A producer. A novelist. An actress. It's summer 1968--a time of war and assassinations, protests and riots. While the world is reeling, our trio is involved in making a disaster-plagued, Swingin' Sixties British movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives.
... brilliantly drawn, often grotesque characters make Trio Boyd’s funniest book since 1998’s Armadillo ... Boyd, a screenwriter and occasional director himself, beautifully captures the chaos and exhilaration of a shambolic film set, in which unforeseen disasters andskulduggery create their own opportunities and problems ... where Trio succeeds beautifully is in its creation of a phantasmagorical, dope- and alcohol-saturated world, in which Jimmy Webb’s MacArthur Park is always playing in the background.
This is a book about the absurd business of film-making, the desperate business of writing a novel and the ludicrous business of acting – and it’s superbly wry and wise and funny and truthful on all three subjects ... But, beneath that, it’s really a novel about the correspondences between the inner and the outer lives of human beings: a novel, in other words, about identity ... Boyd is a highly accomplished writer and Trio is a masterclass in artistic technique. He introduces his characters impressively quickly and with deft ingenuity: a brief paragraph and they’re real, rich and visible to the reader ... The balance of plot movement and interiority is also perfectly calibrated – action and ideas, drama and sensibility, stuff happening and people thinking. The reader is neither bored nor taken for an idiot ... And yet, what was missing was madness, rage, despair, something existentially incandescent – whatever Boyd’s version of that might be. If you’re lucky enough to have a late period, you might as well burn.
Boyd writes from a position of knowledge. His depictions of artists working in other forms have always been convincing ... The same is true of the characters in his new novel ... Boyd’s prose is as fluent as ever, but it’s the ideas pulsing beneath the surface of the story that distinguish Trio ... Trio is affecting as a subtle exploration of the relationship between individuals and history and as a depiction of characters who are searching for the things that make life worth living, whether they find them in film, literature or elsewhere.