Author: alan

The spy master’s style

John le Carré’s fiction could be simultaneously old-fashioned and thoroughly modern, but what made it Le Carré-esque? The sudden and unexpected death of John Le Carré last month inevitably prompts an evaluation of the both the work and the man. There are more than two dozen novels, the most recent of which, Agent Running in […]

Covid kicked us all off the featherbed of civilisation

2020 catapulted the world into ‘interesting times’ and we’ve been through the five stages of grief — but in reverse, says William Boyd May you live in interesting times,” so the disarming old Chinese curse goes. Of course “interesting” in this sense is a loaded word full of threatening, unsettling nuances like anarchic, turbulent, disastrous, […]

British Films In The Swinging Sixties

By William Boyd for the New Statesman. I was seventeen when 1969 became 1970 so, logically and irrefutably, I had lived through the so-called Swinging Sixties. I do remember going to a discotheque in London when I was sixteen, called Samantha’s, I think, and dancing around a white e-type Jaguar in the middle of the […]

1968 – The Year The Sixties Exploded

By William Boyd for the Guardian. In the summer of 1968 I was sixteen years old and, in retrospect, those months appear significant for me only because I had sat my “O” level examinations, all eleven of them, and was waiting apprehensively for the results. Consequently, the rest of the summer of ’68 remains something […]

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