My introduction to the novels of Patrick Gale

I have always enjoyed reading, and since I started using a Kindle some years ago, I have extended my range of authors, often influenced by social media and interactions with the authors themselves. For the last few years, I have mainly read novels from the crime and spy genres, but recently I felt the need to try something new, which might be a bit more emotionally satisfying.

In mid-April, Angela and I were travelling to London for a short break and to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. Angela was reading the May issue of ‘Woman and Home’, and showed me an article about an author by the name of Patrick Gale, describing his latest novel (see below). She thought it might be of interest to me, and sure enough I downloaded it.

Woman & Home piece
Taken from ‘Woman & Home’, May 2015, page 206

‘A Place Called Winter’ is based on the author’s family history. It describes how his maternal grandmother’s father emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada, leaving his wife behind. As a result of this, she had a rather sad childhood, especially when her mother died, leaving her to be brought up by a succession of nannies. Why her father emigrated was unknown to any living relatives, but the author manages to fill in the gaps and create an excellent and totally credible story. I don’t want to say any more, for fear of giving too much away, but I recommend this novel highly.

Since reading ‘A Place Called Winter’, I have read two more of Patrick Gale’s novels. ‘Rough Music’ describes events that took place in two family holidays to Cornwall separated by more than 40 years. The story alternates between then and now, and the consequences of what happened all those years ago for present day events are described vividly. I loved this book, and didn’t want it to end!

‘Notes From An Exhibition’ starts with the death of an emotionally troubled artist, and pieces together her life and the effect of her creativity and bouts of depression on her family over a period of some forty years. I enjoyed reading it, but preferred ‘Rough Music’ in that it seemed to reach a slightly more satisfactory conclusion.

To conclude, an article in a magazine that I wouldn’t normally read (Woman and Home) introduced me to an new author, and a set of new novels. I’m continuing with these, and I’m going to read ‘A Perfectly Good Man’ next.

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