Boyd, William. Any Human Heart. Read by Simon Vance. Blackstone Audio, 2011.
Reason read: Most people start a journal in January. this is one giant journal.
The journals of Logan Mountstuart tell of his long and colorful life as an art dealer, writer, lover, spy, prisoner, and sometimes cad. Spanning December 10th, 1923 to October 5th, 1991 we watch as the 20th century unfolds. What makes Any Human Heart so enticing is the inclusion of real events (World War II, the death of JFK, and the first moon walk, to name a few) and real people, especially from the worlds of art and literature; people like Picasso and Hemingway.
You know the saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover? Well, let it be said, you can’t judge a book by its length either. I was convinced I would have to slog through 500 plus pages half paying attention. Wrong. This was delightful. Devious, but delightful.
There was one review that stuck with me as I was reading Any Human Heart. The New York Times said you could almost forget Logan Mountstuart is not a real person. His journal entries are convincingly honest. I couldn’t agree more.
Lines I liked, “I have no home but all the ingredients of home” (p 181), “You think it begins to diminish with time, the pain, the it comes back and hits you with a rawness and freshness you had forgotten” (p 301), and “As I write this I feel that draining, hollowing helplessness that genuine love for another person produces in you” (p 422). In the end, I loved Logan specifically for this line.
Note: because this was such a long audio book I was afraid I wouldn’t finish listening to it in time. I had to simultaneously read the print version to get through it faster.
Book trivia: this was made into a PBS television series. It aired in 2011.
Author fact: Boyd also wrote Brazzaville Beach, also on my list. Can’t wait to read it.
Nancy said: “wonderful reading” but she said that about the entire chapter and not just Any Human Heart.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter “Just Too Good To Miss” (p 132).