‘Trio’ by William Boyd – Filming A Movie in Brighton in 1968


‘Trio’ by William Boyd (2021) – 312 pages


‘Trio’ gives us a nice mix of interesting characters and clever plots. William Boyd’s fictions are usually rollicking reads with lots of memorable persons and events. Perhaps he is not the most original or most deep or most intense of novelists, but I have usually found his novels to be pleasurable adventures to read, and ‘Trio’ is no exception.

William Boyd has been a dependable read for me over the years. Boyd can juggle the situations of each of a large group of characters and keep me entertained with their various stories. Boyd has a talent for making characters and scenes come alive on the page. This is no small talent, a talent for old-fashioned story telling.

This is not a novel with a lot of or any fascinating quotes, but the plot of the story and the interesting way William Boyd tells the story propels the reader forward, keeps the reader reading at a breakneck pace.

It starts out as a fairly light almost comedy, but the three (a trio) main characters’ lives gain resonance and poignancy as the novel progresses.

The movie being made is a typical swinging Sixties English movie entitled ‘Emily Bracegirdle’s Extremely Useful Ladder to the Moon’, perhaps a little too ridiculous for a movie title.

Twenty-eight year old lead actress Anny Viklund has fallen in love with her current leading man Troy Blaze who is four years younger than she is. However a previous boyfriend causes trouble for her on the set.

Talbot Kydd is the producer of the film. He has a wife and two children, but he cannot deny that he has an underlying sexual attraction toward men. This is treated as just another feature that some of the characters in this large cast of characters have. There is no judgment or approbation, it is just there like everything else.

Elfrida Wing, the director’s wife, is a fiction writer. She had published some early novels, but for ten years she has suffered from writer’s block. She has now started a new novel called ‘The Last Day of Virginia Woolf’, after a long dry spell. The river Ouse at Sussex in which Virginia Woolf drowned and the house that Leonard Woolf still lived in in 1968 are nearby. Our author Elfrida actually gets into the River Ouse at one point.

I found ‘Trio’ to be a lively and enjoyable read.


Grade:    B+



2 responses to this post.

  1. I’m not a huge Wm Boyd fan, although I read some of his work years ago. I remember reading a Guardian review of this one some time ago and thought it sounded fun, which your review certainly confirms. This one’s a “maybe” for me!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Hi Janakay,
      I was quite taken with William Boyd’s first two novels, ‘A Good Man in Africa’ and ‘The Ice-Cream Wars’, but I’ve only read a couple of his novels since then, all of them well-done but not overwhelming for me.

      Liked by 1 person


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