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Any Human Heart by William Boyd
Any Human Heart tells the story of Logan Mountstuart through his diaries, and his experiences mirror most of the major events of the 20th century. He was a student at Oxford in the 20s, a novelist, a journalist covering the Spanish Civil War, a spy during World War II, a prisoner of war, an art dealer, a teacher in Africa, and then a retiree in France. He's a shallow man, more interested in enriching his own life rather than others, and he loses wives, children, lovers, and friends over the years. Eventually Mountstuart moves from self-absorption to a more mature acceptance of the world around him. By the end of his life, he becomes not just a man we've come to know intimately, but a man whose successes and failures often mimic our own. The Seattle Times says, "A wonderful character - and a wonderful book."