Sam claims to be his son. It will be up for every prize going: a gripping, utterly compelling book whose themes hit home and hard for the baby boom generation. Good: A book that has been read but is in good condition. And then Sam Williams, a builder and ex-squaddie, enters his life. 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. Very minimal damage to the cover including scuff marks, but no holes or tears. 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.
Yet is Sam who he says he is? 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. 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. When he went to the bar to collect their drinks, Megan was standing there. 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. From 2003 to 2005 he held a Royal Literary Fund fellowship at the University of Sussex, and from 2007 to 2011 was an Advisory Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, for whom he convenes a reading group in Brighton. The majority of pages are undamaged with minimal creasing or tearing, minimal pencil underlining of text, no highlighting of text, no writing in margins.
He is the author of two previous novels. And then Sam Williams, builder and ex-squaddie, enters his life. For the next year, he writes something every day. Sam, however, refuses to be dismissed. 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.
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. His marriage has proved happy and durable; his business is successful. But one subject comes to occupy him above all: what happens when a person becomes a character on the page. Set mainly in London and Brighton, Ghost MacIndoe is the story of the next 54 years of Alexander's life. 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. 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. His first novel, The Biography of Thomas Lang, was published by Fourth Estate in 1997.
We meet his glamorous mother and his father, a pioneering plastic surgeon; a traumatised war veteran called Mr Beckwith with whom Alexander works for several years as a gardener and, most important of all, the orphaned Megan Beckwith, whose relationship with Alexander crystallises into a romance in the 1970s. In a sequence of stories filtered through multiple re-tellings, she illuminates the character of this elusive individual. Bernat and Naomi are not, however, the only storytellers here. But Sam refuses to be dismissed. Dominic Pattison's life is one of level contentment: his marriage has proved happy and durable; his business, too, is successful. After almost thirty years, Dominic can remember little of his affair with Sam's mother. The Biography of Thomas Lang was published in 1997 and Xerxes in 1999.
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. Behind her, propped on his arms, with one leg extended and the other crossed over it at the ankle, was a man with a Buddy Holly hairstyle and long sideburns that tapered. 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. Yet is Sam who he says he is? Could be his breakout book. 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. Above all, like Buckley's previous novel, Ghost MacIndoe, it's a lyrical celebration of the transient, and an original study of love. 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.
His first novel The Biography of Thomas Lang was published by Fourth Estate in 1997; it was followed by Xerxes 1999 , Ghost MacIndoe 2001 , Invisible 2004 , So He Takes the Dog 2006 , Contact 2010 , Telescope 2011 , Nostalgia 2013 and The river is the river 2015. We meet his glamorous mother and his father, a pioneering plastic surgeon; a traumatised war veteran called Mr Beckwith with whom Alexander works for several years as a gardener and, most important of all, the orphaned Megan Beckwith, whose relationship with Alexander crystallises into a romance in the 1970s. It was followed by Xerxes 1999 , Ghost MacIndoe 2001 , Invisible 2004 , So He Takes The Dog 2006 , Contact 2010 and Telescope 2011. In the wake of his highly praised first two vels, Jonathan Buckley's third miraculously brings into being one simple life and the last sixty years of English history. 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. 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.
At the same time a local girl is missing, a disappearance that seems to implicate the artist. His eighth novel, Nostalgia, was published in 2013. Spanning the last three weeks of the Oak's existence, Invisible explores multiple voices - voices in conversation, voices in writing, on tape, in memory. After almost thirty years, Dominic can remember little of the affair with Sam's mother. 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. 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.
He was perhaps ten years older than Megan. . The one to win prizes. Sam claims to be his son. His instinct is to recoil from this aggressive and volatile stranger, who could, with just a few words, take his life apart. 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. Jonathan Buckley is a novelist and guidebook writer.