Jonathan Buckley is the author of twelve novels, and Co-winner of the 2022 Novel Prize.


Curtis Doyle, a self-made businessman and art collector, has vanished from his palatial home in the Scottish Highlands. In the wake of his disappearance, the woman who worked as his gardener is interviewed for a possible film about her employer. A work of strange and intoxicating immediacy, exploring wealth, the art world, and the intimacy and distance between social classes, Tell is a probing and complex examination of the ways in which we make stories of our own lives and of other people’s.

‘Always well crafted, this novel is engaging in parts and digressive in others, which adds to its realism, capturing how people chatter their way down alleys, rarely hewing to the main road of a tale…. The buildup in Tell is perpetual, a sense that an explanation must be coming. But the author diverges from expectations and converges on reality, where remembering is not the same as understanding. Abruptly, someone may just disappear, and all that remains is the sight of a figure wandering across a bridge – no splash heard, just the fading ripples of “why.”’
Tom Rachman, New York Times

‘Buckley… asks readers to think about how and why stories are told. This self-reflexivity results in a thought-provoking, artfully constructed narrative enriched by the mysteries that expand and proliferate throughout. It’s a deliciously fraught tour de force.’
Publishers Weekly, starred review

‘[A] riveting thriller that sweeps you in from the off… Buckley’s prose is unpretentious and engrossing, weaving in a constant sense of foreboding that proves irresistible.’
— Martha Alexander, AnOther Magazine

‘A novel about the nature of storytelling, and who gets to tell and shape them.’
— Kirkus

Live; live; live

A story of remembrance, desire, and the occult by one of Britain’s finest contemporary novelists.

The lapping of the waves was a lesson in mortality. Sometimes the corrective would work, and his turmoil would recede. The sound secured him, as the contemplation of a skull might make a penitent secure. And sometimes it was more than a corrective: it brought elation . . . “Live,” it urged, with each whisper of the water. “Live; live; live.” Leaning forward, Lucas repeated the words with too much fervor, to make sure that the lesson was not lost on me. This was his mission: not to help people to keep hold of the past, but to help them to live.

Jonathan Buckley’s latest novel, Live; live; live, is a subtly suspenseful and slow-burning story about the occult as a source of psychological and existential truth. Lucas Judd is a man with a gift: He hears the dead speaking. Joshua lives next door, just a boy when he first meets his mysterious, kind neighbor. But as he grows up, his instructive friendship with Lucas is gradually altered by desire: Joshua’s attraction to, then obsession with Erin, the much younger woman with whom Lucas lives. The nature of her relationship to Lucas is unclear and unclassifiable: Is it erotic, platonic, pedagogical? And is Lucas a sham or a kind of shaman? Is Joshua really a reliable witness? At the heart of this powerful and resonant novel are timely questions about narrative truth and timeless questions about life, death, and belief. There are no certainties in Live; live; live, only mutability, permeability, and the beautifully observed cadence of change.

Buy Now


Selected Novels

The Great Concert of the Night
The River Is The River book cover
Nostalgia book cover
The Biography of Thomas Lang book cover