Sweet Caress: Book summary and reviews of Sweet Caress by William Boyd

Sweet Caress

by William Boyd

Sweet Caress by William Boyd X
Sweet Caress by William Boyd
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Book Summary

When Amory Clay was born, in the decade before the Great War, her disappointed father gave her an androgynous name and announced the birth of a son. But this daughter was not one to let others define her; Amory became a woman who accepted no limits to what that could mean, and from the time she picked up her first camera, one who would record her own version of events.

Moving freely between London and New York, between photojournalism and fashion photography, and between the men who love her on complicated terms, Amory establishes her reputation as a risk taker and a passionate life traveler. Her hunger for experience draws her to the decadence of Weimar-era Berlin and the violence of London's Blackshirt riots, to the Rhineland with Allied troops and into the political tangle of war-torn Vietnam. During her ambitious career, the seminal moments of the twentieth century will become the unforgettable moments of her own biography as well.

In Sweet Caress, Amory Clay comes wondrously to life, her vibrant personality enveloping the reader from the start. And, running through the novel, her photographs over the decades allow us to experience this vast story not only with Amory's voice but with her vision. William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!

Some of the recent comments posted about Sweet Caress:

"if you savor nothing, not even the tiniest insignificant feature that the planet and your fellow humans can offer, then you shouldn't hang around, in my opinion." How important is this statement given the end of the book?
Amory truly believes what she said about living and dying. It is how she lived her life, when she could no longer enjoy her life she ended her it. - louisee

Amory faces many challenges in her life. Where did you feel for her most keenly?
I agree with Reene, I felt for Amory most keenly in her relationship with her adult daughter. I think this is because I am a mother of adult children. They live their lives and don't tell you everything. - louisee

Does Amory find what she's looking for in Vietnam?
I'm not sure Amory finds what she's looking for in Vietnam, because I'm not sure she knows what she's looking for. Photography seems to be key to her core being, so maybe that's what she needed and success made her feel worthy again. - poniesnpearls

Does Sweet Caress tell the story of the twentieth century?
In broad terms, I could see this novel being one that's of the 20th century- it details the rapidly changing world and times that defined those yrs. For instance, the dramatically changing roles available to women were highlighted, as well as the ... - alissac

Greville and Amory have a game in which they sum up people in four words. What four words would you use to describe Amory?
Unmoored, under-appreciated, undeterred, unconventional - AubLibDir

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"In addition to the psychologically rich characterization, a wealth of atmospheric details ... add depth, immediacy, and authenticity to an engrossing, moving story." - Publishers Weekly

"The authenticity of Boyd's research, the mix of historical events and real-life figures such as Hannelore Hahn and Margaret Bourke-White with pure literary invention, as well as the captivating photos that illustrate this sweeping, glorious novel will confound readers into believing that this bold, brilliant woman photographer did have a place in history. Simply stunning." - Library Journal

"Few contemporary writers are able to evoke the ambiance and drama of our recent past as forcefully as Boyd ... And [his] characters are as beguiling as his prose." - The Washington Post

"Entertaining and seemingly effortless in their fluency, [Boyd's] novels conceal insights into human behavior that are more intricate than may first appear." - The New York Times Book Review

This information about Sweet Caress was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Love Good Lit

Wonderful
One should buy Boyd's mystery writing because it funds his real writing, such as this gorgeous novel and the novel he was born to write, Any Human Heart. Beautiful character depiction, gorgeous phrasing, and a humanity rarely found in modern writing. Buy Boyd.

Joane Wolpin

Sweet caress
I found this book to be not as good as his previous books.I enjoyed some of the history interwoven with the photography but on the whole the characters lacked realism.

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Author Information

William Boyd Author Biography

Eamonn McCabe

William Boyd has received world-wide acclaim for his novels. They are: A Good Man in Africa (1981, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize) An Ice Cream War (1982, shortlisted for the 1982 Booker Prize and winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Stars and Bars (1984), The New Confessions (1987), Brazzaville Beach (1990, winner of the McVitie Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize) The Blue Afternoon (1993, winner of the 1993 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, 1995), Armadillo (1998) and Any Human Heart (2002, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet). His novels and stories have been published around the world and have been translated into over thirty languages.  He is also the author of a collection of ...

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