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Restless by William Boyd
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Restless (2006)

by William Boyd

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English (95)  Danish (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All (99)
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In 1976 Sally Gilmartin discloses secrets about her origins to her daughter Ruth. Sally, once a Russian émigré named Eva Declectorskaya, became involved in the world of espionage during the war. She's been hiding in a quiet life since she escaped the group, and now over thirty years later fears that someone is watching her. Ruth had no idea of her mother's Russian background or the espionage, and wonders if her mother is losing her mind. The story alternates between Sally's intrepid, perilous story and Ruth's, a single mother, English tutor, and academic, living a lifestyle so ordinary that the difference is clearly startling. Boyd's plot sounds implausible, but as the story progresses it becomes credible. He maintains the pace right to the end. He also conveys both eras so skillfully that the reader can slip from one to the other with ease.

Verbose authors should take note: Boyd covers an elaborate story and the well-drawn characters concisely, without waffling or padding, and leaves the reader feeling like they have just had more. Well written and very enjoyable. ( )
2 vote VivienneR | Aug 16, 2017 |
I'm not sure if this was a re-read or not; or if I saw a tv adaptation of it or something; it felt very familiar throughout. Interesting and reasonably well written, with some far-fetched bits ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
I've read the book a few years ago and just had an opportunity to see the mini series on Netflix and both the book and movie are excellent. I do think reading the book first before the movie was a plus. It made the movie that much better to watch. I had to watch the whole mini series in one sitting which was around 3 or 4 hours long. ( )
  nevans1972 | May 3, 2016 |
Not usually a fan of spy fiction but this was gripping - now looking forward to watching the DVD. ( )
  siri51 | Apr 11, 2016 |
Boyd's narrators all seem to have one thing in common - a uniquely conversational charm paired with a wonderful clarity of voice. Plus, they tend to get caught up right in the thick of things historically. That we become embroiled in these historical events is a tribute to Boyd's skill. I still think _Any Human Heart_ is his best book of the five I've read. Though an an exciting spy story, I kept waiting for one of the daughter's students or boarders to enter the plot in a more substantive fashion. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Boydprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pike, RosamundNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
We may, indeed, say that the hour of death is uncertain, but when we say this we think of that hour as situated in a vague and remote expanse of time; it does not occur to us that it can have any connection with the day that has already dawned and can mean that death may occur this very afternoon, so far from uncertain, this afternoon whose timetable, hour by hour, has been settled in advance. One insists on one's daily outing, so that in a month's time one will have had the the necessary ration of fresh air; one has hesitated over which coat to take, which cabman to call; one is in the cab, the whole day lies before one, short because one must be back home early, as a friend is coming to see one; one hopes it will be fine again tomorrow; and one has no suspicion that death, which has been advancing within one on another plane, has chosen precisely this particular day to make its appearance in a few minutes' time . . .
~ Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
Dedication
for Susan
First words
When I was a child and was being fractious and contrary and generally behaving badly, my mother used to rebuke me by saying:' One day someone will come and kill me and then you'll be sorry'; or, 'They'll appear out of the blue and whisk me away - how would you like that?'; or, 'You'll wake up one morning and I'll be gone. Disappeared. You wait and see.'
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He waved to her, and she went to her office, thinking that there seemed to be every kind of community in the United States--Irish, Hispanic, German, Polish, Czech, Lithuanian, and so on--but no British community. Where were the British-Americans? Who was going to put their case to counter the arguments of the Irish-Americans, the German-Americans, the Swedish -Americans and all the others? (p.149)
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Someone is trying to kill Sally Gilmartin. It is the summer of 1976, and the only person she can trust is her daughter, Ruth, a young single mother struggling with her own demons. Now Sally must tell her daughter the truth: She is actually Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian émigré recruited for the British Secret Service in 1939. Soon Ruth is drawn deeper into the astonishing events of her mother’s past, including her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward U.S. involvement in Second World War and her dangerous love affair with another spy. Ruth also discovers that her mother has one final assignment. This time, though, Eva can’t do it alone—she needs Ruth’s help.
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What happens to your life when everything you thought you knew about your mother turns out to be an elaborate lie? During the long, hot summer of 1976, Ruth Gilmartin discovers that her very English mother Sally is really Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian emigree and one-time spy.… (more)

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