Books

Restless – William Boyd

There are many ways to win a war.

Spying it seems is one of them.

This is the story of Eva, recruited to the British Secret Service during the Second World War. She has never told anyone her story until some thirty years afterwards.

Eva thinks after all this time she is the one being spied on. Her training has stayed with her throughout her life. Will the secrets she kept during the war suddenly be told.

It is the hot summer of 1976, the heat is unbearable it is making everyone restless. For Ruth that restlessness is coming from her mother, Sal she seems to be acting oddly. When Sal hands Ruth a package, she tells her to read it. It is her story, it is her truth.

This book moves between, 1976 told from Ruth’s point of view and the outset of the Second World War in third person as we read Eva’s story. This works up to a point for me, but I did felt Ruth’s sections were a lot more jarring than those of Eva’s.

It was Eva’s story that fascinated me the most, the recruitment, the training and the truths and lies that form a spies life. This is not James Bond. This was sections within sections, not knowing who was doing what “..a small subdivision of an annexe to a subsidiary element linked to the main body”. It was all very confusing which added to the complexity of Eva’s  life.

I have to confess, I saw the television adaptation of this around two years ago and bought the book on that basis. Generally I rarely go and read the book after having watched the programme. My recollection of what happened was a bit hazy and actually I enjoyed the book. Parts of the programme came back to me, but not all and I would certainly like to watch it again, because then I think I would fully appreciate the story as all.

I did get a bit confused and lost within both narratives, there is a lot going on and this is a book you need to concentrate with. Enjoying Eva’s story made me less appreciative of Ruth’s and I think there was much to be learned from Ruth’s story.

Nonetheless an intriguing read.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Restless – William Boyd

  1. It’s years since I’ve read anything by William Boyd and I haven’t seen this on TV, I think I would enjoy reading it. Thanks.

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