Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay

Author(s): William Boyd

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Amory's first memory is of her father doing a handstand. She has memories of him returning on leave during the First World War. But his absences, both actual and emotional, are what she chiefly remembers. It is her photographer uncle Greville who supplies the emotional bond she needs, and, when he gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future.
A spell at boarding school ends abruptly and Amory begins an apprenticeship with Greville in London, living in his flat in Kensington, earning two pounds a week photographing socialites for fashionable magazines. But Amory is hungry for more and her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi monde of Berlin of the late 1920s, to New York of the 1930s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War where she becomes one of the first women war photographers. Her desire for experience will lead Amory to further wars, to lovers, husbands and children as she continues to pursue her dreams and battle her demons.
In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay. It is his greatest achievement to date.

I have enjoyed everything I have read written by William Boyd, he is such a superb and skillful storyteller. His latest is a wonderful blend of history and fiction, as much a story of a woman as it is of last century and the effects of war on the human psyche. Amory Clay, the protagonist, is fictional of course but Boyd portrays her with such conviction that you can't help but want her to exist. 


Born in 1908, Amory becomes a photographer at a time when it was not altogether an accepted career choice for a woman, but she is a forthright and complicated personality and not one to sit back and do the accepted thing. Her camera and her desire for experience take her to the world of Berlin strip clubs in the 1920's, 1930's New York, France in the second World War and then later to Vietnam.

 Boyd has created a wonderfully compelling story of some of the most defining moments of modern history through the lens of Amory's camera.

An entertaining and very enjoyable read. Lynne

$18.99(NZD)

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Product Information

From the internationally bestselling author of Restless comes a compelling story of one woman's extraordinary life - and a heart-wrenching tale of love and war

Shortlisted for Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2016.

English fiction's master storyteller Independent on Sunday Serious, provocative, intelligent, Boyd's writing is endlessly open to ideas Daily Telegraph His eccentric wit and restless intelligence exert a powerful appeal New York Times The energy and inventiveness of Boyd's storytelling is breathtaking London Review of Books

William Boyd is the author of twelve novels including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet and adapted into a BAFTA-winning Channel 4 drama; Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and a Richard Judy selection; the Sunday Times bestseller, Waiting for Sunrise and, most recently, Solo, a James Bond novel. William Boyd lives in London and France. williamboyd.co.uk

General Fields

  • : 9781408867990
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Bloomsbury Paperbacks
  • : April 2016
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : William Boyd
  • : Paperback
  • : 616
  • : en
  • : 823.92
  • : very good
  • : 464