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A Perfectly Good Man Paperback – 24 May 2012

183 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (24 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007465084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007465088
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight in 1962. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester. He now lives on a farm near Land's End. He's a passionate gardener, cook, and cellist and chairs the North Cornwall Book Festival each October. His fifteen novels include A Perfectly Good Man and Notes From an Exhibition - both of which were Richard and Judy Bookclub selections, The Whole Day Through and Rough Music. His latest, A Place Called Winter, draws intriguingly on his family history. You can find out more on his website www.galewarning.org.

Product Description

Review

‘Guaranteed to give the reader a warm glow’ Independent

‘Warm and humane, this novel is beautifully written’ The Times

‘This being Gale there’s a compelling tale to be told … a convincing, moving account of man’s struggle with faith, marriage and morality’ Sunday Times

‘The unfolding nightmare for all the family of the consequences of adopting are exquisitely and painfully documented… The final chapter left me with a lump in my throat’ Salley Vickers, Guardian

‘At his best, Gale is an effortlessly elastic storyteller, a writer with heart, soul, and a dark and naughty wit, one whose company you relish and trust’ Julie Myerson, Observer

About the Author

Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight in 1962. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester. He now lives on a farm near Land's End. His most recent novels are The Whole Day Through and the Richard & Judy bestseller Notes from an Exhibition.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm U on 31 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patrick Gale's latest offering is wonderful and marvellous. I can't remember when I've read a book that has so moved and enchanted me.I live in West Cornwall and was born here. I know all the places where Patrick Gale sets the story. They've been familiar to me since I was a child. This has added considerably to my enjoyment of his novel. I'm also an Anglican priest and and in my ministry share much of what Patrick writes.
It is the story of a vicar, the triumphs, the failures, heart-aches, the loves, the doubts and set backs of this man. I loved especially the portraits and stories of each character in the novel. There are many flash-backs to former years and this method of recalling the past into the present is extremely effective. Tears and laughter follow each other like sunshine after rain.
I've read most of the author's books and I think this is his best...Wonderful and marvellous is an apt appellation.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Davidson on 12 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
Patrick Gale is perhaps slightly overlooked as a literary novelist but he is certainly that. His novels and short stories may give the appearance of undemanding narratives but I suspect there's a lot of craft in making them so and there is certainly a lot of art in making them something beyond just very good stories. His novel A Perfectly Good Man is a perfect fusion of craft and art. And it is subtle from the start; we know that the phrase 'perfectly good' is not all that it seems even if the 'but' that might follow it is unsaid.

A Perfectly Good Man is written from the view point of a over half a dozen characters, each chapter being the character at a particular age, allowing the narrative to build from person to person. What is especially interesting is that the character studies are not chronological so understanding of history and motivation is released only gradually. It would be interesting to read just the character studies of one character at a time or to read the studies in chronological order. If this were an e-book we might do this easily but I suspect Patrick Gale is not a writer who wants to play with form in this way and that he wants to tell the story as he wants it told. Fair enough.

The novel is prefaced with a quote from Thomas à Kempis about our imperfections from his De Imitatione Christi. The same book features in the novel, but more importantly it is the idea that any one person has dark and light in their personality, and that both nature and nurture has a part to play in making people, that underpins A Perfectly Good Man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By helen Argall on 2 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, the good news first - Patrick Gale has a beautiful writing style, a way with words combined with insight and a lovely sense of detail. I also love that he has insight into those who live with, struggle, and take religious faith seriously yet he never simplifies or patronizes this perspective on life.
Having said that, I have just given up about 2/3 of the way through and the sad thing is that Patrick's skill is a little wasted here. My big problem is first that the story line simply isn't strong enough - you have to CARE what happens to people and I simply couldn't engage enough with his protagonists. They are ok but I felt like I did when I used to accidentally find myself watching 'Big Brother' - a feeling of 'what am I watching this for? - I can have more interesting conversations in my own home.'
The other irritation is the rapid jumping forward and backward in the time line - oh so terrifically post modern. If the story is strong enough, just tell it as a linear narrative. It is fine to have 'flashbacks' to explain something but this just feels like Patrick himself didn't find the narrative convincing and felt he had to spice it up with a gimmick.
I love Cornwall and live near Penzance. I've also been an Anglican for 40 years and wanted to like this... but just didn't.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on 4 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another beautifully written masterpiece from Patrick Gale. The dramatic countryside of Cornwall is the backdrop for this tale of good and not so good. Father Barnaby is present at the suicide of Lenny, a young parishioner paralysed in a rugby accident.
Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different character, from different times in their lives. Gale is a master storyteller who cleverly keeps his audience guessing and reveals snippits of information so as a reader you are constantly re-evaluating what you know of the characters. A fantastic read, and a definite contender for my book of the year already. I would love to say so much more, but don't want to ruin your enjoyment of this book by spoiling any of the treats and surprises that are in store for you, read it for yourself and enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Persephone on 11 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In between reading Patrick Gale novels I always forget just how good they are. This one doesn't disappoint - I found myself thinking about it during the day, and going back and rereading sections. He portrays a perfectly fallible priest and the people around him with insight and sensitivity; I tend to feel a bit sad after his books - I think because they don't shy away from the everyday pains of life. But it's by no means unremittingly gloomy, there are many really uplifting thing in this, too. A really good read - highly recommended.
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