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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful, Useful Novel
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...
Published on 12 Aug. 2012 by Jonathan Davidson

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars mmmnnn... disssapointing
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...
Published 17 months ago by helen Argall


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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Forgive us our trespasses', 13 April 2012
By 
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Perfectly Good Man (Hardcover)
Patrick Gale has again settled happily into using what is close to hand. This is a great joy for everyone who loves his home patch of West Cornwall. He makes it perfectly clear that his characters are made up but the places are real and you can visit them - thank goodness for his not messing about with their true names.

Reading A Perfectly Good Man made me dizzy, as if plunging my face into the most delicious rose and emerging slightly drunk with scent and beauty. The times and people are chopped about, at first apparently seeming randomly. Later it collects up neatly into a perfect whole. In the absence of a list I have copied out the chapter headings just to indicate what kind of layout the story takes. No need to read through all these, just take in the pattern.

Lenny at 20, Dorothy at 24, Barnaby at 60, Modest Carlsson at 64, Barnaby at 52, Dorothy at 34, Barnaby at 40, Carrie at 11, Barnaby at 29, Modest Carlsson at 55, Nuala at 36, Jim at 12, Barnaby at 21, Lenny at 14 ¾, Carrie at 35, Barnaby at 16, Modest Carlson at 75, Phuc at 27, Nuala at 56, Barnaby at 8.

All important threads run properly through the time lapses, with thoughtfully chosen seeds deftly planted to emerge fruitfully later. Comfortably, characters from previous work reappear, the Quaker family of Rachel Kelly being a joy to meet again.

The tale revolves around Barnaby, a quiet parish priest who looks after the churches of Morvah and Pendeen. Beautifully told and movingly tied up, the world of this far country parish is alive with secrets, devices and desires of the heart, appearances and, lurking in the shadows, a sly, evil worm in the bud.

I have read every book written by Patrick Gale and am a great admirer.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfectly Good Man, 3 May 2012
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This review is from: A Perfectly Good Man (Hardcover)
A Perfectly Good Man

This is a wonderful poetic, perceptive and very realistic insight into a very varied group of characters, in whom the author has breathed real life. It is as if he "knows" each one of them intimately, and cares about them all. It has an emotional impact of much variety too. I felt as though these "people" had become my "friends", even the less desirable ones: I shared vividly in their joys and their sorrows.

Centred round rural Anglican life in Cornwall, but by no means exclusively so, it was for me a pure delight as was Barnaby, the principal character.

The writing (eg the second chapter) is of the finest quality. It flows naturally, like any good encounter with precious friends should.

It is a most readable and satisfying book in every way (including the ending), like a very good wine or cheese.

Probably one of the finest books I have had the pleasure to read in a long time.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this, 26 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: A Perfectly Good Man (Paperback)
Just finished this book - one of those where i really didnt want it to end and just wanted to go on and on discovering more about the characters. Beautifully written - at first i was surprised how it sprang from one time period to another; then realised how the pattern helps to pull all the story together and you can begin to see how the characters relate to each other and the impact they have on each others lives. I was gripped from the opening chapter and then again , half way through the book, had to take myself back there to re read it once I realised the startling revelation. DO read this, i dont think you will be disappointed - 5 stars!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An imperfectly good man, 8 July 2012
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The man in question is Barnaby and aspects of his life and those around him are told in a variety of vignettes in the third person but centring on a different person at a different point in their lives. The episodes are not always chronological which means you get to know a character in snapshots sometimes like Lenny, the suicide from chapter one, as a disillusioned adult before encountering him as a young in love teen. It makes the reading more poignant. As always with Gale, sympathetic and flawed characters and beautifully crafted tale. Thankfully Barnaby is good but not perfect and thus more sympathetic. Though in Modest, there is a character who seems thoroughly bad or at least thoroughly unsympathetic and thus a counterpoint to Barnaby. Beautifully written. I probably preferred Notes from an Exhibition but still recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find!, 16 Aug. 2013
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Another book that I bought at the suggestion of a friend. Patrick Gale is a masterly writer and his books are like jigsaws which give you all the pieces, in the wrong order and allow you to put the story together. They are tight and well-written and a thoroughly good read.

I can do no more than recommend them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!, 14 May 2012
By 
Roo B (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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My first time reading Patrick Gale, but certainly not the last! This is a beautifully and cleverly constructed story with many strands,which gradually knit together. At the beginning I couldn't quite understand how the characters were related but all is gradually revealed and makes for a thoroughly satisfying read. Thank you!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Moving, 8 April 2012
By 
Mr. C. Mcintosh (Reading, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Perfectly Good Man (Hardcover)
Having read all of Patrick Gale's work for many years, I was eagerly awaiting A Perfectly Good Man and he did not disappoint. I can't remember when I read such a proufoundly moving and engaging book - a real page (ok click button kindle..) turner. Characters who draw you in with such intensity that I feel a real sense of loss having finished the book. The only thing to do now is re-read it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle reflection, 9 April 2012
This review is from: A Perfectly Good Man (Hardcover)
I am comparatively new to Patrick's writing and still have some of the back catalogue to catch up on (which is great news for me!). In keeping with those books I have read, A Perfectly Good Man, has a gentleness that I find extremely touching. The book made me reflect on many issues - suicide obviously, but also the nature of goodness and human relationships. Even his creepy character was written with an empathy which perhaps hints at Patrick being a "perfectly good man" too? It is wonderful to read a book that makes you reflect but without the violent challenge often associated with 'books that make you think'.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to others...and indeed have just given a copy to my mother for her birthday!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strange format but a good read in the end, 30 Aug. 2012
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I was not too sure about this at first as I found the jumping about in time and with the various characters rather muddling and when certain facts were mentioned in one person's life I wasn't sure if I just didn't remember them or if I hadn't been told about them yet so just started to read on regardless in the hopes that all would be explained in the end. Mostly it was and I decided that I actually was enjoying the story and wanted to find out more. But I was still left with a feeling that perhaps I hadn't concentrated enough at the beginning. I think I enjoyed it over all though!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So appealing, 14 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: A Perfectly Good Man (Paperback)
Patrick Gale's style is so appealing - he is the master of understatement. This is a beautifully written book - crisp and clear with a kind of melancholy running through it. His style actually reminds me of Esther Freud's writing - they both have the ability to portray complex emotions and events in a very unadorned way. Barnaby is a very real and appealing character. Parts of the novel - like the day trip to London to see the march really stick in the mind. Carrie was the stand-out character for me - PG is really great at the adolescent perspective. A very satisfying novel.
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A Perfectly Good Man
A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale (Hardcover - 15 Mar. 2012)
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