Thunderstorms in London

16 06 2011

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

Adam, a climatologist in flight from America and a sexual indiscretion that has thrown a spanner into his marriage and his academic career, is in London for a job interview. Dining alone, he strikes up a conversation with Philip Wang, an immunologist who subsequently leaves a sheaf of papers in the restaurant; when Adam attempts to return them, he finds his new acquaintance taking a siesta with a bread knife in his side. A clever man, Kindred immediately does two stupid things: he removes the bread knife, thus ensuring both death and fingerprints, and goes on the run, pursued by Wang’s killer. With a murderer and, shortly, the police on his trail, he creates a hidey-hole in an overshadowed piece of rough ground on the Embankment and settles down to a life of subterfuge, vagrancy and killing seagulls for dinner.

A nice review in the Guardian of this. It is an extremely good effort and an entertaining thriller. As the review says, it does feel that there are bigger themes in here struggling to get out and that things could have gone in rather different, and perhaps more interesting, directions at some point. Nevertheless, a really good read and the details of Adam’s battle for survival in London as a non-person are compelling.

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