Ashenden" by Somerset Maugham but is more profound ,following the young man as he grows through his choices,his handling of his family relations present and past,and how he is shaped both by chance ,the actions of others,the dramatic period around him and his own actions and libido.
It is an excellent atmospheric novel with accurate reproduction of the environment of the Period,correct even to the Menus of the times.Vienna and London places and Societies are vividly reproduced and the War provides the thrills of the story which is very well plotted and expertly delivered.
Very good literary prose and vivid dialogues,finely crafted characters and easy flow make this book a very pleasant companion of leisure time.
Allow some time after you finish it to think it over. It is worth it
Like Restless, Waiting For Sunrise deals with the thrills and spills of espionage during the second world war. But this story is a much more than a simple spy story.
Lysander Rief is a young, good looking actor who finds himself caught in a world of danger and suspense following a trip to Vienna where he has sought a remedy for his particular problem.
From the moment he walks out of the psychotherapists office we are taken on a fast paced, fascinating journey of intrigue, love and lust set against the backdrop of war.
I enjoyed this book very much but I found the ending rather confusing. Could some kind reader explain to me why Andromeda wasn't arrested when first discovered and why all the preamble leading to his "eventual" arrest?
Also, to what extent was the lovely Anna Faulkner really involved?
I have missed something apparently.....or was I reading too quickly?
All in all, a fine adventure and certainly worth five stars for a very clever plot and wonderful writing.....as usual Mr.Boyd.
I would give this 3.5 stars. The writing is very descriptive and engaging. But I think the actual plot is only decent. The side characters that make up the story weren't fully explained. There are a lot of hints of possible conspiracies, but as a reader you are never sure which ones to take seriously. This made for an unexplained story in my book. Maybe that's what reviewers chalk up to the psychological aspect of the story, but to me it just made it feel half-thought out at times.