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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.


One of contemporary fiction's most original writers makes you ponder matters of love and humaity, using the Catalan capital as an elegant backdrop.
Simon Humphreys, Scottish Mail on Sunday
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 supremely sensuous rendering of Barcelona itself is superb
Daily Mail
'It has a great sense of place and compelling female characters.'
i News
I wonder if I've ever sat so intimately alongside characters in a story. Rupert Thomson has so brought this writing to life I can literally feel it on my skin. Save yourself the airfare: your new friends in Barcelona live right here
DBC Pierre
The writing itself feels effortlessly sumptuous, it's a beautifully imagined set of worlds.
What a haunting book. I didn't want to finish it...The stories have stayed with me as if they are actually memories...Extraordinary
Kitty Aldridge
Barcelona Dreaming is the next most pleasurable thing to passing a season in one of Europe's most attractive cities and Thomson doesn't put a foot wrong evoking its dramas and charms.
Rob Doyle, The Observer
Thomson displays a graceful ability to inhabit the responses and concerns of all sorts of characters.
Rob Doyle, The Observer
Thomson is at his full powers in this 13th captivating novel. He reaffirms his gift for writing on place, bringing Barcelona vividly and complexly to life for a travel-starved pandemic audience. His confident , spellbinding prose is jewelled with uncanny details, gliding along in language that strikes, unsettles, and reawakens at every turn. This is a brilliant book.
Maya C. Popa
An astonishing new offering from one of our greatest writers. Every Rupert Thomson book is a rare feat. This dexterous, potent exploration of characters connected by time, place and the ramifications of a crime is the latest addition to a singular body of work
Irenosen Okojie
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 Tóibín, New York Times bestselling author of Brooklyn and The Master
Barcelona Dreaming is a wonderful book, a phantasmal hymn to a city and a lost way of life
Alex Preston, New York 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
Rupert Thomson's Barcelona Dreaming tells three lightly interlinked stories of residents of the city on the eve of the financial crash of 2008. Thomson conjures up a fascinating cast of beautiful people with complicated lives who've lost a lot and have more to lose.
The Gloss Magazine
Barcelona Dreaming feels like a holiday in bookform.