- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (31 Mar. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241144329
- ISBN-13: 978-0241144329
- Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 3.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 385,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight Hardcover – 31 Mar 2011
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Eccentric, rambling, charming . . . by turns erratic and spellbinding. Attlee is an entertaining writer, pulling off strange and daring leaps . . . thrilling. Nocturne is an inspiration. It makes you want to pull a chair out into the garden and bathe in the moonlight. No questions asked (New York Times Book Review )
Engaging, erudite, moving and impassioned . . . [Attlee is] a stylist of amazing wit and skill (Irish Times )
A poetic and passionate story of light in darkness (The Times )
Attlee is a true enthusiast, and is fascinated by, indeed loves, his subject. He writes beautifully and often thrillingly about the moon in all its - her? - aspects, and it will be a dull-minded reader who comes away from this book without a new or at least renewed regard for the extraordinary, silver satellite that is our world's constant companion (John Banville Guardian )
Richly rewarding, beautifully written and, like the moon, wonderfully reflective (Times Literary Supplement )
A wistful, fact-filled and esoteric treat (Sunday Times )
About the Author
James Attlee lives in Oxford and works in art publishing in London. He is the author of Isolarion: a Different Oxford Journey and the co-author, with Lisa Le Feuvre, of Gordon Matta-Clark: The Space Between.
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Top Customer Reviews
The sub-title for the book as it stands is "A Journey through Moonlight" - and I suppose I anticipated this would be about a personal journey - an actual journey - to find and experience moonlight. While some of the book does live up to this anticipation, I felt that much of the book was taken up with detailed account of other peoples experiences of moonlight. And almost without fail those "other people" were landscape painters. Now, if the book had been called "Nocturne: A journey in Search of Moonlights History" that may have been justified - but that's not the book's title. At times there are considerable sections of the book that explain who one artist worked with and influenced another and the types of painting they produced. Now, as you may have gathered, I am not an art buff, but I was unable to visualize more than about 10% of the works referred to in this book - and we are not provided with a single illustration either.
When the book concentrates on what the author did, rather than what someone else painted, the book really does come to light. The two sections that stand out are a visit to Japan and an American "moonlight concentrator" - both are unusual and interesting. Without saying too much, the writing of the book may have been hindered by less than cooperative weather, and this could be why so much of it feels second hand.Read more ›
For example, "Buddha is said to have been born at full moon; in Buddhist iconography the lunar phase has come to represent enlightenment.", "The new moon at this time of year in the Islamic calendar marks the beginning of Ramadan and my Muslim neighbors have arrived, having broken their fast, bearing gifts of food." Beyond the use of the lunar cycle to measure time, it is evident that the Moon has never failed to inspire many generations of artists and poets alike. The very- troubled but very great Italian writer/poet/philosopher Giacomo Leopardi sought answers to existential questions from the moon, "struck by the similarities between his own life and the life of the moon." After all, "each has its eternal rhythms; each, to him, seems equally futile."
It helps that the author is observant, witty and insightful, which makes for an interesting experience and read as he travels (from the blurb) from Normandy to Naples, Wales to Arizona, Las Vegas to Japan. After all, the journey is not always filled with total pleasure as a couple of his trips go awry. Also, the travel was undertaken with financial assistance provided by the Author's Foundation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another witty, entertaining and informative read from polymath Attlee's cultured pen. A fascinating journey into the soft, reflected light of the moon and all the infatuation,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Andrew Hansen
A beautifully written homage to the marvel of the moon and how it has come to govern every aspect of our lives for millennia. Read morePublished on 10 Aug. 2013 by Deepa Shah
An interesting meander around the planet looking at different cultures and the way that these peoples look at the moonPublished on 30 Sept. 2012 by Half Man, Half Book
James Attlee, by profession an art publisher, could be said to be moonstruck, and this book is full of very discursive accounts of his own experiences of the moon. Read morePublished on 7 Aug. 2012 by Ralph Blumenau
A bravura piece by someone whose enthusiasm, obsession and love for his subject comes through on almost every page. Read morePublished on 31 May 2012 by SA Brain