Live; live; live

February 23, 2021
Live; live; live

A story of remembrance, desire, and the occult by one ofBritain'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 apenitent secure. And sometimes it was more than a corrective: itbrought elation . . . "Live," it urged, with each whisper of thewater. "Live; live; live." Leaning forward, Lucas repeated thewords with too much fervor, to make sure that the lesson was notlost on me. This was his mission: not to help people to keep holdof the past, but to help them to live.Jonathan Buckley's latest novel Live; live; live is asubtly suspenseful and slow-burning story about the occult as asource of psychological and existential truth. Lucas is a man witha gift: he hears the dead speaking. Josh lives next door, just aboy when he first meets his mysterious, kind neighbor. But as hegrows up, his instructive friendship with Lucas is graduallyaltered by desire: Josh's attraction to, then obsession with Erin,the much-younger woman with whom Lucas lives. The nature of herrelationship to Lucas is unclear and unclassifiable: is it erotic,platonic, pedagogical? And is Lucas a sham or a kind of shaman? IsJosh really a reliable witness? At the heart of this powerful andresonant novel are timely questions about narrative truth andtimeless questions about life, death, and belief. There are nocertainties in Live; live; live, only mutability,permeability, and the beautifully observed cadence of change.