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As a young girl, Amory Clay’s life is shaped irrevocably by her father’s absence from it. This absence leads her uncle Greville, a society photographer, to take Amory under his wing and teach her the rudiments of photography. When she moves to London after her father’s suicide attempt, Amory’s apprenticeship to Greville lacks the art and passion she desires to extract both from her photography and her life.
Following an aborted seduction, Amory leaves for Berlin, seeking a “scandal” and a way to make a name for herself. From Berlin to New York to London to Paris, Amory’s work and love define her: she is a female photographer in a field dominated by men, and she is a woman seeking fulfilment personally.
Amory yearns after experience, and this yen leads her first to the hellish aftermath of World War Two in France, and later to the terrors of Vietnam.
But these are merely punctuated events of a more fascinating, more complex life lived within the confines of her own mind, where she reflects on her past relationships, her father, and her desires as a woman: for success, for recognition, for passion, and for love. Above all, it is Amory’s desire for a life fully lived that propels her forward, until finally she seeks something more.
Reviews, News & Interviews:
an audacious, sweeping, rich layer of cake. -Observer
Boyd deals with heavy themes with the lightest touch. We’re lucky to have him writing for us. -John Sutherland, The Times
Boyd is as good as ever at capturing time and place, and at blurring the line between fact and fiction. -Daily Telegraph