Love Is Blind by William Boyd review – alchemy of fact and fiction

A piano tuner’s dangerous affair takes on greater resonance in this perfectly pitched performance

William Boyd’s layered and intricate novel begins close to its end point, with a brief prologue in the form of a 1906 letter from a British penal colony in the Bay of Bengal. In it, an American anthropologist called Page Arbogast tells her sister, Amelia, about the recent arrival of a new assistant, “a tall young Scotsman, about thirty-five years old, called Brodie Moncur”.

Exactly what Brodie is doing there is a mystery that will remain unresolved for almost the entire book. It’s a classic example of Boyd getting things off to a propulsive start, and on the surface Love Is Blind has all the hallmarks of a slow-burning thriller – the event-packed story of a single decade in Brodie’s life.

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