- NOTES FROM AN EXHIBITION was my first Patrick Gale; it wasn't my last.
- I love novels that are 'about something' that inform as well as entertain, and the setting of Cornwall, and the theme of contemporary art was enticing. I also love unusual structures of narrative, and Gale uses changing viewpoints that dot around in time and place, like pieces of a jigsaw, but he's confident about showing the reader the way through the story. While engaged on a groundbreaking new series of paintings, Rachel Kelly dies of a heart attack in her loft-studio was an artist. Her son can remember giving her six stones collected from a Cornish beach and believes they were her inspiration for the paintings. Gale has a great writer's skill; he allows the reader intimate acquaintance with the inner lives of characters. Rachel is bipolar and this is a convincing device which demonstrates the upside of her condition; the mystery of creative inspiration. When free of medication she soars towards a high, producing great work. Her suicidal lows are considered by her family to be the punishment for so many things.
A Perfectly Good Man, thenext book I read by Patrick Gale, is engrossing. The story examines events from various character viewpoints, moving around in time seemingly randomly to create a rich canvas. The characters are finely drawn, and the theme is deeply mined. I'm steadily becoming a fan of Patrick Gale's work and their fairly constant themes of Cornwall) dysfunctional families,and his continual theme of religion and Man's struggle within the confines of its boundaries of morality. The perfectly good man of the title is destined to fail - not precisely become a bad man, but indeed a flawed one. He did this in gloriously with horrendous consequences for him, his family and the wider community.