Love is Blind
by William Boyd
There is no doubt that William Boyd’s latest novel, Love is Blind, confirms his reputation as a great and masterful storyteller.
Set in the 1890s a young, tall and consumptive Scotsman leaves Edinburgh for Paris in search of adventure.
As a professional piano tuner, Brodie quickly enters a dazzling world of music halls, concerts and theatre and when he meets Lika, a young Russian singer, he falls instantly and deeply in love. However, although the couple embark on a passionate love affair, Lika’s complex and turbulent relationship with the Kilbarron brothers, one of whom is a respected pianist, threatens their future together.
Brodie follows the Kilbarrons and Lika as they travel from one concert venue to another while Brodie’s expert piano tuning ensures that Kilbarron’s otherwise diminishing reputation remains intact. But when Lika and Brodie’s love affair is discovered their lives change forever and the couple are forced to move from place to place to preserve their anonymity.
As a touching tale of unquestioning passion and adoration, wherever Brodie travels his love for Lika is untarnished. As Lika observes “You don’t see me as I really am. All the many nuances of Lika Blum. The light and the dark. You just see the light”.
But the novel is not simply a love story. In Boyd’s other novels such as Sweet Caress and Human Heart, Boyd provides an astonishing detailed and accurate description of time and place. And as Brodie travels from Paris to St Petersburg to Vienna to Trieste Boyd brings these places to life. Whether it’s the glamour of St Petersburg and Vienna or the peaceful lifestyle in the south of France, we are reminded of the freedom travelling brings.
One of my favourite books of 2018.