Notes from an exhibition

by Patrick Gale

This is the first book I have read by this author, introduced to me by my Cornwall-dwelling aunt.

I found the characters engaging and believable, especially Rachel herself. I am not qualified to say whether the portrayal of someone with bipolar disorder is realistic or not, but it was certainly convincing.  Family life rang true: a family is a household full of individuals, not some neat, packaged unit where everything functions according to pre-defined rules.

The story unfolds in a way that keeps the reader engaged but also waiting for more.  It was clear, from early in the narrative, that some tragedy had befallen one of Rachel’s sons, Petroc, at a young age.  But it is not until the very end that we find out the exact circumstances of his death.  Gale himself had experienced such a loss, and is well qualified to show the effect this may have on a family.

I bought the latest Patrick Gale book from Liskeard’s local bookshop when I last visited my aunt.  I am looking forward to reading it, after this.

28 May 2016: Re-read this book, having recommended it for our book group, where it scored 74%. I speed-read it , but then wishes I hadn’t. There is so much depth to Gale’s  writing.

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