Amory Clay, photographer and photo-journalist, was born in 1908, only two years after Logan Mountstuart, writer, poseur and ‘scribivelard’. Amory died in 1983; Logan in 1991. Though shaped by the same era, their accounts of their lives are tonally worlds apart. Logan is flamboyant, self-regarding, lyrical, self-pitying; Amory plainer, braver, yet less self-revealing.
Both, of course, are fictional, and both are protagonists woven by William Boyd into novels where they rub shoulders with historical characters. Amory, however, born into an era in which Vivians, Evelyns and Beverleys could be of either sex, is female.
Boyd’s representation of a certain sort of female voice is pitch-perfect, chiefly because he is not trying too hard to signal Amory’s femininity.