Viking, $32.99 pb, 352 pp
The first three chapters of William Boyd’s beguiling new novel, Trio, are devoted to the waking habits of three people: a novelist called Elfrida Wing, stirred from slumber by the brightening morning sun; a film producer called Talbot Kydd, jolted into a new day by an erotic dream taking place on a beach; and an American actress called Anny Viklund, who, it seems, hasn’t had the time to consider sunrays or reverie. Anny, the only one of the trio not to wake up alone, has spent a vigorous night with a younger man called Troy Blaze.
We soon discover that, despite their dawn chorus of assorted groans, creaks, and flatulence, the members of this trio are acutely dissimilar in almost every other respect. Their one connecting filament – more a strip of celluloid, really – is that they are all in Brighton, England, on the shoot of a film called (deep breath) Emily Bracegirdle’s Extremely Useful Ladder to the Moon.