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Infinity

The Story of a Moment

Gabriel Josipovici

Infinity
RRP: GBP 12.95
Available from: Amazon LogoBuy now from Amazon
eBook (Kindle)
ISBN: 978 1 847776 44 0
Categories: 21st Century, British, Humour
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Published: March 2013
144 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (EPUB)
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • "The piano is not an instrument for young ladies Massimo, he said, it is an instrument for gorillas. Only a gorilla has the strength to attack the piano as it should be attacked, only a gorilla has the uninhibited energy to challenge the piano as it should be challenged."

    Thus Tancredo Pavone,the wealthy and eccentric Sicilian nobleman and avant-garde composer, as recounted by his former manservant in the course of the single extensive interview which is this book. But as Massimo recalls what his master told him about his colourful life in Monte Carlo in the twenties, in Vienna studying with a pupil of Schoenberg's in the thirties, in post-war Paris and in Nepal where he underwent the revelation which fuelled his later music, and repeats Pavone’s often outrageous opinions about everything under the sun, from the current state of civilisation to the inner life of each note, from why beautiful women are always unhappy to the vanity of his fellow composers, it becomes comically clear that not only does Pavone not always distinguish between memory and fantasy, but that Massimo does not always understand what it is he is repeating. Yet what ultimately emerges is the picture of a moving relationship between two people from very different walks of life, and, above all, the fact that behind Pavone's outrageousness and eccentricity lies a wounded and vulnerable man of profound integrity, for whom living and making music were always one.
    Gabriel Josipovici was born in Nice in 1940 of Russo-Italian, Romano-Levantine parents. He lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956, when he came to Britain. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with a First in 1961. From 1963 to 1998 he taught at the University of Sussex. He ... read more
    Awards won by Gabriel Josipovici Long-listed, 2019 The Republic of Consciousness Prize (The Cemetery in Barnes) Short-listed, 2018 The Goldsmiths Prize (The Cemetery in Barnes)
     'Concealed in this wry interview is an exhilarating "world tour" of music, and how it comes to be created. Music aficionados will recognise Infinity's central figure with delight; newcomers will learn all they need, and more, about an extraordinary composer, and the anguished musical era - the twentieth century - in which he lived and worked.'
    Judith Weir
     'A tour de force of straightfaced high-culture lunacy ... very funny, deeply serious, at once scathing about the sublime preposterousness of modernism and profoundly admiring of it. Infinity is that rare thing - a novel about a creative genius in whose artistry you are made to believe, and who, for all his monstrous egoism and crackpot theorising, you come to care about and finally applaud.'
    Howard Jacobson
     'A Doctor Faustus for our time. Like Thomas Mann's great novel, Infinity shows how a composer's times are reflected in the creative process of composing, and has the novel's structure itself parallel the composer's aesthetic. Books as insightful as these into the composer's world are rare indeed.'
    Jonathan Harvey
    'Josipovici is one of the UK's most distinguished and fearless writers... [Infinity] is a charming, sexy, modern and scholarly novel - an unusual mix but all the better for it.'
    Deborah Levy, Jewish Quarterly
     'Gabriel Josipovici's Infinity is a wondrous Mobius strip of a narrative that turns ideas of biography, memory and the making of art into a story that one reads with rapt attention, in one sitting.'
    Kirsty Gunn, Scotsman Books of the Year 2012
    Praise for Gabriel Josipovici 'Art demans a certain silence, when creating it and viewing it. Josipovici captures the essence of this silence in both the art and the artist himself in this deceptively complex narrative which he subtitles, "A Triptych after Pierre Bonnard"'

    Melissa Beck, The Book Binder's Daughter


    A 'subtle, disconcerting and remarkable novel'
    Volume, 2019

    'the novel shows its characters overwhelmed by the temporal medium in which everything takes place, and the characters are depicted not so much against light (contre-jour) as against time (contre-temps)... time is always the overwhelming, unresolvable problem.'

    Volume, 2019
    'The narrative is constantly destabilised, leaving us puzzling over what is and isn't 'true'... his debts to writers like Thomas Bernhard, Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet are obvious.'
    Simon Collings, Stride
    'Gabriel Josipovici is one of the outstanding writers and critics of the post-war period.'
    David Herman, The Jewish Chronicle
    'Josipovici's best fiction has always been able to turn silence and reticence into powerful emotions, producing stories of pain and sadness. Contre-Jour is Josipovici at his very best.'
    David Herman, The Jewish Chronicle
      'The Cemetery in Barnes, though outwardly modest, expands in the mind and then lingers there - a tribute to its author's rejection of the need to explain, his willingness to hint at all the ways in which life is a "labyrinth" without trying to say the last word about any of them.'
    Leo Robson, The New Statesman
    'The Cemetery in Barnes is a subtle, disturbing meditation on death and desire, on murder, suicide and arson glimpsed, as it were, out of the corner of the eye; an examination of a life lived in three locations and told - the cue being taken from Monteverdi's Orfeo - in three interweaving voices, whose total effect has the disturbing power of a bad dream.'
    Nick Lezard, Goldsmiths Prize Judge
    'A seriously amusing, at times amusingly serious novella... its artfulness partly lies in its temporary suspension of certainty' 
    Michael Caines, TLS
     'Gabriel Josipovici is a deeply perceptive critic, always rewarding with a wide range of reference. The Singer on the Shore is a beautifully written and enjoyable book.'
    Dame Muriel Spark
     'Gabriel Josipovici is a deeply perceptive critic, always rewarding with a wide range of reference. The Singer on the Shore is a beautifully written and enjoyable book.'
    Dame Muriel Spark
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