From BBC Radio 4 – Book at Bedtime:
‘Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay’, the new novel from bestselling author William Boyd, follows one remarkable woman through the decades of the twentieth century.
In 1915, Amory’s uncle unknowingly sets her life on its course when he gives her a Kodak Brownie No. 2 as a present for her seventh birthday, igniting a lifelong passion for photography. Her camera will take her from high society London in the 1920s to the cabaret clubs and brothels of inter-war Berlin; to 1930s New York, the Blackshirt riots in London’s East End, and to France and Germany during the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first female war photographers.
She eventually comes to rest on a remote Scottish island, where she drinks, writes and looks back on a personal life that has been just as rich and complex as her professional one. She remembers the men that have been closest to her – her father, her brother, her lovers – irreparably scarred by two world wars, and reflects upon her own experiences of conflict and loss, passion and joy.
William Boyd is the author of fourteen novels including A Good Man in Africa, An Ice-Cream War, Any Human Heart, Restless, Ordinary Thunderstorms, Waiting for Sunrise and Solo. He lives in London and South West France.
Read by Barbara Flynn
Abridged by Sara Davies
Produced by Mair Bosworth.
Episode 1/10: In 1915, Amory receives a camera from Uncle Greville for her birthday.
Episode 2/10: Amory goes to work for her Uncle, photographing high society events.
Episode 3/10: Amory heads to Berlin in search of scandal.
Episode 4/10: Returning from Berlin and Amory’s plans to scandalise prove all too succesful.
Episode 5/10: Amory begins a new chapter, and a new relationship, in New York
Episode 6/10: Amory learns the full consequences of the Maroon St Riot
Episode 7/10: Amory receives terrible news and is forced to travel to France in search of answers.
Episode 8/10: Amory’s life takes an unexpected turn after the handsome officer tracks her down in Paris.
Episode 9/10: Frustrated with life in Scotland Amory heads into the field once more.
Episode 10/10: As her health declines, Amory wonders whether she should carry on.