An exuberantly entertaining magic realist quest that sees a Cambridge Organ Scholar travel to Rome in search of love, with extraordinarily unexpected results.
It all started with a pip, for it was The Pip that brought Malory and maths genius Louiza together in the eaves of a Cambridge church. When she vanishes after their first encounter, Malory resolves that “the Pip would be his guide” as he searches for her. The road he takes leads - naturally - to Rome. But nothing in this labyrinthine, playfully philosophical fable is simple. There are no smooth, straight roads for Malory, who discovers in Rome that he’s the heir to the Kingdom of Septimania and subsequently hailed King of the Jews, and more besides.
The style is nimble, the language lithe and infused with a wonderful sense of whimsy. Indeed, something of the tone put me in mind of Alice in Wonderland at times. Brilliantly bonkers, quick-witted and compelling, this joyous jamboree of a book demands one’s full attention, and thoroughly deserves more than one reading. ~ Joanne Owen
On an idyllic spring afternoon in 1978 in the loft of a church outside Cambridge, England, an organ tuner named Malory loses his virginity to a dyslexic math genius named Louiza. When Louiza disappears, Malory follows her trail to Rome. There, the quest to find his love gets sidetracked when he discovers he is the heir to the Kingdom of Septimania, given by Charlemagne to the Jews of 8th-century France. In the midst of a Rome reeling from the kidnappings and bombs of the Red Brigades, Malory is crowned King of the Jews, Holy Roman Emperor and possibly Caliph of All Islam. Over the next fifty years, Malory's search for Louiza leads to encounters with Aldo Moro, Pope John Paul II, a band of lost Romanians, a magical Bernini statue, Haroun al Rashid of Arabian Nights fame, an elephant that changes colour, a shadowy U.S. spy agency and one of the 9/11 bombers, an appleseed from the original Tree of Knowledge, and the secret history of Isaac Newton and his discovery of a Grand Unified Theory that explains everything. But most of all, Septimania is the quest for love and knowledge, and the ultimate discovery that they may be unified after all.
Closing date: 04/07/2018
'Unique - a whimsical tale told without whimsy and a fantasy delineated by the fiercest intellectual control'
'Septimania is a masterpiece: a rule-bending, category-smashing, delightful work of brilliance that combines history and longing and religion and timelessness with good old-fashioned story-telling'
Bill Buford, author of Heat and Among the Thugs
'Septimania is a love story, a kingdom, a novel of wild and rich imagination'
A.B. Yehoshua, author of A Woman in Jerusalem
'The musical prose combined with profound, complex ideas is masterful.
Jennifer Clement, author of Prayers for the Stolen and The Widow Basquiat
'A richly imagined, complex tapestry of gleaming threads woven through the centuries. This is realism as magical as the best of Garcia Marquez.'
Homerjo Aridjis, author of 1492: The Life and Times of Juan Cabezon of Castile
Publication date: 04/05/2017
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
|Publication date:||4th May 2017|
|Publisher:||Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd|
|Genres:||Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories, Thriller / Suspense,|
|Categories:||Fantasy romance, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Jonathan Levi is an American writer and producer, and author of Septimania. His short stories and articles have also appeared in many magazines including Granta, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Terra Nova, The Nation and The New York Times. Born in New York, he currently lives in Rome. Author photo © Jeanette BarronMore About Jonathan Levi