The Pequod Review:
William Boyd's ninth novel, Any Human Heart, is structured as a collection of journal entries by a fictional British writer (Logan Mountstuart) who lived through key moments in 20th century history. Mountstuart spent most of his youth in and around London — attending boarding school and then Oxford — and later would become reporter during the Spanish Civil War and a naval intelligence officer in World War II. His journal entries often take this form:
Thursday, 14 May 1931
Lunch with Land at the Ritz. I want to celebrate, but she says she would have preferred a sandwich in Green Park or a pie in a pub -- anywhere by the Ritz. She regales me with the horrors of poverty in the north and the mood is rather cool as a result -- she seems not remotely interested in my success or my new wealth. She says Lee has warned her that the German banks are on the verge of collapse and if that happens then the whole of Europe could fall apart. I sit and listen and let her rant on as I drink most of the champagne. She comes home with me to Glebe but it can't be described as a satisfactory night. I am too amorous and, being rebuffed, become clinical. She leaves at six this morning with hardly a word of goodbye. I'll give her some time.
Isn't that how we all experience (and remember) major world events — how they overlapped with our own quotidian lives?