Additional Book Information
Series: New York Review Books
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Live; live; 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.
Buckley’s fiction is subtle and fastidiously low-key . . . every apparently loose thread, when tugged, reveals itself to be woven into the themes [and] gets better the more you allow it to settle in your mind.
—Michel Faber, The Guardian
Protean and wistful, Live; live; live dwells in the malleability of memory, tenderly pressing us to be astonished at the fragile and intricate stories that hold us together. Jonathan Buckley reaches with lyric elegance into the ancient archives of human experience to invite us to contemplate the foundational questions: What is hope? Where do we find harmony? What about one another do we hold sacred? With the help of Lucas Judd, Buckley’s fallible and peculiar oracle, this dreamlike novel moves us to consider the multitude ineffable shapes of love and mercy.
Live; live; live plays eloquent witness to a liminal space, the boundary between the limits of rational thinking and the beginnings of occult mystification.
—Sean Sheehan, The Prisma
While Live; live; live might [be] a very subtle and low-key book, it’s a beautifully poised novel about mysteries both eternal and mundane. . . . The understated, though always elegant prose, gives the final pages of the novel a chilling, even dangerous edge. . .
—Ian Mond, Locus Magazine