Stars and Bars (novel)

Stars and Bars, the third novel by Scottish author William Boyd, was first published in 1984 in the United Kingdom by Hamish Hamilton, and in 1985 in the United States by William Morrow & Co. Boyd subsequently developed it as a screenplay and it was released as a film in 1988.

Stars and Bars
First edition (UK)
AuthorWilliam Boyd
PublisherHamish Hamilton (UK)
William Morrow & Co (US)
Publication date
1984 (UK); 1985 (USA)
Pages255 (UK)
334 (US)

The book tells the tragicomic story of attempts by visiting British art appraiser Henderson Dore, in New York City and the Deep South, to negotiate the cultural differences between British and American approaches to conducting business.[1]

Reviewing the novel for The New York Times, Caroline Seebohm said: "Mr. Boyd has some funny and perceptive things to say about English shyness as opposed to American spontaneity... But the author seems also to latch on to what are now fairly well aired differences between the English and Americans – pronunciation, for instance, and that old cliche about Americans ruining whiskey with ice... The major scenes in Stars and Bars take place in Luxora Beach, a place of unremitting bleakness and despair. Mr. Boyd's talent in evoking a place, which worked for him so well in his earlier two novels, serves him brilliantly here. In fact, the reader is forced to ask why on earth Henderson, wimpish though he is, does not get out when he can... The point about Henderson's liberation from his roots is well taken, and his adventures through the jungle are amusingly narrated, but the 'new clarity' with which he views the world at the end remains, for the reader, a lingering fog".[2]


  1. Stade, George; Karbiener, Karen, eds. (2009). Encyclopedia of British Writers, 1800 to the Present, Volume 2. Facts on File (2nd ed.). Infobase Publishing. p. 66.
  2. Seebohm, Caroline (14 April 1985). "The Treasures of Luxora Beach". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
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