Massacre and revolution in the mountains of Calabria, passion and betrayal in a Venetian opera house, a web of baffled desire spun during a summer in Verona, a world where exile kills more swiftly than death itself, where innocence becomes a lethal weapon, where lies are saving graces - this is the brittle, bizarre and menacing background to Allegro Postillions.
Jonathan Keates's prize-winning collection gathers together four stories of haunting and magnetic brilliance set in 19th-century Italy, a war-torn, emerging nation of secrets and enigmas, of sudden violence and muted anguish, a land where the sought-after beauties of art clash with the unavoidable truth of life as it is lived.
'Keates's florid tales of revolution and love, passion and exile, innocence and death create a highly charged atmosphere ... an exciting, adventurous book.' Sunday Times
'A dream object ... pre-eminently, wonderfully solid and [it] has the aura of palpable accomplishment ... a virtuoso performance.' Literary Review
'Morn Advancing ...alone justifies this book, and leaves an imprint on the memory like a Breughel landscape.' Times Literary Supplement