Praise for The Great Concert of the Night

A Sunday Times Book of the Year
“Like cabinets of curiosities, Buckley’s novels are always alluringly crammed with weird and wonderful material. Scintillatingly written, this fictional journal penned by a man in commemoration of his lost lover offers a feast of beguiling information, suavely sardonic comedy and ravishingly visualised scenes of natural and artistic beauty.”


Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

Jonathan Buckley is a novelist of unusual excellence, unusual not only because of his exceptional literary skills but in his preference for uncommon subjects and uncommon ways of approaching them. Nostalgia, his 2013 novel about a small Tuscan town, viewed it from a multitude of angles: history, geography, changing residents, flora, fauna, festivals. The river is the river (2015) called the nature and techniques of storytelling into question. Telescope (2011), a tour de force of imaginative vitality and buoyant wit, gradually revealed its narrator to be prematurely dying of a cruelly disfiguring disease.… Read more


The Great Concert of the Night

In the small hours of January 1st, a man begins to write, having watched Le Grand Concert de la Nuit, a film in which a former lover – Imogen – plays a major role. For the next year, he writes something every day.

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.

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 multitude of subjects, from the visions of female saints to the history of medicine and the festivals of ancient Rome. But one subject comes to occupy him above all: what happens when a person becomes a character on the page.… Read more

‘Briar Road’ wins BBC National Short Story Award 2015

bbcnssa_2015_logo_webJonathan Buckley’s ‘Briar Road’, a story about a psychic investigates the case of a missing teenager has won the 10th annual BBC National Short Story Award.

Jonathan was presented with the prize of £15,000 by this year’s Chair of Judges Allan Little at a ceremony held in the BBC’s Radio Theatre in London. The news was announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, during a special programme celebrating the short story and featuring William Boyd.

Mark Haddon was selected as the runner-up and received £3,000 for his story ‘Bunny’.

Chair of Judges, Allan Little, commented:

“Jonathan Buckley’s ‘Briar Road’ is a quiet intriguing mystery and focuses on a single moment in the life of one family who have turned to a spiritualist after their teenage daughter has disappeared.  The prose is understated, stark and plain. The intrigue builds as key details are revealed slowly, hinted at and suggested rather than spelled out. Read more


Nostalgia book cover

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. And 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 a fiction into which are woven the kaleidoscopic narratives of art, architecture, history, legend and much more.

Sunday Times – Book of the Year
From a multitude of angles – history, geography, present and past residents, flora, fauna, festivals – a small Tuscan town is brought to teeming, vivid life.

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