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The Aerodynamics of Pork Paperback – 4 Feb 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (4 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586091467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586091463
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Product description

Review

‘It is packed with arch dialogue, affectionate caricatures and the feigned good humour more commonly found in memoirs written by chauffeurs of the famous.’ Observer

‘A sad, funny and deeply searching novel. Plotting, characterisation and dialogue quicken the reader’s pace, just as the delicacy of the unfolding love stories quickens the heart.’ Publishers’ Weekly

‘A real craftsman, a master storyteller.’ Independent on Sunday

‘Gale’s concoction is irresistible: modern relationships with period charm. I couldn’t have liked it more.’ Armistead Maupin

From the Back Cover

Heady wish-fulfilment is in the air as two contrasting love stories entwine in the space of one simmering summer week. In London, a lesbian cop is surprised by subversive lust while investigating a series of violent attacks on newspaper astrologers. Meanwhile in Cornwall, the Peakes are conducting their annual music festival, the cue for their two ‘children’ – Seth, a young violin prodigy, and Venetia, a highly-strung scholar – to embark upon a voyage of self-discovery. As Seth sets out in hot pursuit of unconventional romance on the cliff-tops, the virginal Venetia displays every symptom of an Immaculate Conception. To cap it all Father develops unmistakable signs of criminal insanity. Harmony is eventually achieved, but not without bloodshed.

Deft in its observations and brilliantly wry in its characterisation, 'The Aerodynamics of Pork' is suffused with a double-edged wit that tickles with the first stroke and cuts deep on the second.

“A sad, funny and deeply searching novel. Plotting, characterisation and dialogue quicken the reader’s pace, just as the delicacy of the unfolding love stories quickens the heart.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Gale’s novels always catch one a little short with their flaky situations and obliquely deranged behaviour. It is only later – when that slippery charm has conveyed its resilience to everyday brutalities never far away – that his books reveal their grace and beauty.”
OBSERVER

Also available in Flamingo: 'Ease, The Facts of Life, The Cat Sanctuary, Kansas in August, Facing the Tank, Little Bits of Baby' and 'Dangerous Pleasures'.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm really shocked to find there's no review of this book on Amazon. I read it when it first came out - and have read it many times since.
It's a delicious collision of the English middle class, magical realism, and within the many threads of the plot, delicious romance - both gay and straight.
Most novels - and if you browse through Amazon's gay & lesbian list, you begin to think all novels - begin by creating a coherent and believable world which is then torn apart and destroyed. In the Aerodynamics of Pork, the world starts incoherently, and as the story progresses, through some wonderfully impossible and magical twists and turns, threads draw together, and everyone's problems evaporate. It's an incredibly uplifting experience, very funny, and very gripping.
All the way through the book, Patrick Gale makes the most uncannily brilliant use of music. Central to the plot, as it roughly centres around a music festival in Cornwall, if you know the pieces he uses, you'll find them ringing round your head as you read. Quite amazing.
But more than anything, you come away feeling that pigs really might fly, that your own life could take a magical turn at any point, and you'll come out ten times more optimistic than when you started.
Read it!
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Format: Paperback
I was introduced to Patrick first by Rough Music and then by Notes from an Exhibition - both of which I loved. I therefore decided to explore more of his back catalogue.

This is Patrick's 1986 debut and it is interesting to see how his writing style has developed over time. The story concerns the Peake family who travel to Cornwall to an annual classical music festival and a lesbian police officer who investigates a series of mysterious burglaries in London that target astrologists.

There is the usual exploration of relationships that you expect from a Patrick novel but the characters lack depth and it is difficult to warm to any of them. I found Mo, the police officer, particularly challenging. I wanted to care about Seth and his relationship with artist Roly but ultimately I wasn't really bothered; Roly was unnecessarily objectionable when he first meets Seth for no apparent reason and Seth seemed to be going through an adolescent phase rather than looking for any sort of meaningful relationship. None of it was as real as I've come to expect from Patrick.

That said, it was an enjoyable read as the plot developed and you came to realize how the two apparently disparate stories related to one another. Anyone expecting masterpieces of characterization and depth of relationships as experienced in Patrick's more recent novels will be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
I read this some time after reading the excellent 'Rough Music' and was intrigued to find that it had links to that book. This is Patrick Gale's debut novel and as such is very good. His now familiar style of multi-strand story telling with more than one main protagonist is evident here. Gale does seem to be more comfortable writing about the middle and upper middle classes and therefore the chapters involving the Peake family were rather more convincing (even if much of their dialogue and interaction seemed a little too 'Noel Coward' for the time period) than those involving Cockney copper Mo. Having said that I did appreciate the subtle change in writing style for each - the narrative as well as the dialogue for Mo is much simpler and more direct. I did not feel particularly involved with Mo's personal story (although there was a rather moving chapter where she visits her elderly foster mother) and the 'crime mystery' didn't come to much. I assume Gale intended the identity of the culprit to be very obvious from an early stage because it was! Perhaps I demonstrate tremendous stupidity or ignorance here but I really did not understand what all that was about nor did I really 'get' the phantom pregnancy storyline which all seemed to come to nothing and was therefore rather pointless.

The Seth and Roly romance was touching in places and all too easy; Gale attempts to put obstacles in their path but these are none too convincing. A couple of the secondary characters are interesting and even touching (esp Bronwen) and despite her seemingly irrelevant storyline I liked the character of Venetia. The mother Evelyn was just a little too accepting and understanding to be entirely convincing.

For all that I was intrigued enough to keep page turning and as always, Gale's writing style is beautiful and his descriptions evocative and satisfying. A good read!
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Format: Paperback
It must be admitted that the title of Patrick Gale's first novel, published in 1986, is weird, perhaps even offputtingly so. But the clue to its intepretation would appear to lie in the proverbial "pigs might fly". Which generally implies that what is theoretically possible is, in a pragmatic world, extremely unlikely. And that we should all be getting on with "real life" instead of speculating and dreaming.
But Patrick Gale would appear to be suggesting that such idle musing is precisely what makes life worth living...
This short first novel consists of two intertwined narratives. One, set in Cornwall, revolves around the fifteen-year-old musical prodigy Seth and his elder sister Venetia, a Cambridge undergraduate, the precociously gifted children of bohemian Evelyn; the other, set in London, centres on Mo, a heartily bluff gay policewoman. As such, "The Aerodynamics of Pork" lays the groundwork for Patrick Gale's subsequent work. The narratives are tentatively linked from the beginning, when Mo witnesses Evelyn as the unwitting victim of a pickpocket, through various common features (such as kippers...) to the imminent interaction of the characters in the final section, corresponding to the birthdays of both Seth and Mo.
The novel is a clever study in subversion and subterfuge. The echoes are discreet and varied, but the most obvious parallel is that between the incipient gay relationships between Mo and Hope in London and between Seth and Roly on the Cornish coast. These are set against the background of other problematic relationships, most notably that between Evelyn and her mysteriously absent husband, Huw.
If this is an "apprentice work", then it is quite clearly a very good one for a writer then only in his mid-twenties.
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