12 August 2009

Armadillo by William Boyd

An insurance adjuster in a Black Watch plaid suit. It doesn't get any better.

Conversation between the main character, Lorimar Black and his antique dealer (and sartorial mentor), Ivan.

I remember the day I thought I had caught Ivan out. He was wearing a hairy, snot green tweed suit with black brogues. I pointed to them and said, "Ivan, the ultimate sin - - black shoes with tweed."

"Oh, you're completly wrong, Lorimar, this is very acceptable. I'm glad you noticed it, however. It's a sign of a deeper malaise, something that's been worrying me for years.

""What's that?""It's been difficult, but I've decided that the brown shoe must be condemned. Suede yes, a brown boot-just. But I think the brown shoe is fundamentally below the salt. Something irretrievably petit bourgeois about a brown shoe, quintessentially suburban and infra dig. I threw all mine out last week, fourteen pairs, some I've had for decades. Threw them in a dustbin. I can't tell you how relieved I am, the weight off my mind.""All brown shoes?""Yes. No gentleman should wear a brown shoe ever. The brown shoe is finished. The brown shoe, Lorimer, has got to go."

From Armadillo by William Boyd


skorpeo said...

another book to add to the list. my wife may have some choice words for you, tintin, as an accomplice to my ever increasing book fetish.

(basic training d-day -82)

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Great book! But I'm not sure what is worse: the fact Ivan disapproves of brown shoes (even a rich chestnut calf?!!), or that he discarded his old shoes without putting them on eBay--or offering them to an Ask Andy regular.

Tintin, are you a WB fan? I'm re-reading An Ice-Cream war at the moment.

tintin said...

Skorp- Take the book to basic with you. It'll be one heck of a contrast.

LBT- I read, 'Any Human Heart' and was forever a Boyd fan. Armadillo was my 2nd Boyd novel and Nat Tate is next on my list. Although I could keep reading Any Human Heart over and over for the rest of my life.

M.Lane said...

This sounds like a great book, I will look for it.

As for the shoes, Sinatra called people "charlie brown shoes" in derogatory tones for a reason.


Anonymous said...

Is this pre/apre Bill's "Hoopalong Cassidy" career?

psycho*daisies said...

"Brown shoes don't make it"- Frank Zappa