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 twelve months, he writes something every day. What he writes is The Great Concert of the Night.
His journal is a ritual of commemoration and an investigation of the character of Imogen and her relationships – with the writer; with her family; with other lovers; and with a young homeless man named William, who becomes a lodger in the writer’s house.
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 range 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.
“This is a subtle, erudite novel – a novel as French cinema, both in form and content. At times it reminded me of James Salter, and yet at the same time it is very British indeed. Jonathan Buckley is one of the UK’s most cultured and original novelists writing today.” Neil Griffiths, Republic of Consciousness
“A quietly brilliant writer, almost eccentric in his craftsmanship.” The Sunday Times
A new edition marking the 80th Anniversary of the Kindertransport.
Nine months after the Nazi occupation of Austria, 600 Jewish children assembled at Vienna station to board the first of the kindertransports bound for Britain. Among them was ten year old Lore Segal.
For the next seven years, she lived as a refugee in other people’s houses, moving from the Orthodox Levines in Liverpool, to the staunchly working class Hoopers, to the genteel Miss Douglas and her sister in Guildford. Few understood the terrors she had fled, or the crushing responsibility of trying to help her parents gain a visa. Amazingly she succeeds and two years later her parents arrive; their visa allows them to work as domestic servants – a humiliation for which they must be grateful.
In Other People’s Houses Segal evokes with deep compassion, clarity and calm the experience of a child uprooted from a loving home to become stranded among strangers.
First published in serial form in The New Yorker in the early 1950s, and as an autobiographical novel in 1958. This is a new edition with an afterword – philosophically astute and beautifully written – by Lore Segal in 2018.
Lore Segal is interviewed in the 2000 Academy award-winning documentary documentary Into the Arms of Strangers, Written and directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, produced by Deborah Oppenheimer, narrated by Judi Dench
For nine months prior to World War II, in an act of mercy unequalled anywhere else before the war, Britain conducted an extraordinary rescue mission, opening its doors to over 10,000 Jewish and other children from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. These children, or Kinder (sing. Kind), as they came to be known, were taken into foster homes and hostels in Britain, expecting eventually to be reunited with their parents. The majority of them never saw their families again.
Tove Jansson’s last original collection of short stories
The rich seam that is Jansson’s adult prose continues with this penultimate collection of short stories (the last containing all new stories), written in her seventies at the height of her Moomin fame. It has been translated into English for the first time. In these light-footed, beautifully crafted yet disquieting stories, Jansson tells of discomfiting encounters, unlooked for connections and moments of isolation that span generations and decades. Whether writing from the perspective of a bewildered young artist, a resilient child or an irascible elderly correspondent, Letters From Klara proves yet again her mastery of this literary form.
Thomas Teal has won the Rochester Best Translated Book Award and the Bernard Shaw Prize for Translation (twice) for his translations of Tove Jannson’s fiction.
Aunt Gerda – the good listener – fears the encroaching forgetfulness of old age. Her solution is to create an artwork that will record and, inevitably, betray the secrets long confided in her. So begins Jansson’s short story debut, a tour de force of scalpel-sharp narration that takes us from a disquieting homage to the artist Edward Gorey, to perfect evocations of childhood innocence and recklessness, to a city ravaged by storms, or the slow halting thaw of spring. These stories are gifts of originality and depth.
The Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson achieved worldwide fame as the creator of the Moomin stories, written between 1945 and 1970 and still in print in more than twenty languages. However, the Moomins were only a part of her prolific output. Already admired in Nordic art circles as a painter, cartoonist and illustrator, she would go on to write a series of classic and acclaimed novels and short stories. The Listener, translated here for the first time into English, was Jansson’s debut short story collection, written in 1970.
160pp B Format deluxe Pbk with flaps: £8.99: Pub June 10th 2014