Love is Blind by William Boyd
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.