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The old pretender

Has William Boyd finally achieved highbrow status? Or is it just another jape at the expense of the critics?

By Keith Bruce   74

Any human heart

William Boyd

Hamish Hamilton, ?17.99 

William Boyd’s new novel is the last word in an elaborate jape played at the expense of a critical establishment that sees him not as a peer of Martin Amis or Ian McEwan but as an enjoyable storyteller who sells lots of books.

Boyd’s career as a novelist dates back two decades to the Whitbread-winning A Good Man in Africa and the Booker-nominated An Ice-Cream War-which respectively captured a continent and encapsulated a period with readable good humour. More recently, he has directed his first self-scripted movie, The Trench, as well…

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