Top 5 books by Patrick Gale (according to me)

I had planned to write this post on Tuesday but alas, I was sick and took to my bed, capable of doing nothing but watching Chalet Girl and cuddling my kittens (I HAVE KITTENS) and so now I am two days behind which is disappointing but still.

Guess what, gang!

Patrick Gale’s Take Nothing With You was published ON TUESDAY. Oh what a glorious life this is. 
I already posted my review (which you can catch up with here if you haven’t already read it. In case you missed the memo, I LOVED THIS BOOK) and so TODAY instead of that, I’m going to give you a quick run down of the top 5 Patrick Gale books, according to 100% of the people I surveyed.

By which I mean I asked myself and this is what I answered.

Basically, if you are new to Patrick’s work then THESE ARE THE BOOKS YOU SHOULD START WITH BECAUSE THEY ARE MY FAVES.

1.       Take Nothing With You. Obvs. OUT NOW. Eustace is a precious little peanut and this story will get right into your heart and make you feel all the things. Also it will make you want to make music.

2.       A Place Called Winter which grew from Patrick Gale’s own family history, a fact which I LOVED, is a book about Harry, who after the discovery of an illicit affair and under the threat of arrest has to abandon his young family and leave England for Canada. It’s all about self discovery this one and it’s totally vying with Take Nothing With You for top spot. I loved it. It’s one of those raw honest stories that makes you ache for the world; Harry’s in an asylum when the book opens so the book is kind of a look back on his life and how he came to be there and it’s simultaneously one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking things I have read in a long time.

3.       Notes from an Exhibition is set in Cornwall which is an immediate tick in the good box because Cornwall is pretty. This book kind of feels like you’re wandering round an art gallery learning about the life of the artist – such a clever narrative - and it’s absolutely lush. It’s about an artist, Rachel, who is bipolar and who has died except actually it’s about SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST THAT. Half the book is her story and the other half is that of her family (her husband and children) and it’s really fascinating, the way the it all unfolds and weaves together. It jumps back and forwards and all over the place in a very unchronological order which shouldn’t work but totally does. Also Rachel’s husband is a Quaker and my family are Quakers so that was cool. Also, the ending. THE ENDING.

4.       Rough Music was the first of Patrick’s books I ever read. A split narrative – always so here for that – featuring a bookseller, his family and his married lover (who is also his brother-in-law,) and then also, back in the 60’s the governor of Wandsworth Prison and his family. I’m forever a fan of a split narrative if it’s done well and OF COURSE THIS IS. It’s another one set in Cornwall and is ANOTHER example of the clever intricate way Patrick Gale tells a story, drawing you in, weaving his narratives in and around each other and not letting you go til it’s all over. Also, and this is true for all of his books, his characterisation is SO GOOD. You come away feeling like you know these people and it’s kind of a weird feeling actually – to find yourself a few days later wondering how they’re doing when they’re not even real. 

5.       A Sweet Obscurity has 4 alternating viewpoints baby. And all so well done.  3 connected and then a farmer who has no connection to anybody at first. It's mostly about super precocious Dido who will get under your skin a little. It’s not his best book, this one, but that's not a bad thing because it’s still absolutely worth a read and it’s interesting – because of Dido, actually, the child protagonist. I’m not sure I actually liked her as much I was maybe supposed to but she’s a smashing character and the way in which she binds the rest of the characters together is really clever – using a child to tell several very adult stories,  I liked it.