cover image Love Is Blind

Love Is Blind

William Boyd. Knopf, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-65526-8

Boyd’s lively 15th novel (following Sweet Caress) careens across the world following a consumptive, dueling, romantic piano tuner named Brodie Moncur. In a wild story whose prose reads as if written in 1888 (the year in which it is set), this seasoned author’s handsome protagonist flees his oppressive Scottish family, first to Edinburgh, where he goes to work for Channon & Co. Sent to Paris by his boss, Ainsley Channon, to boost piano sales, Brodie’s career is sabotaged by Channon’s thieving son, Calder. Brodie is then approached by pianist John Kilbarron, the “Irish Liszt,” and Kilbarron’s evil brother, Malachi, who convince him to travel with them to Russia, having discovered he can tune Kilbarron’s piano to mask a painful weakness in the maestro’s right hand. As time goes on, however, Brodie falls in love with Kilbarron’s mistress, Russian singer Lika Blum. When their affair, Lika’s secretiveness, and a musical betrayal stir up trouble, Brodie flees the Kilbarrons and Russia. Complicating matters is Brodie’s tuberculosis, a constant threat that dials up the book’s tension and, along with an old-fashioned duel in St. Petersburg, allows the author a few action scenes. This man-on-the-run tale, which wraps up at one exotic end of the Earth, is strangely ageless and very entertaining. (Oct.)