Allegro Postillions

Jonathan Keates
Date Published
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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

‘Clever and extremely stylish.’ Daily Telegraph


The distinguished writer Jonathan Keates (b.1946) has written several acclaimed biographies and travel books, and his novel Allegro Postillions won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. Keates also reviews regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and teaches English at the City of London School.

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