Format: Paperback with flaps
The thought in my head does not yet have shape or form, only direction, one picture leading into another.
An ageing artist, faced with his own mortality, embarks on one final artwork. As he battles to complete the project, working with an enigmatic young photographer, he finds his past and present blurring. Through the act of creation and the memories it excavates, the artist comes to a realisation about what matters most, and what he will leave behind when he is gone.
This hybrid and innovative short novel responds through fiction to The New World, the final artwork by the late artist Alan Smith – which is in turn a response to an eighteenth-century fresco, Giandomenico Tiepolo’s Il Mondo Nuovo. With sparkling, dreamlike prose, Bruton weaves a story around these artworks, arriving at both a profound exploration of the creative process and a timeless love story told in a new way.
‘A work of spare and brittle loveliness. With or Without Angels is a deeply moving depiction of art and the people who make it, at once visceral and restrained. I admired it enormously.’ — Nell Stevens, author of Briefly, A Delicious Life
‘Experimental yet accessible, serious but playful, provocative but moving. Douglas Bruton is a writer of boundless invention’ — Stephen May, author of Sell Us The Rope
‘With lyrical and succinct prose, Douglas Bruton writes tenderly about the quest to capture memories and understand what makes a life. His writing really stays with me.’ — Julie Corbin, author of A Lie For A Lie
‘Douglas Bruton’s narrative once again immerses us in a life that shimmers through the delicate fabrics of art. The hero of the story is an artist who can no longer hold a brush. He uses a camera to take pictures that turn into collages. Each collage modifies hazy memories and takes us to a new colorful world full of mystery, longing, and invisible angels.’ — Julia Nemirovskaya, editor of Disbelief: 100 Anti-War Poems
‘Ingenious’ — The Scotsman
‘At once song, poem, and scripture’ — Necessary Fiction
‘It is a story, unlike our ability to see colour, that haunts and intensifies rather than diminishes with time.’ — Carmen Marcus, author of How Saints Die