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The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth

A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs – seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery.

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-of-nerve that wickedly complicate it. These funny, surprising and moving stories are a resounding confirmation of Boyd’s powers as one of our most original and compelling storytellers.

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The Dream Lover

Funny, moving and sharply observed, these stories are confirmation of Boyd’s status as one of English fiction’s finest writers. Here are twenty-four gripping tales told in bold, distinct voices from Brazil to Africa and from Nice to Hollywood. This eclectic collection by the acclaimed author of Restless andBrazzaville Beach is a must-read for any lover of the short story. Some of the stories have previously been published in On the Yankee Station and in The Destiny of Nathalie ‘X’.

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Fascination

This is William Boyd’s third volume of short stories following his acclaimed collections On the Yankee Station (1981) and The Destiny of Nathalie X (1995).

Described as “the finest storyteller of his generation”, Boyd shows his mastery of the form as these stories range widely through time and space. In a brilliant array of styles and narratives we move from 1930s Germany to Los Angeles in the Second World War, from contemporary Oxford to 19th century Russia. Whether in London or Amsterdam. Eastbourne or a Normandy village these stories explore and expose the fraught, funny, absurd, poignant and lovelorn lives of their many and varied characters.

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Restless

It is 1939. Eva Delectorskaya (Hayley Atwell) is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian émigrée living in Paris. As war breaks out she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer (Rufus Sewell), a mysterious Englishman, and under his tutelage she learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one, including those she loves most. Since the war, Eva (Charlotte Rampling in present day) has carefully rebuilt her life as a typically English wife and mother. But once a spy, always a spy. Now she must complete one final assignment, and this time Eva can’t do it alone: she needs her daughter, Ruth’s help (Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery).

Starring: Michael Gambon, Charlotte Rampling, Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell and Michelle Dockery.

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Any Human Heart

Winner of BAFTA Best Drama Serial at the BAFTA Television Awards 2011

An adaptation of William Boyd’s best-selling novel, Any Human Heart tells the story of Logan Mountstuart’s long and rackety life, one which spans every decade of the twentieth century, in all its fantastic and humdrum, dangerous and tranquil, tragic and humorous aspects.

The four films follow Logan from his time in Oxford; through literary marketsuccess with the publication of his ‘racy’ novel ‘The Girl Factory’; through numerous affairs and two marriages; one tragic true love; adventures as a spy behind enemy lines; flirtations with Wallis Simpson; encounters with Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming, sexual scandal in the New York art scene; destitution in Pimlico; unlikely heroism to a final and perhaps even contented death.

Longing

All things pass – is this your philosophy? Is there no room for love in your philosophy of life?

The first play by bestselling author William Boyd, Longing adapts two of Anton Chekhov’s short stories, A Visit to Friends and My Life, to weave a comic tale, at once exotic and familiar.

When Kolia is invited to visit his oldest friends on their Estate in the country he anticipates a pleasant break from Moscow life. But as the comedy of provincial life plays out around him, he finds himself adrift in a miasma of false expectations, missed opportunities, and unspoken passions.

 

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Adaptations of the work of classic Russian playwright Chekhov always have a lasting appeal beyond the life of the production. Drawn from these two short stories, Longing is unique in being a dramatic exploration of a work of Chekhov’s fiction, not simply a new adaptation of one of his plays.

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A Waste of Shame

Shakespeare’s Sonnets are the most compelling source for an emotional and dramatic journey into the psychology of the man himself. Self-analytical, brutally honest,  they are his story told in his own words. Behind the lyrical, beautifully crafted language, a brooding obsession with the ‘Lovely Boy’ and Shakespeare’s extra-marital relationship with a Dark Lady is revealed. The sonnet sequence is his unique meditation on love, sex, mortality and the creative urge, which has tantalised scholars and casual readers alike.

A Waste of Shame is an intense drama about the passionate and destructive love triangle that consumed Shakespere in his troubled middle years adapting some of the most celebrated, sexual, raw, and vitriolic love poems ever written.

The Argument

It was supposed to be a fun night out at the cinema for Meredith and Pip. But Meredith hated the film and Pip didn’t. Now it’s turned into an argument – the perfect opportunity to share their differences.

With their marriage at breaking point, they turn to their respective friends, Jane and Tony. But maybe Jane likes Pip a little too much and maybe Tony doesn’t like Meredith enough.

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Man To Man

Nominated for the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival 2005

1870. Dr. Jamie Dodd has finally succeeded in capturing not one, but two pygmies. He brings them to Scotland with the help of Elena Van den Ende, an adventurous woman who sells wild animals to the zoos of Europe. With his two anthropologist friends, they are certain they have discovered the missing link, which will make them famous. They start examining the pygmy couple from every angle and Jamie gradually discovers that Toko and Likola are just as sensitive and intelligent as any other homo sapiens. His two colleagues strongly reject this idea, seduced by the glory of their discovery. Will Jamie be able to prove they are genuine human beings and not freaks to be shown in a zoo?

Starring Joseph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hugh Bonneville and Iain Glen

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Armadillo

Adapted by William Boyd from his highly acclaimed best-selling novel.

“Loss adjusters are noble men who frustrate and negate the bland promises of insurance. We act out of the great unbending principles in life: nothing is sure, nothing is certain, nothing is free, nothing is forever. It is a noble calling.”

One winter’s morning, loss adjuster Lorimer Black – handsome, intelligent, insomniac – keeps a routine business appointment, only to discover that his client has hanged himself. It’s a bad start to the day by any standards and the beginning of a sinister chain of events that turns Lorimer’s world upside down and inside out in ways he could never have foreseen.

Starring James Frain, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Rea, James Fox, Hugh Bonneville and Neil Pearson.

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Sword of Honour

Winner of three Royal Television Society awards 2001, including Best Original Score

Based on Evelyn Waugh’s semi-autobiographical World War II epic.

Thirty-five-year-old Englishman Guy Crouchback returns home from Italy at the start of the war determined to fight the good fight. Horrified by Nazi barbarism and emotionally shattered by a painful divorce, Crouchback eagerly accepts a post with the elite Royal Corps of Halberdiers. But nothing has prepared him for the absurd reality of life in the British army or the return of his alluring ex-wife.

Starring Daniel Craig, Megan Dodds, Richard Coyle & Leslie Phillips

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Bamboo

Throughout his career as a novelist, William Boyd has never stopped writing non-fiction, providing a fascinating counterpoint to the world of his novels.Bamboo gathers together Boyd’s writing on literature, art, the movie business, television, people he has met, places he has visited and autobiographical reflections on his African childhood and his years at boarding school. From Pablo Picasso to the allure of the British caff, from Charles Dickens to Catherine Deneuve, from mini-cabs to Brideshead Revisited, this collection proves an engrossing and revealing companion to the work of one of Britain’s leading novelists.

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The Trench

Nominated for two British Independent Film Awards including Best Actor (Daniel Craig)

The Trench, set 24hrs before the Battle of the Somme, takes us through the soldiers’ emotional experience in the confines of the trenches; from boredom to fear, panic to restlessness. Billy MacFarlane, 17, and his older brother, Eddie, have volunteered for service and their squad depend on the war-hardened Sergeant Winter and the scholarly Lieutenant Hart for their survival. Then word comes they’re to be in the first wave of attacks…

Starring Daniel Craig, Julain Rhind-Tutt, Paul Nicholls and Cillian Murphy

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