LOVE IS BLIND
An easy-going beautifully written period love story.
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BY WILLIAM BOYD
It is always a joy to pick up a William Boyd novel. Love is Blind is no exception and now available in paperback it's not one to resist for you or your book club. And if you have read this one in your group there are always plenty by this author.*
The story follows the early life of Brodie Moncur, a skilled piano tuner who is posted from Scotland by his employer to Paris at the end of the nineteenth century to help revive the business's fortunes. Here he falls blindly in love with an aspiring Russian Opera Singer, Lika Blum, who is the consort of John Kilbarron, the “Irish Liszt” concert pianist whom Brodie has recruited to help revive the shop's piano sales in Paris. Brodie proceeds to follow his heart and allow his career to be determined by his love for Lika as he moves throughout Europe working for Kilbarron and his controlling brother Malachi, who as the story unfolds turns pursuer.
The Chekhovian influences are very apparent throughout: the Scottish landscape; the music at its core; the underlying illness; the changing appearance of Brodie and the dual. All the hopes and possibilities Brodie’s life could have had, but which are so cruelly crushed by a longing for something unobtainable run parallel to Chekhov's lead characters.
The end of the book is very moving as Brodie’s final destination is The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and although Brodie has ended up on a remote Indian island, his past still can’t allow him to move on. It is also at this point that you ask yourself – was the love reciprocated?
'Love is Blind' does not have a complex plot or huge cliff-hangers compared to some of Boyd’s other books, but the writing is eloquent and the read is unhurried and even-tempered. Overall the consensus in the Den was that this was an easy-going enjoyable period read.
* Latest novel 'Trio' is released in paperback September 2021.
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