Waiting for Sunrise, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERVienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor, sits in the waiting room of the city's preeminent psychiatrist as he anxiously ponders the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis.

When the enigmatic, intensely beautiful Hettie Bull walks in, Lysander is immediately drawn to her, unaware of how destructive the consequences of their subsequent affair will be.

One year later, home in London, Lysander finds himself entangled in the dangerous web of wartime intelligence - a world of sex, scandal and spies that is slowly, steadily, permeating every corner of his life...




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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

A reviewer in a local paper complained the other day that too many writers were not writing because they had to, rather because they had a good story idea they wanted to utilize. William Boyd may belong to the latter group for all I know, but he is one of the leading contemporary story tellers in the company of John Irving and Ian McEwan. and he gives me immense reading pleasure. Waiting for Sunrise is no exception, this is a great yarn, a true page turner with characters I believe in and want to know more about. Rarely do I read a book these days where I dread reaching the end, because I want it to go on indefinitely. Lysander Rief is a budding actor who goes to Vienna in 1914 to seek psychoanalysis for a sexual problem. In Vienna he gets entangled in a spy story that gets him involved in the first world war. There are some easy solutions here and there that weakens the plot, and a few characters that could have been developed further, but overall Waiting for Sunrise is pure pleasure.

Review by

I stuck with this for 320 pages (of a total of 428) before waving the white flag, and reading the rest of the plot on Wikipedia. I read my first William Boyd novel, Brazzaville Beach, in the 1990s, having been reliably informed that it was wonderful. It wasn't. It was competent and perfectly fine but not the masterpiece I was expecting. I was inspired to read "Waiting For Sunrise" as, once again, I'd read a plethora of positive reviews, and because the story is set in an era that I find fascinating.The plot is long and meandering, switching locations, as often as the book switches genres. The story moves from Vienna, to Sussex, to London, to Geneva and back to London - whilst the plot jumps from psychoanalysis, to tortured relationships, family dramas, trench warfare and spying. It would all have made more sense if the book just focussed on one theme. There are sections of the book that I enjoyed: the opening section, set in Vienna, felt well researched if a little improbable. Unfortunately Boyd's writing is pedestrian with far too many tedious descriptions of rooms and personal appearance.I am baffled by the praise heaped on this book. It is profoundly average with odd moments of interest and excitement. For anyone interested in reading a superb book on spying during World War One, then look no further than W. Somerset Maugham's wonderful "Ashenden". A book based on first hand experience and far more thoughtful, insightful and credible than "Waiting For Sunrise".

Review by

More than just a crime novel. Part One did go on too long for me. It gets better as the book goes on. Lysander Rief, actor, caught up in spying in World War One.

Review by

This was a feverish read, very cleverly done. The ending is wonderfully enigmatic, raising the possibility that everything else in the novel is a lie or a reimagining of the facts to make them sit more comfortably with the protagonist. At face value, it's a WW1 espionage thriller, and a ripping yarn at that. Simultaneously, it's an exploration of the psyche and whether it's ever possible to really locate the truth, because we all have our own version of what the truth is. Wonderful stuff as usual from William Boyd.

Review by

Gripping espionage thriller. Boyd weaves a complex & engrossing narrative - great summer read.