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.
Buckley is a mighty creative force." The Sunday Times Jonathan Buckley's intensely compassionate, astoundingly observed novels unfold with exquisite power, and The river is the river is perhaps his most perfectly written book yet. The surprise of its haunting ending makes other plot twists look like childish games." James McConnachie, Editor The Author A quietly brilliant writer, almost eccentric in his craftsmanship." The Sunday Times A dazzlingly inventive novel that explores the whole nature of storytelling and writing. A woman called 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 named Bernát, whom she considers some kind of visionary. In a sequence of stories filtered through multiple retellings, 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. Bernát 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.