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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars filled with longing.........yearning................
I've never read any Patrick Gale novels before, but after reading this, I certainly will now! 'The Whole Day Through'is just excellent! It is filled with longing.....for lost loves, lost lives, lost youth, and yearning........for what was, what could be, and what is. Laura and Ben were young lovers, though socially incompatible. Laura's parents were academics, and she has...
Published on 10 July 2009 by laineyf

versus
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant summer read
I had enjoyed Patrick Gale's "Notes from an Exhibition" so when I saw a new Patrick Gale on the reading list I immediately ordered it. The concept of structuring events around a single day is not a new one, Michael Cunningham brilliant "The Hours" springs to mind, but here the handling is more pedestrian.
Laura has returned from Paris to care for her elderly mother...
Published on 26 April 2009 by Denise hale


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars filled with longing.........yearning................, 10 July 2009
By 
laineyf "widnes" (warwickshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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I've never read any Patrick Gale novels before, but after reading this, I certainly will now! 'The Whole Day Through'is just excellent! It is filled with longing.....for lost loves, lost lives, lost youth, and yearning........for what was, what could be, and what is. Laura and Ben were young lovers, though socially incompatible. Laura's parents were academics, and she has had an unorthodox upbringing - her parents being naturists, and estranged from family, as well as being older parents. Ben, on the other hand comes from a happy home, he has a brother with a mosaic form of Downs Syndrome, of whom Ben is very protective. Their affair is passionate, but eventually fizzles out. Laura moves on to Paris, where she has a succession of unsatisfactory affairs, and Ben becomes a Doctor specialising in HIV. He goes on to marry Chloe, who was a very popular, pretty and rich girl at University, and not someone that Laura could ever relate to. Years later, laura returns to England to care for her now widowed and disabled elderly mother, and bumps into Ben. Some passions never die - they are merely left simmering until a chance encounter awakens them, and so it is for Ben and Laura. However, they are older now, they each have responsibilities, and ties.
This book just aches with longing, and the dilemma which faces Ben and Laura is very real, and utterly believable. I loved it, devoured it, and will read it again. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, 16 July 2009
By 
Mrs. J. Jones "janejones" (Chester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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Typical Patrick Gale, slick and accomplished, language polished to perfection, unpredictable, a smooth surface hiding dark undercurrents. His characters always seem a tad 'Notting Hill' but he has a way of getting to the inner man (or woman) and as usual there is plenty of sex - gay and straight.

Gale is one of the few writers to portray gay characters for what they are - just like the rest of us. However, Bobby, the gay chap in this book, is not like the rest of us, he has Mosaic Down's Syndrome. This is another Gale trademark - a character suffering some obscure medical condition. He seems to be on a mission to get us all to leave aside our prejudices and treat everyone as equals. I've always liked his treament of older people, portraying them (us!) as living, breathing, sexual beings. Professor Jellicoe shows us the fragility of life as she heads towards an old age dependent on her daughter Laura, bones broken by osteoporosis. Gale has a particular sympathy with women, (a previous novel gave me the vocabulary to describe the horrors of the menopause) such a rarity in a male writer. This is one of the reasons that he is almost my favourite author, a close second to Isabel Allende.

Laura is the dutiful daughter, Ben the lover (a venereologist - is Gale a frustrated doctor?) and brother of gay/Down's Bobby. Cloe is Ben's wife, waiting on the sidelines while he chooses between her and Laura. Like most of Gale's books, there are layers upon layers and he is maturing into a very significant writer who deserves a much wider readership.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant summer read, 26 April 2009
By 
Denise hale (CHELTENHAM, Glos United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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I had enjoyed Patrick Gale's "Notes from an Exhibition" so when I saw a new Patrick Gale on the reading list I immediately ordered it. The concept of structuring events around a single day is not a new one, Michael Cunningham brilliant "The Hours" springs to mind, but here the handling is more pedestrian.
Laura has returned from Paris to care for her elderly mother who now lives in the home town of her college boyfriend of twenty years ago. Ben, the ex-boyfriend, has returned to his childhood home to look after his brother following the death of their mother. Laura and Ben meet and their mutual attraction is rekindled, but is it really their destiny to be together?
The chapters oscillate between Laura's story and Ben's. Laura's evolves around the care of her mother, whilst Ben's centres on his avoidance of dealing with the problems in his marriage to Chloe. Whilst these two are the focus it is the other characters who will influence the relationship's outcome without even meaning to. Patrick's strength is in his understanding of why people struggle with their problems when to an outsider (like the reader) the solution may seem obvious. The colour in Patrick's books comes from the grey areas of life.
For me this book did not meet the standard set by "Notes" but I did enjoy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 11 Jun 2009
By 
Sue at home (Cheshire. uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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This is the first Patrick Gale novel I have read and I will certainly be reading more from this author.

I won't write a synopsis of the plot as there are many available on this website already.

This novel is engaging from the start. Interesting characters and relationships, excellent story development and fluent prose kept me avidly reading.

A book I would definitely recommend to friends, although, I think, generally book which would appeal to women.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle but Fascinating, 19 Mar 2012
By 
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Hardcover)
Laura Lewis is a self-employed accountant. She has an independent life residing in the romantic capital Paris. Unfortunately the deteriorating physical health of her aging mother, an eminent virologist, Professor Jellicoe leads to her having to return to Winchester to take up the role of carer.

Ben has also had to return to Winchester to ensure the emotional well-being of his brother Bobby who suffers from Mosaic Downs Syndrome. His beautiful wife has stayed in London awaiting his return to his prestigious medical position and to continue the adoption process that she has set her heart on.
Ben and Laura meeting by chance, many years after their teenage romance, demonstrates to them both how their lives have altered but also makes them think about the different existence that they might have had.

The peaceful ebb and flow of this novel examines losses we may all face at some point in our lives. There is the loss of opportunities never taken or opportunities that are denied us. There is the story of loss of love, regrets about relationships that were allowed to fall by the wayside and finally there is loss of health and independence, occurrences that affect both the sufferer and their families. These are all brought together sensitively and with a real flair for story telling.

I was engrossed in this book from the first page and read it quickly. There was no action and it wasn't written with cliff-hangers where I desperately wanted to know what happened next. It was written in a style that was delightful and soothing to read without being boring. I soon felt involved with the characters and was interested in their lives.

Before I started this book I expected it to be a pretty standard chick-lit novel which I thought I would enjoy. However I found it a more thought-provoking read than I expected, it was moving without being slushy and entertaining without being laugh out loud funny. I would certainly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Day Through by Patrick Gale, 19 Jan 2010
By 
Mrs. MJC Haire "Magda" (West Sussex England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
Amazing book, could not put it down. The way that sensitive issues have been written about was brilliant and so believeable. Just want to get more of his books now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual but outstanding Gale!, 3 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
Is it ever a good idea to attempt to go back to an earlier, happier time? Will you be able to recapture the same feelings? Can you fulfil your (family) responsibilities while seizing the chances at happiness life offers you? These are some of the questions that Patrick Gale tries to answer in his most recent novel. I can see that opinion is divided on this novel but I have to say that I loved it! All the usual aspects you would expect from a Patrick Gale novel were there - well-observed examination of human relationships, intriguing characters and issues that I was left mulling over long after finishing the novel (specifically parent-children relationships and our right to happiness above all else).

This is a much shorter novel than Patrick Gale usually gives us and I think that may be where some readers have been disappointed. Remember, however, the events that are depicted are those of one summer's day (and the memories and musings that this triggers in both characters' lives). With each of Patrick Gale's books that I read I am continually amazed at his ability to portray quirky yet realistic characters. I found his portrayal of Laura/Lara and her relationship with her mother particularly convincing and found the insight into their daily lives very moving.

The plot of this novel has already been discussed at great length in other reviews but I feel it's necessary to say that Gale seems to have purposefully avoided the large cast of characters this time in order to concentrate on two characters in particular and the relationship that might save them both from their own self-inflicted prisons. A real gem of a book - full of life in all its many forms.

READ IT - you won't be disappointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfactory ending turns what could have been great into just ok, 21 May 2009
By 
Stellastar (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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This was the first of Patrick Gale's I have read, though since reading this I have read the excellent Notes from an Exhibition which I enjoyed more.

Laura comes home from Paris to Winchester to look after her mother who cannot manage on her own anymore. Whilst home she bumps into her former boyfriend, the now married, Ben, and they reignite their romance.

Whilst I could empathize with both characters, they both struck me as rather weak people (explaining why would give away the key plot twists so I will refrain myself from that). I actually enjoyed the secondary characters of Laura's elderly mother, a naturalist and former academic and Ben's Down's syndrome brother - both much stronger individuals.

Whilst I wouldn't have expected a glowing sunset of an ending, the day seemed to peter out rather than properly finishing.

Worth a read, but only if you can borrow from a friend or the library, I don't think I would want to own in order to re-read.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gale of a day, 25 April 2009
By 
Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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Again Patrick Gale captures the reader in the emotions of the protagonists as he did so beautifully in Notes from an Exhibition. He takes a different approach but displays the same symbiosis with his reader - there is a need to identify, become a part of the story. There is a twenty year gap before Laura and Ben meet again and the irony and bathos of their parting reveal something of the arrogance of youth. Laura interestingly changes the spelling of her forename as did Rachel in "Notes", Ben combines a bedside manner with a sense of humour, even devilment when testing his nosey friends who have a gratuitous interest in his work at the AIDS clinic. Harriet, apart from her naturism, fits the mould of the academic, clever, decaying now, essentially self-absorbed. Chloe is almost one-dimensional. Bobby charming, easily made happy,longs for the independence and love which may elude him because of his condition.

Gale's prose is elegant and exquisite, he writes as one who owns the English language, using euphemism so originally.

A human landscape of strength and weakness, advantage and disadvantage and all its ripples, pleasures and pains are within the pages of this novel, structured as if it takes place in one day in their lives. Typical of family life things are left unsaid, torments unaddressed, yet these characters face most of their gremlins with an attitude of belief in winning through and behaving nicely whatever the personal cost. Sad, funny, cutting to the core of the essence of relationships and the gamut of emotions this novel haunts and bewitches. Unselfishness survives. The denouement is staggering. Gale weaves this story with brilliance.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love Without Passion, 28 May 2009
By 
pjr (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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Patrick Gale's latest novel is both shorter and a lot more direct than some of his more recent efforts. Forgoing the multi-layered plotlines of "Notes From An Exhbition", his somewhat flawed previous effort, this focuses on the lives of its two protagonists, Laura and Ben, and their rediscovery of a lost love.

Gale writes with his usual easy paced style and the story moves along pleasantly enough. The love affair builds gradually and through a series of rather comfy coincidences. Gale builds the background of his characters well enough but the story doesn't engage in the way some of his earlier works do. The supporting characters include Laura's elderly mother and Ben's brother who is has Down's Syndrome and also happens to be gay. For once their unusual difficulties seem rather shorn onto the plot for a combination of convienience and to flesh out the rather drab story. Ben's wife also appears in the novel but is kept as a distant and rather two dimensional character, the main difficulty is that the first two thirds of the book seem oddly flat.

It's not all bad. As the plot reaches its climax (broadly from the decision of Laura and her mother to go to evensong) the book suddenly brightens and the writing suddenly seems to rise of the page in manner comperable to the best of Gale's work. It may come a little late but is enourmously welcome antidote to the rather pedestrian opening sections. The book builds to a very satisfactory climax for the reader. As for the characters, you will have to find that out.

Overall a smaller and slighter book. It won't disappoint fans of Gale's work, and those looking for a book for the beach this summer will probably be thouroughly satisfied. Yet compared to some of Gale's work it does seem to lack a little substance. Perfectly readable, but lacking the depth and substance to call it a really essential read.
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