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Waiting for Sunrise (2012)

por William Boyd

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1,0535419,521 (3.59)84
Wrongly accused of rape, Lysander Rief, a young English actor, finds his life taking a dangerous turn when the men who help him escape a conviction recruit him for a lethal mission that leads him to a traitor who is linked to his family.
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Lysander Rief is an actor taking time in Vienna to sort out his sexual problems. Betrayed after a tempestuous love affair, he gets drawn into the First World War as an intelliegence officer in quest of a traitor. Though the morally ambiguous Rief is not an entirely attractive character, Boyd's sense of time and place and his weaving of a complex pacey and plausible plot makes for a compulsive page-turner. I got a bit lost at the end: I'm obviously not cut out for a career as any kind of intelligence officer. But who cares? I had a very good read. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
A wonderful storyteller. He has the ability to transform you to a time in history where often a major event is happening or about to take place. In this instance it is Vienna 1913 and Lysander Rief, an out of work actor is visiting an eminent psychiatrist when the beautiful elfin Hettie Bull walks in. A passionate, and ultimately doomed affair commences that will have long reaching consequences. Meanwhile 1 year later in London Riel is employed by wartime intelligence service to identify the person at the heart of government who is supplying valuable confidential wartime information to the enemy. As always I was swept along with Boyd’s descriptive prose and his very precise sympathetic nod to the events of that time. His books not only entertain but also educate. I was not aware of Turner Cars, founded in Wolverhampton in 1902, who manufactured one of the earliest 2 seater open tourer sports cars simply named the Turner 2 seater. This was the plaything of Lysander’s uncle Hamo, a colourful character, who enjoys a pivotal role in this superb novel. Highly recommended. ( )
  runner56 | Jan 19, 2023 |
Verano de 1913. El joven actor Lysander Rief, animado por las noticias que llegan a Londres sobre los éxitos del psicoanálisis, se desplaza a Viena para tratarse un problema sexual. Allí acude a la consulta del doctor Bensimon, discípulo de Freud, donde irrumpe una mujer por la que se siente atraído: la misteriosa Hettie Bull. La ciudad bulle, la cerveza corre y los vieneses llenan las terrazas y parques, una vida sugerente que cautiva al elegante Lysander quien, embarcado en una apasionada relación con Hettie, parece haber encontrado la cura a su dolencia. De regreso a Londres y con la guerra inminente, sus vivencias en Viena lo persiguen e involucran en un escenario inesperado de espionaje, escándalos y sexo.
  Natt90 | Jul 20, 2022 |
For reasons I can’t fathom, I had found myself re-reading a lot of books during 202, even before COVID-19 took such devastating hold, leading to lockdown, and what amounted almost to house arrest. Certainly since the restrictions came into force, I have found it surprisingly difficult to engage with new books, and have found myself returning to old favourites. Thjat mystifies me. I am not aware f feeling any particular anxiety, and, from a wholly selfish perspective, I have really done very well out of the lockdown. As a civil servant normally based in Whitehall, I have been able to continue working (indeed, my department has been busier than ever), so am one of the fortunate few still being paid, but am now saving the £50 per week that I previously spent on commuting. Not being able to wander down to Daunt Books any more means that I haven’t been haemorrhaging money there every weekend, either! I am pretty confident that I am going to have a huge catch-up binge once the restrictions are lifted.

Still, back to the business in hand. This novel is certainly another winner from William Boyd. It bears many of the characteristics of his most successful works - the use parallel texts to allow for different perspectives, the gradual uncovering of characters' secret histories and even (briefly) wrongful imprisonment vaguely reminiscent of "Any Human Heart".

It opens in 1913 with principal character Lysander Rief, a moderately successful actor who is just beginning to make a name for himself on the London stage, having moved temporarily to Vienna, to enable him to access psychoanalytical help for an embarrassing and difficult "condition". He is persuaded by his analyst, Dr Bensimon, to maintain a diary or commonplace book, as a vehicle for the cathartic chronicling of his progress. While attending his first appointment with Dr Bensimon, Rief encounters Hester "Hettie" Bull, with whom he promptly falls deeply in love, despite his hitherto plangent letters to his fiancé, Blanche, who has remained in London.

As luck would have it, on that same day he also meets Alwyn Munro at Dr Bensimon's surgery. Munro is a special attaché at the British Embassy in Vienna. This acquaintance will shortly prove very fortuitous as things are about to go very wrong.

After an unexpectedly adventurous departure from Vienna, Rief finds himself back in London where he tries to resume his acting career, before becoming immersed in Britain's war effort. After having signed up to the East Sussex Light Infantry, and spent some time guarding an internment camp, his former acquaintances catch up with him, and he finds himself reassigned to very different activities, with wholly unexpected consequences.

I don’t want to summarise much further, for fear of inadvertent spoilers. As ever with William Boyd, the plot is entirely believable and the characters immensely plausible. His narrative, and dialogue ring true, even when encompassing the esoterica arising from psychoanalysis or the world of military intelligence. I don’t remember this book stirring the customary eulogies from the reviewers when it was published, which is strange, because I think it is a notable addition to his canon, even if it lacks the fireworks of Restless, its predecessor. To say that William Boyd seems to go from strength to strength might be somewhat superfluous for such an established figure in the literary world, but that does not make it any less true. ( )
  Eyejaybee | May 7, 2020 |
This was very much a novel of two halves: the first was a young man's adventures in Vienna that got a sudden and unexpected end, the second half a First World War with a spying plot where I was struggling to suspend my disbelief when twist after twist turned up. OK as something to read on the bus. ( )
  mari_reads | May 13, 2019 |
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Wrongly accused of rape, Lysander Rief, a young English actor, finds his life taking a dangerous turn when the men who help him escape a conviction recruit him for a lethal mission that leads him to a traitor who is linked to his family.

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