The lapping of the sea was a lesson in mortality ... 'Live,' he heard, with each whisper of the water. 'Live; live; live.'
Through Lucas Judd, the dead make contact with the living, or so he believes, or professes to believe. He is a man of such penetrating insight and empathy that many have faith in his gift. They confide in him and find consolation. Even Joshua, his sceptical young neighbour, seems drawn by his neighbour's compassionate sophistry. But when Erin, a much younger woman, shadowed by recent grief, moves in with Lucas, the focus of Joshua's fascination begins to shift.
Such are the surface ripples of this poignant and precisely attuned novel. Its depths reveal the largest of themes - mortality and love, and the ways in which our memories of others persist. Characters appear and recede only to return as if on a changed tide; living voices merge with the multitudes of the dead, leaving their trace or fading away.
Live; live; live is a deeply resonant work by a novelist at the height of his powers.
Jonathan Buckley is the acclaimed author of Nostalgia and The Great Concert of the Night. Live, live, live is his eleventh novel. He was the 2015 winner of the BBC National Short Story Award and has also written several guidebooks to various parts of Italy. He lives in Hove.