Any Human Heart by William BoydLogan Gonzago Mountstuart, writer, was born in 1906, and died of a heart attack on October 5, 1991, aged 85. William Boyds novel Any Human Heart is his disjointed autobiography, a massive tome chronicling my personal rollercoaster--or rather, not so much a rollercoaster, but a yo-yo, a jerking spinning toy in the hands of a maladroit child. From his early childhood in Montevideo, son of an English corned beef executive and his Uraguayan secretary, through his years at a Norfolk public school and Oxford, Mountstuart traces his haphazard development as a writer. Early and easy success is succeeded by a long half-century of mediocrity, disappointments and setbacks, both personal and professional, leading him to multiple failed marriages, internment, alcoholism, and abject poverty.
Mountstuarts sorry tale is also the story of a British way of life in inexorable decline, as his journey takes in the Bloomsbury set, the General Strike, the Spanish Civil War, 1930s Americans in Paris, wartime espionage, New York avant garde art, even the Baader-Meinhof gang--all with a stellar supporting cast. The most sustained and best moment comes mid-book, as Mountstuart gets caught up in one of Britains murkier wartime secrets, in the company of the here truly despicable Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Elsewhere Boyd occasionally misplaces his tongue too obviously in his cheek--the Wall Street Crash is trailed with truly crashing inelegance--but overall Any Human Heart is a witty, inventive and ultimately moving novel. Boyd succeeds in conjuring not only a compelling 20th century but also, in the hapless Logan Mountstuart, an anti-hero who achieves something approaching passive greatness. --Alan Stewart, Amazon.co.uk
Any Human Heart: William Boyd on telling the story of the 20th century
Surely one of the most beguiling books of this season, this rich, sophisticated, often hilarious and disarming novel is the autobiography of a typical Englishman as told through his lifelong journal. Born to British parents in Uruguay in , Logan Mountstuart attends an English prep school where he makes two friends who will be his touchstones for the next eight decades. The early entries in his journal, which record his sexual explorations and his budding ambitions, provide a clear picture of the snobbery and genteel brutality of the British social system. Logan is a decent chap, filled with a moral idealism that he will never lose, although his burning sense of justice will prove inconvenient in later years. He goes down from Oxford with a shameful Third, finds early success as a novelist, marries a rich woman he doesn't love, escapes to Spain to fight in the civil war and is about to embark on a happy existence with his second wife when WWII disrupts his and his generation's equilibrium. On his release, he finds that tragedy has struck his family.
Some critics have dismissed this mini-series as another Forrest Gump story, wherein the fictional hero moves through the 20th century and rubs shoulders with famous people. I was glad that I had five free hours, for I could not stop watching it. I was right. We meet Logan Mountstuart almost immediately in all of his personifications in misty watercolor memories from childhood,. There are many reasons to watch Any Human Heart , not the least of which are the performances. Logan is a flawed, egotistical man whose ambition to write his great novel eludes him.
I wrote the novel Any Human Heart over four years from to My fundamental aim was to write the complete story of one life. And so I conceived of this man, whom I called Logan Mountstuart, and had him born in and set him off on his roller-coaster life until his death in , at the grand old age of I was 46 when I started writing and I wanted, through Logan, to 'live' a lengthy and rambunctious life in the novel, one that was almost twice as long as and many times more complex than the life I had already experienced. When do we start to imagine our own autobiographies? Is there a moment in our lives turning 40, surviving a near-death experience, getting married, hair turning grey, falling seriously ill that inclines us to begin to form the events of our life into a narrative of some sorts; to try to see a shape, a pattern, to configure our individual story?
Any Human Heart: The Intimate Journals of Logan Mountstuart is a novel by William Boyd . Both real and imagined characters are blended into this context, where historical personages are typically used to concentrate the historical.
nobody got time for that ringtone
He was just 18 months old and was overjoyed at the prospect of a beach, sunshine that lasted longer than half an hour and being allowed chips for lunch most days. Rick was delighted for all of the same reasons and at having a plasma TV in our room so huge that the people on it were actually bigger than Hector. Nor did I want to read any crime fiction my usual holiday staple. I love its premise explained so well by the title that this is the journey of anyone with a heart. Born Logan Gonzago Mountstuart in , in Montevideo, to an English corned beef executive and his Uruguayan secretary, our hero dies of heart failure 85 years later in Any Human Heart is the elliptical account of his life, and how his early promise as a writer subsides into a half-century of disappointment.