Set on the eve of the financial crash of 2008, Barcelona Dreaming is made up of three stories that are linked by time and place, and also by the moving, unexpected interactions of a rich cast of characters.
The stories are narrated, in turn, by an English woman who runs a gift shop, an alcoholic jazz pianist, and a translator tormented by unrequited love, all of whose lives will be changed forever. Underpinning the novel, and casting a long shadow, is a crime committed against a young Moroccan immigrant.
Exploring themes of addiction, racism, celebrity, immigration, and self-delusion, and fuelled by a longing for the unattainable and a nostalgia for what is about to be lost, Barcelona Dreaming is a love letter to one of the world's most beautiful cities and a powerful and poignant fable for our uncertain times.
Elegant and electrifying. Thomson's prose is sparse, yet so highly charged that I couldn't stop reading. I love all his novels - but this one is my new favourite. - Andrea Wulf
I don't know how Rupert Thomson does it. Each novel he writes is a new vision of a new world; he's the least predictable, the most surprising of writers. Barcelona Dreaming is set in that city, and it seems as if Thomson knows every corner of it, and every kind of human being who might live there. My astonishment is only surpassed by my admiration. - Philip Pullman, author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy
The three stories in Barcelona Dreaming are connected by ingeniously created threads, but also by a tone that is ironic, observant, alert to the complexity of the characters' motives and desires. The book is set in the modern city of Barcelona, its atmosphere invoked with intimate knowledge and a matchless sense of place. - Colm Toibin, New York Times bestselling author of Brooklyn and The Master