'Gale is an effortlessly elastic storyteller, a writer with heart, soul, and a dark and naughty wit, one whose company you relish and trust' --Observer
'What Gale does so well is to delineate the unpremeditated spider-web consequences of actions, most particularly those where the intentions are apparently perfectly good... The final chapter left me with a lump in my throat' --Guardian
The new novel from Patrick Gale, author of Richard & Judy-bestseller ‘Notes from an Exhibition’, returning readers to his beloved Cornish coastline.
"Do you need me to pray for you now for a specific reason?”
“I’m going to die.”
“We’re all going to die. Does dying frighten you?”
“I mean I’m going to kill myself.”
When 20-year-old Lenny Barnes, paralysed in a rugby accident, commits suicide in the presence of Barnaby Johnson, the much-loved priest of a West Cornwall parish, the tragedy's reverberations open up the fault-lines between Barnaby and his nearest and dearest. The personal stories of his wife, children and lover illuminate Barnaby's ostensibly happy life, and the gulfs of unspoken sadness that separate them all. Across this web of relations scuttles Barnaby's repellent nemesis – a man as wicked as his prey is virtuous.
Returning us to the rugged Cornish landscape of Notes from an Exhibition, Patrick Gale lays bare the lives and the thoughts of a whole community and asks us: what does it mean to be good?