Discovering Patrick Gale

IMG_9239I discovered Patrick Gale the author thanks to Steven Fry  and their recently televised interview which then led me to watching the BBC 2 production of The Man in the Orange Shirt.

Patrick’s descriptive observations about relationships leaves no stone unturned, a sensitive intricate no holds barred look at both heterosexual and homosexual love, parent and child love and sibling love. I am fascinated.

I’m now an official fan of his works.

Notes from an Exhibition tells the story of Rachel Kelly, she of an artistic temperament who produces seemingly wildly colourful masterpieces oblivious a lot of the time to the needs of her quiet and patient quaker husband Anthony and their children.

Each chapter starts with a note from an exhibition and it appears that Rachel’s dramatic mood swings as well as what life throws at her determines the current style of her painting, the more morose and depressed the more magnificent her paintings seem to be.

Her adult children tell their own story of their relationship with their mother and appear relatively accepting of their bohemian childhood.  Anthony seems to be just a ghost in the background a lot of the time….but yet he is the lynchpin, the one that calms the troubled waters and the one that insists the children tip toe round their mother’s moods. Mainly set in Penzance like others of Patrick’s stories, I love the fact that occasionally characters overlap in his books. As Morwellan, Rachel’s daughter turns up as a girlfriend then wife in A Perfectly Good Man, a tale of a vicar and his family and flock.

Currently I am enjoying A Place Called Winter set in pioneering days of the Canadian wilderness and I really don’t want it to end until I have secured another Patrick Gale. Here’s to the next one!

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