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Rough Music Hardcover – May 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345442369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345442369
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,640,513 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

'Like the sea he describes so well, Patrick Gale's clear, unforced prose sucks one in effortlessly … he is excellent at the telling detail and description' Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail

'There are no false notes in this book' Marie Claire

'An astute, sensitive and at times tragically uncomfortable meditation on sex, lies and family…. a fabulously unnerving book… a hugely compelling writer' Independent on Sunday

'It would be churlish to divulge more of the plot, suffice to say that it is as ingenious in design as it is generous in spirit' Sunday Express

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Patrick Gale's fiction has been acclaimed as 'romantic', 'subtle', 'hip', 'brutal', 'superb'. This is his most assured most accessible novel yet.

ROUGH MUSIC is a family story, covering three generations, starting with an idyllic – though definitely strange – childhood and ending in tragedy.

Julian as a small boy is taken on the perfect Cornish holiday. With the arrival of glamorous American relations emotions run high and events spiral out of control. Though he has been brought up in the forbidding shadows of the prison his father runs, though his parents are neither as normal or as happy as he suposes, Julian's world view is the sunnily selfish, accepting one of boyhood. It is only when he becomes a man- seemingly at ease with love, with his sexuality, with his ghosts – that the traumatic effects of that distant summer rise up to challenge his defiant assertion that he is happy and always has been.

Set mostly on the Cornish beach, against glittering seas, this is a remarkable, wholly recognizable story of the lies which adults tell and of the small acts of treason which a child can commit. Gale presents a compassionate portrayal of the merciful tricks of memory and the courage with which we continue to assert our beliefs in love and happiness.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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She walked across the sand carrying a shoe in either hand, drawn forward as much by the great blue moon up ahead as by the sound of the breaking waves. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully crafted book in which two generational strands alternate, gradually interweave and finally converge. The characters are entirely credible and perceptively drawn, especially the mother and the main character as a young boy who evokes universal feelings of childhood. A book which is both touching and wise. Utterly absorbing.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Marshall on 30 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
I loved this book, found it really hard to put down and have already checked out the author's other books on Amazon for future reading! It is written in an easy to read style but the characters are complex, interesting and sympathetic and left me wanting to know more about them.

It is mainly set around a holiday cottage in Cornwall over two family visits separated by 30 years, and the events of the past slowly unravel and merge with the characters' present day lives, as twists and details are revealed.

If you like strong characters and insights into human relationships this is a great book ... not a lot of action but very thoughtful and it left me with questions about things that were not quite resolved or clear.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
From the first few pages I was utterly captivated as the author drew me back into a long forgotten childhood. Gale's descriptive style of the Cornish sea and surroundings had me entranced and I was instantly intrigued by the obvious mysteries surrounding the characters. I especially enjoyed the way he used two storylines, one set in the past and one in the present, in each alternate chapter. This book was poignant and thought provoking - the description of Frances's descent into Alzheimers particularly moving. Absorbing, compelling and wonderful, I recommend this book to everyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 April 2001
Format: Paperback
For most novels, to reveal in a review that the central character is sleeping with his brother-in-law would ruin the story. "Rough Music" is not most novels. The relationship between Will and Sandy is just a tiny part of a text that looks at the childhood and adulthood of one man, and how one influences the other, and Gale does this with incredible skill. The method of switching between two narratives, set 30 years apart, could have so easily been confusing and annoying, let flows brilliantly. The plot is complemented by well drawn characters (with the possible exception of the slightly two-dimensional Roly, and the reader will care about them all. Contrary to what some say, intelligent readers will not feel the need to be spoon-fed the information concerning the identity of Will/Julian - indeed, the novel's major success it that this is gradually revealed to the reader, who can make their own deductions, rather than spelt out in block letters. "Rough Music" is hugely readable, and if you're put off by the "gay literature" tag, don't be; there is so much more to this text than the protganist's sexuality.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sevillana on 15 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Rough Magic after having read Notes from an Exhibition. This book is written in a similar style to Iris Murdoch which I absolutely loved. The emotional perspective is something Patrick Gale not only understands but relishes in his writing. His characterisations are superb. As soon as I finished the book I felt at a loss and began to re-read it, just to absorb the beautiful text and clever twists. Highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 May 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book two years ago because it was about Cornwall, and a part of Cornwall I know. It was unputdownable! I wasn't expecting it to be about gay men, and mothers having affairs with brothers-in-law. I was intrigued with each step back and forth the author took me. Reliving the family holiday in the 60's with the journey taking all night because the M4/M5 hadn't been built! then the up to date holiday with the role reversal - son looking after parents. Quite fascinating and now I've bought the latest Patrick Gale to read on holiday.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Iain C. Davidson on 4 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read four novels by Patrick Gale so far and, in my opinion, this is the best of the four (the others being 'Aerodynamics of Pork', 'Facts of Life' and 'Facing the Tank'). As others have noted, Gale's books are wonderfully easy to read whilst still being beautifully written - I would love to be able to write as seemingly effortlessly as that! Gale seems to like to write multi-strand, multi-character stories but this is probably the first time I have found each of the principals sympathetic and likeable in almost equal measure (almost because Frances and John engaged me marginally more than Will/Julian). I had no problem with the flipping back and forth between past and present in alternating chapters. Gale does this wonderfully clever thing where he eases the transition by giving each of the principals two chapters each in succession in each time period - this works very well. Its one of those books you keep thinking about for a while after you finish it.

As others have said, Frances' present day tale of her slip into early-onset Alzheimers is almost unbearably moving - those first and last chapters are a masterful stroke! On this, a third read, I was struck afresh at how wholly sympathetic a character John is and I liked him immensely. The early beach holiday is wonderfully nostalgic and brought back some memories of family camping holidays when I was a child (though thankfully not nearly so eventful). The book is not entirely without flaws - a couple of characters remain rather two dimensional (eg Roly and Bill) and indeed, I'm not sure that Roly was needed at all other than to provide a happy ending for Will; as in other Gale novels it seems remarkably easy to pick up handsome gay men in remote parts of the country!
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