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Extended Audio Sample Any Human Heart, by William Boyd Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,803 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Boyd Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Bestselling author William Boyd—the novelist who has been called a “master storyteller” (Chicago Tribune) and “a gutsy writer who is good company to keep” (Time)—here gives us his most entertaining, sly, and compelling novel to date. The novel evokes the tumult, events, and iconic faces of our time as it tells the story of Logan Mountstuart—writer, lover, and man of the world—through his intimate journals. It is the “riotous and disorganized reality” of Mountstuart’s eighty-five years in all their extraordinary, tragic, and humorous aspects.

The journals begin with his boyhood in Montevideo, Uruguay, then move to Oxford in the 1920s and the publication of his first book, then on to Paris where he meets Joyce, Picasso, Hemingway, et al., and to Spain, where he covers the civil war. During World War II, we see him as an agent for naval intelligence, becoming embroiled in a murder scandal that involves the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The postwar years bring him to New York as an art dealer in the world of 1950s abstract expressionism, then on to West Africa, to London where he has a run-in with the Baader-Meinhof Gang, and, finally, to France where, in his old age, he acquires a measure of hard-won serenity. This is a moving, ambitious, and richly conceived novel that summons up the heroics and follies of twentieth-century life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Boyd does such a nimble job of ventriloquism in the book’s opening sections that we find ourselves forgetting that Mountstuart is a fictional character.”

    New York Times

  • “Such an antic plot should not succeed, and yet disbelief remains suspended, thanks to Boyd’s skill in producing a novel that successfully mimics a diary in all its human pettiness. He allows Mountstuart’s voice to age like port.”

    New Yorker

  • “A pleasure front to back, and a fond tip of the bowler hat to the upper-class fiction spawned by a long-gone world.”


  • “Boyd has an exceptional ability to tell a really compelling story, in dense imaginative detail, about characters with complex, and convincing, emotional lives…I’ve already read this book twice and probably shall again. Of how many novels can that be said?”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  •  “Its pleasures are endless…Supremely entertaining.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “A novel of deep humanity and insight.”


  • “One of the most skillful and appealing writers at work today.”

    Atlantic Monthly

  • “A wonderful character—and a wonderful book…Boyd persuades you that you’ve read the confidences of a real, flawed, marginal character battered by every malice and caprice of twentieth-century history.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Entertaining and moving…Can be read with sheer pleasure not only for the delicacy of its emotions but for the truth of its perceptions. Like saying goodbye to a good friend, it’s hard to see this brilliant novel come to an end.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “The sort of rare novel that redeems the essential purpose of prose fiction…A high celebration of the plain fun of a life lived with relentless appetite and reasonable grace.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Some nine years after its original publication, Boyd’s classic novel finds its way to audio, with Simon Vance narrating the lifetime of diary entries that tell the story of shambling hero and Englishman Logan Mountstuart. Spanning many decades, the book follows Mountstuart as he navigates boarding school, the 1929 Wall Street crash, WWII, and a very long life—all while meeting a host of famous artists and writers along the way. Vance narrates at a brisk clip, almost faster than the prose demands—but by doing so, he captures the essential Mountstuart: a man unsure about the meaning of a life that is speeding along. And for Boyd’s comic, overstuffed, heartbreaking gem of a novel, this is just right.”

    Publishers Weekly audio review

  • “Surely one of the most beguiling books of this season.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Lavishly imagined…This is a masterfully drawn historical novel, utterly convincing in its depiction of events…Brimming with vitality, pathos, and psychological intimacy. Enthusiastically recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “A remarkable achievement.”


  • A 2003 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • A 2003 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction
  • Longlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Phoebe | 2/20/2014

    " AMAZING. I had to cry at the end -- not because it was sad, but just to release some of the pent up emotion that came from spending 500 pages with such a fab character. why aren't all books this awesome? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by ashok | 2/8/2014

    " I bought this in a cafe in Lamu. It had coffee stains and the pages were all curled up. I read it about a year later -- this is a chronological novel about a man's life, and his changing attitudes and points of view as he grows older. As with many of Boyd's novels there are snippets of history woven into the story ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dennis Mckay | 1/27/2014

    " This book had me from the first page to the last as it follows the life of a flawed but fascinating character through most of the 20th Century. One of the best books I have ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Graeme | 1/27/2014

    " The story of Logan Mountstuart, apparently told by the man himself - just thoroughly absorbing, riveting, entertaining storytelling. Thought The New Confessions was good - this was even better. "

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