Boyd’s imagery is entertainingly vivid. The literary agent sits back and reveals ‘the medicine ball that was his belly’. Kydd suffers ‘the sonic version’ of the suburbs — ‘barking dogs, the annoying buzz of an electric hedge-trimmer, the chimes of a distant ice cream van’. Deception is needed to keep inner lives private. Kydd is assaulted by the Algerian philosopher. Various excuses are given for a split lip: he ‘slipped getting out of the bath’, ‘a squash racket hit him in the mouth’.
Trio embraces comedy, tragedy and redemption. It succeeds impressively because of its dramatic, often sensational, revelations.