- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Sort of Books; Main edition (7 Mar. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1908745312
- ISBN-13: 978-1908745316
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 905,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Nostalgia Hardcover – 7 Mar 2013
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Buckley emerges as a mighty creative force. (Sunday Times)
Buckley continues to write fiction as if it mattered ... Nostalgia is his eighth novel, and is as strange, as nuanced and as peculiar as everything else he's done, and certainly as good as anything by the dozen or so big brand names of contemporary Eng Lit (Guardian)
... a minor-key masterpiece of restraint, invention and the fine art of keeping expectations deliberately low, then elegantly surpassing them. [...] a portrait of a place as complete as any far-flung cosmos in a science-fiction space opera, and of an intricate trio of characters as intimately knowable and unknowable as any in contemporary fiction. Frankly, if you are holidaying in Italy this summer, I'd pack this instead of, not as well as, your Rough Guide. (Independent)
...works on the reader like a symphony: discursive yet ordered, its many strands held together by an intelligence that is broad in its sympathies and finely attuned to absurdity and pathos. Even an informative chapter on the Italian cypress takes on an emotional resonance in this context ... (TLS)
Buckley's novel is impressive for its meditation on art and its rich descriptions ... The book is filled with plausible information - conjuring up the fictitious town, with its history and fauna, and Gideon's career, with reviews and interviews - showing Buckley to be a quietly brilliant writer, almost eccentric in his craftsmanship. (Sunday Times)
By its poignant conclusion, this affecting, inventive novel is enough to make you hunt down Buckley's previous works if this is the first time you have come across him. (Sunday Herald)
But my book of the year is Jonathan Buckley's breathtakingly clever novel, Nostalgia (Sort of Books). Set in a small Tuscan town it puts before us not only the expatriate protagonists but also the town itself, its history, its local residents and their life histories, all interspersed with scholarly digressions. Wonderful (Charles Boardman Guardian Readers’ Books of the Year)
My favourite book of the year is Nostalgia by Jonathan Buckley (Sort of Books). It is impossible in a few words to do justice to the scope and depth of this multilayered novel, except to recommend it as warmly as possible. It is set in Castelluccio, a small town in Tuscany, the home of an ageing English painter, Gideon Westfall. Through many diffuse strands, which include documentation of Westfall's work, Buckley paints a comprehensive picture of the town's people, history, geography and mythology in a classic evocation of place." (John Shields Guardian Readers’ Books of the Year)
A widely-praised author weaves a narrative of art, history and human relationships under the Tuscan sun.See all Product description
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This is a beautifully written novel full of well-depicted characters with interesting past histories, many of these characters peripheral to the main story, but intriguing nevertheless. The author also evocatively describes the landscape and history of his fictional town and its environs, so the reader is often taken away from the main story as we read vignettes about art, architecture, legends, historical characters and more. For example, when Claire reacts badly to being stung by a bee, we are given a short biography of the Italian honey bee; when Robert and Claire encounter an owl outside a derelict building, we get the opportunity to read about the tawny owl; the author also takes time out from the story to include encyclopaedia entries, fictional articles, biographical details and gallery notes on the paintings of Gideon Westfall; therefore if you prefer a direct and fast-paced narrative, this may not be to your taste, but other readers may find these imaginative outings add a richness and depth to the story. I found this an intriguing and unusual novel which has made me interested in finding out more about the author and his previous works.
Gideon is an artist of the old school. He is very good, perhaps great, but the London art establishment is sniffy about his work, preferring dead sharks, diamond-studded skulls and unmade beds. Rather than remain where his work goes unappreciated, Gideon has lived and worked happily for many years in a small town called Castelluccio in Tuscany. His loyal assistant, Robert, saves him from the monotonous chores of running the studio and protects him from unwanted visitors. Until one slips through. Enter Claire, the daughter of Gideon's late unlamented brother. Will Gideon and his niece like or loathe each other?
So the backbone of the story is slight. But the writing - ah, the writing - is magnificent. The fictitious town of Castelluccio, unremarkable and therefore off the usual Tuscan tourist circuit, is the fourth main character in the story; it is so well evoked that you can visualise its plain piazzas and dark cobbled alleys in your mind's eye perfectly. Jonathan Buckley takes us on many a detour where we learn about the various local characters and their ancestors, the history of the small town's few buildings of note, the details of the local flora and fauna. And he is masterful with a metaphor. Here is Claire discovering the cypress-tree'd countryside around Castelluccio: "She eats her sandwich and a peach, and lies down on the grass, amid thousands of pills of sunlight; within a minute she's asleep."
There is an outstanding chapter where the police go to question Gideon about the disappearance of a young local beauty who had modelled for him. Robert's tactful translation of the aggressive cop's questions and Gideon's less than helpful replies show this writer's wit as well as warmth. But above all, the writing has soul. I had to slow down the pace of my reading to prolong the sheer enjoyment. Early in the year, I had already nominated what I thought would be my favourite book of 2013. Norwegian by Night now has to share the top slot with the extraordinarily wonderful Nostalgia.
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Reading Nostalgia is like taking a summer sojourn without the hassle of leaving home.Read more
matter that I missed.out the.central.chapters and.skipped.to.the.end. I was so disengaged from.Read more