Monday, 28 September 2009

Ordinary Thunderstorms

This is a new novel by William Boyd that seems to have provoked a good deal less interest than Sebastian Faulks's new book.  They are similar in many ways.  There is a Big Baddie (Bankers in SF; the Pharmaceutical industry in WB); there is a wide cast of characters; and there is the setting (London).  Drugs and hospitals and fathers and sons figure in both.  Boyd's however is much much better.  Without having the burden of writing a kind of programme-state-ofthe-nation novel, as Faulks has tried to do, Boyd has simply told a story.  His story is more preposterous, but it is better told and therefore more convincing.  His characters are fuller, the descriptions more acute, the risks taken in the way of Dickensian coincidence bolder.  It is much more of a novel altogether.  What is more the very writing itself is better wrought without straying into look-at-me territory.  Thoroughly enjoyed, then, and a true London book.

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