Trio | Books

It’s been a while since I read a book that got me thinking as much as this one did.

I picked it up in one of my favourite bookshops – Griffin Books in Penarth – as a Saturday morning treat, after hearing plenty of great things about it.

Beautiful, heart-rending and real, Trio whisked me out of my 2021 flat in Wales and plonked me right in the heart of Brighton in the swinging sixties. And I was in for a treat.

Photo by Hert Niks on

Who wrote it?

William Boyd – author of other classics that I’m dying to read such as Any Human Heart and Love is Blind.

How long is it?

352 pages in my hardcover edition.

So, what happens?

The book centres around three characters – Talbot Kydd, Elfrida Wing and Anny Viklund. All three are at once complicated and captivating.

Talbot is producing a film in Brighton that Anny is starring in and Elfrida’s husband is directing. Or at least that’s the story at its most simple layer.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what this book is about without ruining it for you but let’s just say that each of these characters has a lot going on behind the scenes. Whether it’s sexuality, alcohol, drugs or desire, all three have their own stories to tell and their own vices to contend with.

What are my thoughts?

I found myself talking about this book so much – or trying to, but never quite finding the words. Which makes writing a review a little difficult – ha!

But what I took from this absolute masterpiece was two things.

One – a huge lesson in the art of writing. Boyd is an utter genius in the way he introduces his characters – in just a few short sentences, he manages to encapsulate their whole being.

A wonderful storyteller, he keeps you reading as you flit back and fore between the three characters and their narratives.

The second thing I learned was that things are never as they first appear, and that goes for general life too.

Behind every character, we see the masks they wear to the outside world and their vulnerabilities when they’re alone. We even see the narratives they create for themselves, as though they’re completely free of Boyd’s jurisdiction.

The entire book feels so real and true, with so much wit and rawness throughout, you sometimes forget you’re reading a novel. Brighton in the sixties as a setting just makes it all the more engaging, I could see everything so clearly.

Our three characters all have very different outcomes when the book comes to its close with some finding salvation while others come to a sad end. I’ll leave it to you to discover how the stories play out.

Final verdict – 4/5

A glimpse into the lives of three characters in sixties Brighton will have you page-turning long into the night.


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