William Boyd: 'Fiction so real ... you forget it is fiction'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


William Boyd is one of the most prolific and decorated contemporary novelists. This chapter sets out to celebrate the work of Boyd, the novelist, to assess the reasons behind the seeming lack of academic interest, and to take a closer look at a few of his texts that perfectly exemplify his understated writing style that cleverly camouflages postmodern literary techniques. In a recent interview, Boyd acknowledged that, since the late 1980s, he has been ‘trying to make fiction seem so real you forget it is fiction’. The chapter highlights Boyd's postmodern techniques that blur the boundaries between what is real and what is imagined, between fact and fiction, and shows that this, in fact, has become the central tenet of his work. Boyd's use of intertextuality in Any Human Heart is different from the transtextuality that drives The New Confessions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Literature
EditorsRichard Bradford, Madelena Gonzalez, Stephen Butler, James Ward, Kevin De Ornellas
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-119-65264-9, 978-1-118-90226-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-90230-1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameBlackwell Companions to Literature and Culture


  • intertexuality
  • postmodern literary techniques
  • transtexuality
  • William Boyd's work
  • William Boyd's writing style


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