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Jonathan Buckley is the author of six highly praised novels, including Contact and So He Takes the Dog.
Jonathan lives in Hove, Sussex.
In the small hours of January 1st, a man begins to write, having watched Le Grand Concert de la Nuit, a film in which a former lover - Imogen - plays a major role. For the next year, he writes something every day. His journal is a ritual of commemoration and an investigation of the character of Imogen and her relationships - with himself; with her family and friends; with other lovers. Imogen is an elusive subject, and The Great Concert of the Night is an intricate text, mixing scenes from the writer's memory and the present day, and scenes from Imogen's films, with observations on a range of subjects, from the visions of female saints to the history of medicine and the festivals of ancient Rome. But one subject comes to occupy him above all: what happens when a person becomes a character on the page.
A woman named Naomi arrives at her sister's house, intending, it seems, to say goodbye. She is abandoning her city life for a remote Scottish retreat, which she will share with a man called Bernat, whom she considers some kind of visionary. In a sequence of stories filtered through multiple re-tellings, she illuminates the character of this elusive individual. One story seems of special significance: about Afonso, an Amazon boatman, who could be the last speaker of his mother tongue, a language of apparently unique simplicity and precision. Bernat and Naomi are not, however, the only storytellers here. Naomi's sister, Kate, is herself working on a novel that begins as a ghost story, but ends up as something rather different: The river is the river.
The small Tuscan town of Castelluccio is preparing for its annual festival, a spectacular pageant in which a leading role will be taken by the self-exiled English painter Gideon Westfall. A man proudly out of step with modernity, Westfall is regarded by some as a maestro, but in Castelluccio - as in the wider art world - he has his enemies, and his niece - just arrived from England - is no great admirer either. At the same time a local girl is missing, a disappearance that seems to implicate the artist. But the life and art of Gideon Westfall form just one strand of Nostalgia, a novel that teems with incidents and characters, from religious visionaries to folk heroes. Constantly shifting between the panoramic and the intimate, between the past and the present, Nostalgia is as intricately structured as a symphony, interweaving the narratives of history, legend, architecture - and much more - in a kaleidoscope of facts and invention.
Daniel Brennan, approaching the premature end of his life, retreats to a room in his brother's suburban house. To divert himself and to entertain Ellen, his carer, he writes the journal that is Telescope, blurring truth, gossip and fiction in vignettes of his own life and the lives of those close to him. Above all he focuses on his siblings: mercurial Celia, whose life as a teacher in Italy seems to have run aground, and kindly Charlie, the entrepreneur of the family. Enriched with remarkable observations on topics ranging from tattoos and Tokyo street fashion to early French photography, Telescope is a startlingly original and moving book, a glimpse of the world as seen by a connoisseur of vicarious experience. Jonathan Buckley's first five novels were published by Fourth Estate; his sixth by Sort of Books: The Biography of Thomas Lang (1997) Xerxes (1999) Ghost MacIndoe (2001) Invisible (2004) So He Takes the Dog (2006) Contact (2010)
Dominic Pattison's life is one of level contentment. His marriage has proved happy and durable; his business is successful. And then Sam Williams, builder and ex-squaddie, enters his life. Sam claims to be his son. Yet is Sam who he says he is? After almost thirty years, Dominic can remember little of his affair with Sam's mother. His instinct is to recoil from this volatile and perhaps dangerous stranger. Sam, however, refuses to be dismissed. With its deft switches of sympathy between menaced 'father' and rebuffed 'son', Buckley's novel is both a thriller and a subtle exploration of the intricacies of memory. Jonathan Buckley's first five novels were published by Fourth Estate; The Biography of Thomas Lang (1997) Xerxes (1999) Ghost MacIndoe (2001) Invisible (2004) So He Takes the Dog (2006) Hi latest novel Telescope is also published by Sort of Books (2011)
This is a startling breakthough novel from Jonathan Buckley, acclaimed author of Ghost MacIndoe and So He Takes the Dog. It will be up for every prize going: a gripping, utterly compelling book whose themes hit home and hard for the baby boom generation. Dominic Pattison's life is one of level contentment: his marriage has proved happy and durable; his business, too, is successful.And then Sam Williams, a builder and ex-squaddie, enters his life. Sam claims to be his son. Yet is Sam who he says he is? After almost thirty years, Dominic can remember little of the affair with Sam's mother. His instinct is to recoil from this aggressive and volatile stranger, who could, with just a few words, take his life apart. But Sam refuses to be dismissed. With its deft switches of sympathy between menaced 'father' and rebuffed 'son' and its exploration of the intricacies of memory, Contact will resonate long with its readers.
A lyrical and beautifully realised novel about a blind man's experiences of the world around him, from the acclaimed author of Ghost MacIndoe. Edward Morton, a blind translator, arrives at the Oak, an ailing spa hotel in the west of England, intending to stay for a few days to visit his family and to work. The manager of the Oak, Malcolm Caldecott, is preparing for the closure of the hotel, and for the visit of Stephanie, the daughter he has not seen for eight years. Eloni Dobra, a chambermaid at the Oak, is striving to establish a life in England, and to free herself of a burden that is crucial to her relationship both with her employer and with Edward Morton. As the nature of that burden becomes clearer, each of these four protagonists and the absent fifth - Morton's lover - move towards a crisis and, like the Oak itself, towards an uncertain future. Spanning the last three weeks of the Oak's existence, Invisible explores multiple voices - voices in conversation, voices in writing, on tape, in memory. It's an investigation of our perception of the world and our place in it, of the pleasures and deceptions of the senses, of the uses of language, of the lure of nostalgia and the difficulties of living in the present. Above all, like Buckley's previous novel, Ghost MacIndoe, it's a lyrical celebration of the transient, and an original study of love.