General Fiction Nostalgia Omnivore reviews

Published on March 24th, 2013


Nostalgia by Jonathan Buckley

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Blurb: 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. (Sort of Books, 2013)

Phil Baker, The Sunday Times

“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.”

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Jonathan Gibbs, The Independent

“While the novel proper is never less (or more) than undemonstrative, these sections aspire to the blankness of a perfectly serviceable guide book … You plough on, thinking, why am I reading this? Well, you are reading it because it is slowly, surreptitiously, building 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.

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Ian Sansom, The Guardian

“Buckley’s Castelluccio is not a place of fantasy: there is a Castelluccio in Umbria. Whether Buckley’s Castelluccio is anything like the real thing, only the people who live there will be able to tell. For the rest of us, Castelluccio is no Oz, no Earthsea or Laputa: it’s not a place of fantasy. It’s more like Hardy’s Wessex, or Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha – a place both imagined and disguised … Into this magnetic field are drawn the many stories of the town and its people: relevant, irrelevant, but never uninteresting.”

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