Van has finished reading…Any Human Heart by William Boyd

5 Jun

It takes a lifetime to realise the fullness of living. It’s a long game. It’s Gibran’s depths and heights and the truth of it is that we really do rarely know those moments where we are at either. I guess when we’re young we tend toward dreams of being, as Malcolm Bradbury had it ‘important in a world historical sense’ (I hope I’ve got that right). But it’s when we’re older that we hope to be somewhere near to the centre of someone’s world, and the rest can please themselves. There’s a fundamental honesty about Logan Mountstuart’s journals that had me rooting for him when that moment came. And it brought a lump to my throat when it went. Strangest of all for me though was the loss of Bowser. It seemed to sum up all LMS’s losses in one and at a point where there was nothing to do but mourn them. I almost wished him corporeal, and my grief was the lack of presence from which my comforting could comfort me.
It’s really something of a quiet work of art, this book. It shows how every life is both ordinary and extraordinary – possibly the most apt quote to be pulled from a book and blazoned on the cover. LMS is so expertly flawed, fallible and emotional – and he’s a man who knows how, and when, to swear to great effect. I couldn’t help but warm to him as he aged, and the subtle victory of ‘WHO KILLED HARRY OAKES’ very nearly made me cheer. It’s not beautifully written, and hooray for that. It is a journal. It IS a journal, and that’s why it works so well.
Read it. Even the index; it’s a life in bullet points.


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