Daniel Brennan, approaching the premature end of his life, retreats to a room in his brother’s suburban house. To divert himself and to entertain Ellen, his carer, he writes the journal that is Telescope, blurring truth, gossip and fiction in vignettes of his own life and the lives of those close to him. Above all he focuses on his siblings: mercurial Celia, whose life as a teacher in Italy seems to have run aground, and kindly Charlie, the entrepreneur of the family.
Enriched with remarkable observations on topics ranging from tattoos and Tokyo street fashion to early French photography, Telescope is a startlingly original and moving book, a glimpse of the world as seen by a connoisseur of vicarious experience.
A novel consisting of a journal written by a dying man disabled and disfigured by a rare disease sounds an unlikely candidate for the year’s liveliest and most elating read. But Buckley’s extraordinary tour de force is just that. Responding to the world around him with creative zest, its narrator brims with relish and perceptiveness. Verbal bravura, sardonic wit, and keen and funny insights embellish his pages. Mortality may shadow the book but it radiates vitality. Sunday Times – Books of the Year See full review
“When you look at the world”, the narrator of Jonathan Buckley’s masterful new novel tells us, “you project yourself into it, you possess it.” Telescope is a novel about looking and being looked at; about “the friction of being seen” … Observing a street full of strangers, Daniel says: “Experiences that mean nothing, that have no weight, are more important to a good life than any of them realised.” They are also more important to good fiction than many of us realise, and we should be grateful to writers like Jonathan Buckley for helping us to see them. Times Literary Supplement
“A dying recluse writes about his family for his carer to read. I’m loving it. Could be his breakout book? The one to win prizes?” The Bookseller
“Unusual in both form and conclusion, Telescope is about as life-affirming as a book about one man dying can be.” The Guardian
|320pp original paperback : £8.99|