Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Boyd's Brazzaville Beach

I was such a fan of William Boyd's novel Waiting for Sunrise that I decided to read one of his earlier novels, Brazzaville Beach, as my first book to read in 2013.   Boyd did not disappoint!  Brazzaville Beach's protagonist is the gutsy Hope Clearwater who lives and works in Africa, studying the behavior of chimpanzees.  After making a game-changing and unsettling discovery about her subjects, this sets into motion various forms of intrigue.  Complete with love stories, civil strife, kidnappings, and sabotages, the story moved at a fast pace and was full of the bright and dark sides of humanity. 

This was a very engrossing, smart, easy to read novel, and shows off just how versatile Boyd is as a writer, having picked a totally different subject matter, era, and backdrop than Waiting for Sunrise.  Highly recommended, and might be interesting to pair with Ann Patchett's State of Wonder as another far flung tale featuring a female protagonist navigating her career and relationships. 

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