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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Pamela Harvey on 03-20-10
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.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
By Dorothy on 09-07-14
Amazing Story Teller
Any additional comments?
William Boyd is an amazing story teller. I found "Restless" a few months ago and read it on my Kindle. I wondered why I had never really run into Mr. Boyd in my reading travels. I tried a sample of "Ordinary Thunderstorms," but because of my crazy schedule (I run a part time art craft business in addition to working full time) I could not carve out time to read this on the Kindle. I hesitated downloading this Audible addition because the overall rating was only 3.6 stars, and so I vacillated for several months. All I can say is DON'T HESITATE.
This is so well plotted and cleverly told. It is a great suspense novel. It is not formulaic. I also enjoyed it because while it does include some violent illusions, it is not overbearing or gratuitous, the plot moves along swiftly and neatly, almost like a puzzle falling into place. It is also, as other reviewers have pointed out, a fascinating study on the nature of identity. The characters are all fleshed out and Mr. Boyd had imbued all of the primary characters, even the bad guys, with sympathetic human features, no one is a cardboard cutout.
I disagree with those who feel the ending is abrupt. This book allows the reader to savor the experience and continue to think about the possibilities. I highly recommend this book - I will now download Restless and his other offerings. I hope Audible will record all of his books!
The narrator was superb! His voice was perfect and his character delineation is subtle and never overbearing or grating. All in all - a fantastic use of a credit and perfect Audible experience!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful