Gabriel Josipovici’s The Cemetery in Barnes is a short, intense novel that opens in elegiac mode, advances quietly towards something dark and disturbing, before ending with an eerie calm. Its three plots, relationships and time-scales are tightly woven into a single story; three voices – as in an opera by Monteverdi – provide the soundtrack, enhanced by a chorus of friends and acquaintances. The main voice is that of a translator who moves from London to Paris and then to Wales, the setting for an unexpected conflagration. The ending at once confirms and suspends the reader’s darkest intuitions.
The Cemetery in Barnes reaffirms Josipovici’s status as ‘one of the very best writers now at work in the English language, and a man whose writing, both in fiction and in critical studies, displays a unity of sensibility and intelligence and deep feeling difficult to overvalue at any time’ (Guardian).