Ordinary Thunderstorms

  • by William Boyd
  • Narrated by Gideon Emery
  • 12 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One May evening in London, Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, is feeling good about the future as he sits down for a meal at a little Italian bistro. He strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterward. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents, through which Adam loses everything—home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, cell phone—never to get them back.
The police are searching for him. There is a reward for his capture. A hired killer is stalking him. He is alone and anonymous in a huge, pitiless modern city. Adam has nowhere to go but down—underground. He decides to join that vast army of the disappeared and the missing who throng London’s lowest levels as he tries to figure out what to do with his life and struggles to understand the forces that have made it unravel so spectacularly. Adam’s quest will take him all along the river Thames, from affluent Chelsea to the gritty East End, and on the way he will encounter all manner of London’s denizens—aristocrats, prostitutes, evangelists, and policewomen—and version after new version of himself.
Ordinary Thunderstorms, William Boyd’s electric follow-up to his award-winning Restless, is a profound and gripping novel about the fragility of social identity, the corruption at the heart of big business, and the secrets that lie hidden in the filthy underbelly of every city.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Extra-ordinary Exploration of Identity

This was a terrific read, the writing superb. The characters were detailed and defined, with the city of London and the Thames River a primary player. The details were well documented and the nuanced narrative kept me interested at the expense of other tasks and projects, as I have heard said by other audible.com reviewers talking about other audible books. I think it's this kind of development of minutiae that sustains my attention and separates the excellent novels from the mediocre.

The ending is a giant "maybe" however, and makes the reader want to invent alternate endings, like on some DVDs. As a reader I am not that invested in how a book ends, as I am more interested in character development and the individual experiences of the major figures in a novel. I just don't like abrupt stoppage, and this ending has that "cut off" quality, as though the editors thought the original manuscript was too long.

There were a lot of occasions for suspension of disbelief - in order for the protagonist to accomplish his objectives there had to be certain conditions in place, i.e. (and I don't want to spoil) he needed to be pretty seriously unattached. But novels are part literature and part entertainment, amongst other things, and this one certainly achieves both qualities. I really wanted to keep a notebook with me so that I could record some of the author's phrases which were so articulate, mellifluous, and compelling.
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- Pamela Harvey

Almost as good as "Restless"

I highly recommend this book - it was thrilling and well written. I have listened to at least two hundred audio books. My favorite audio book download ever is "Restless" by William Boyd. The books have different narrators and they're both excellent. I read a previous review of this book and I have to disagree that things were left hanging. I think Boyd did a very clever and realistic job of wrapping the plot pieces up.
I wish Audible would get "Brazzaville Beach" by this author.
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- Pattio

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-23-2010
  • Publisher: HarperAudio