Amory Clay’s first memory is of her father doing a handstand – but it is his absences that she chiefly remembers. Her Uncle Greville, a photographer, gives her both the affection she needs and a camera, which unleashes a passion that irrevocably shapes her future. She begins an apprenticeship with him in London, photographing socialites for magazines. But Amory is hungry for more and her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi-monde of 1920s Berlin, New York in the 1930s, the Blackshirt riots in London, and France during the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first women war photographers.
In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of the twentieth century, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
Sweet Caress was brilliant. We loved the insertion of photographs, the juxtaposition of 1977 and the past, and the voice of Amory Clay.
Boyd is at his best in this sweeping story of a woman photographer on a quest for love and artistic expression, taking in jazz-age Berlin, 1930s New York and wartime London and France. He tracks Amory Clay’s journey from conventional English gentility to celebrated war photographer with an absolute mastery of tone. He has an ability to convey the immediacy of a situation with fluid, precise prose. A skilfully plotted, cleverly constructed and highly entertaining novel. Rich in psychological dept, zingy characters and period detail.