Love is Blind

William Boyd

Love is Blind
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Love is Blind

William Boyd

A sweeping tale of love, revenge and music from one of Britain’s best-loved novelists When Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician, is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future - and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano, Lika Blum. Moving from Paris to St Petersburg to Edinburgh and back again, Brodie’s love for Lika and its dangerous consequences pursue him around Europe and beyond, during an era of overwhelming change as the 19th century becomes the 20th.Love is Blind is a tale of dizzying passion and brutal revenge; of all the possibilities that life can offer, and how cruelly they can be snatched away. At once an intimate portrait of one man’s life and an expansive exploration of the beginning of the 20th century, Love is Blind is a heart-stopping new novel from one of Britain’s greatest writers.


I have to confess that William Boyd is one of my favourite authors; his Any Human Heart is probably his best but Love is Blind comes close. It’s an exotic and sad love story that kept me wanting more.

Love is Blind is set in Edinburgh, Paris, Nice, St Petersburg, Trieste and the Andaman Islands in the late nineteenth century. Brodie Moncur escapes from the constraints of his evangelist father, the famous preacher Malky Moncur, and takes a position at the showrooms of the Scottish piano manufacturers, Channon.

A piano-tuner by trade, Brodie is sent to help at Channon’s Paris branch. An ingenious idea to raise the profile of the Channon brand brings Brodie in contact with the charismatic pianist John Kilbarron and his mistress, the Russian singer Lika Blum. Dubbed the ‘Irish Liszt’, Kilbarron and his machiavellian brother, Malachi, are intrigued by Brodie’s proposal to provide pianos for Kilbarron in return for his endorsement.

Boyd is a masterful storyteller and his characters and their environs leap off the page. Love is Blind is suspenseful, intriguing and heart wrenching. This is a novel to immerse yourself in.

Mark Rubbo is the managing director of Readings.

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