Boyd, William. “Trio: A Novel”, Knopf, 2021.
Three Unforgettable Characters
William Boyd’s “Trio: A Novel” has a dark undertow and is set around three unforgettable individuals and a doomed movie set. We have a producer, a novelist and an actress during the summer ]of 1968 when war and assassinations, protests and riots were everywhere. While the world is reeling, the trio is involved in making a disaster-plagued, Swingin’ Sixties British movie in Brighton. All three lead secret lives that become increasingly more untenable. Pressures build and the FBI and CIA get involved. Someone is going to crack–or maybe all three will.
Anny is a young, popular American actress; Talbot is a beleaguered producer and Elfrida is married to the director. Their stories are told in alternating chapters.
The three characters also act off set, their inner lives hidden, secrets kept, fractured souls. Each has outward dramas, fears, insecurities that manifest in different ways. Some will succeed, others will struggle, not all happy endings.
Elfrida Wing is a novelist with early successes but now has had writers block for ten years and so she has turned to drink. She’s married to the philandering film director Reggie Tipton who prefers to go by Roderigo Talbot Kidd, a film producer of more than a dozen films, he’s married but in name only. Anny Viklund is an American star. We have descriptions which capture the tumultuous 60’s, the sex, drugs, political upheaval and huge political and social changes.
Boyd’s is quite a storyteller who mixes tragedy and comedy and emotion to give us this fast moving story. It is a comedy of manners that moves back and forth between the complicated inner and outer lives of its characters.