Life consists of two days, one for you one against you. So when it’s for you don’t be proud or reckless, and when it’s against you be patient, for both days are test for you.
~Hazrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A.S
If you’ve never read a William Boyd novel, this is a good one to start with.
Any Human Heart is a fictionalized journal of a fictional character, Logan Mountstuart. It is a story of a life well-lived and a journey deep into a very human heart. The book is easy to read, the chapters weren’t too long, it is powerful, realistic and a beautiful story. Logan is generous, smart, naïve and selfish which makes him so real and interesting. And like any human journeys, his life has its own ups and downs, accidents, coincidences, tragedies and triumphs.
Aging is also addressed in this book in which there are moments where it is absolutely depressing, you see Logan at his worst. But there are also moments where you’ll see how aging made him wiser. He was never envious of youth.
William Boyd was able to make it like everything is true and that it is indeed from a dead man’s journal. I don’t know if others will agree but this is such an amazing novel where it’s hard to believe that Logan Mountstuart never existed.
And in the end, we get to ask ourselves, “What defines success?” “What is a life well-lived?” Logan reassures us that, “Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary – it is the respective proportion of those two categories that make that life appear interesting or humdrum.”
“I have to start my real life soon, before I die of boredom and frustration.”
“It’s true: lives do drift apart for no obvious reason. We’re all busy people,we can’t spend our time simply trying to stay in touch. The test of a friendship is if it can weather these inevitable gaps.”
“I felt shocked and then saddened. life does this to you sometimes – leads you up a path and then drops you in the shit, to mix a metaphor.”