cover image Trio


William Boyd. Knopf, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-31823-2

The lives of a film producer, an actor, and a novelist converge during an ill-fated movie shoot in Boyd’s madcap 16th novel (after Love Is Blind). It is 1968 and the very British Talbot Kydd is in Brighton overseeing the production. His leading lady is American ingenue Anny Viklund, and the movie is directed by the pretentious, unfaithful husband of famous writer Elfrida Wing. Talbot, secretly gay, constantly puts out fires on and off the movie set. Anny has been extorted by her terrorist ex-husband who has recently escaped from prison. And Elfrida is a raging alcoholic who can’t get past the first, terrible, paragraph of her new book. As Boyd expertly unfolds his characters’ stories, philosophical questions emerge: where does each of these individuals belong in history, and must they play the part expected of them? Filled with outlandish and amusing characters, including predatory talent agents and a pornography-peddling has-been actor, Boyd’s novel offers its heroes paths to escape their burdens, some of which are a bit implausible, but all are fun to watch. Boyd is an exquisite stylist, and his tragicomic novel is a sublime escape. (Jan.)