Ordinary Thunderstorms: Book summary and reviews of Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

Ordinary Thunderstorms

A Novel

By William Boyd

Ordinary Thunderstorms
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2010,
    416 pages.

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Book Summary

A thrilling, plot-twisting novel from the author of Restless, a national bestseller and winner of the Costa Novel of the Year Award.

It is May in Chelsea, London. The glittering river is unusually high on an otherwise ordinary afternoon. Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, ambles along the Embankment, admiring the view. He is pleasantly surprised to come across a little Italian bistro down a leafy side street. During his meal he strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterwards. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents through which Adam will lose everything — home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, mobile phone — never to get them back.

A heart-in-mouth conspiracy 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 the everyday city.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"....All this indicates that Boyd may need to narrow his focus in order to make his undoubted talents effective ... But it would be churlish to be entirely dismissive of the attempt. Boyd's thriller is by and large competent and eminently readable.... If he has not been completely successful, it is because he has found himself distracted by other ideas and possibilities. That seems too good a thing in a writer to wish away." - The Guardian (UK)

"Like many people, I enjoy a William Boyd novel, even, in this case, down to the creaky .... conclusion." - The Telegraph (UK)

"You convince yourself, for a while, that a clever post-modern spoof is under way. But this is a thriller pure and simple. ... The title, and Adam's profession of climatologist, seem to promise a tsunami of weather symbols [but] like so much in this book, it promises a lot more than it delivers." - The Independent (UK)

"At his best, Boyd has a finely tuned ear for the smallest details, such as the socially spot-on name of elite army officer Major Tim Delaporte. Ordinary Thunderstorms is such a peculiar blend of the convincing and unconvincing that it’s probably best enjoyed as a kind of black comedy." - The Times (UK)

"Boyd is from the same generation as Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan and, as a literary technician and raconteur, he is at least their equal. All he has missed is a breakthrough book: this hugely enjoyable tour de force may just prove to be the novel that finally reveals the Scot to the wider audience he deserves." - The Scotsman

"Not just for thriller fans, this engaging blend of trickery, danger, and human eccentricity will appeal to readers who enjoy not only John Grisham but also John Irving." - Library Journal

"The disparate story lines eventually weave a competently plotted tale of corporate and criminal skullduggery that bows under the weight of improbable coincidences and stock characters." - Publishers Weekly

"Fine entertainment, and even finer as a thoughtful exploration of the intersections of different people in a modern metropolis." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

William Boyd Author Biography

Eamonn McCabe

Born in Accra, Ghana, in 1952, William Boyd grew up there and in Nigeria. He attended the universities of Nice and Glasgow as well as Jesus College, Oxford, studying French, English and Philosophy. He was also a lecturer in English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and has been presented with honorary Doctorates in Literature from four other institutions.

William Boyd is the author of eleven novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Literary Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; and Restless, winner of the Costa ...

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