William Boyd’s masterful new novel tells, in a series of intimate journals, the story of Logan Mountstuart—writer, lover, art dealer, spy—as he makes his often precarious way through the twentieth century.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Any Human Heart|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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Any Human Heart
Webmaster's Note: Footnotes have been inserted in appropriate places. In the actual text, they appear at the bottom of
the page, as usual.
PREAMBLE TO THESE JOURNALS
"Yo, Logan," I wrote. "Yo, Logan Mountstuart, vivo en la Villa Flores, Avenida de Brasil, Montevideo, Uruguay,
America del Sur, El Mundo, El Sistema Solar, El Universo." These were the first words I wrote-or to be more precise,
this is the earliest record of my writing and the beginning of my writing life-words that were inscribed on the flyleaf of
an indigo pocket diary for the year 1912 (which I still possess and whose pages are otherwise void). I was six years old.
It intrigues me now* to reflect that my first written words were in a language not my own. My lost fluency in Spanish is
probably my greatest regret about my otherwise perfectly happy childhood. The serviceable, error-dotted, grammatically
unsophisticated Spanish that I speak today is the poorest of poor cousins to that instinctive colloquial jabber that spilled
out of me for the first nine years of my life. Curious how these early linguistic abilities are so fragile, how unthinkingly
and easily the brain lets them go. I was a bilingual child in the true sense, namely that the Spanish I spoke was
indistinguishable from that of a Uruguayan.
* This preamble was probably written in 1987 (see p. 464).
Uruguay, my native land, is held as fleetingly in my head as the demotic Spanish I once unconsciously spoke. I retain an
image of a wide brown river with trees clustered on the far bank as dense as broccoli florets. On this river, there is a
narrow boat with a single