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The Cat Sanctuary Paperback – 14 May 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007307683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007307685
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

‘Splendidly realised Cornish moorland setting, wellies, ruts, dripping sheep…Gale’s specialist forte being pathos into bathos, tears of desolation leaking into the gravy, but he writes about the difficult emotions with delicacy, perception and a rare ferocious charm’ Guardian

‘“The Cat Sanctuary” is a book with claws. It has a soft surface – a story set in sloping Cornish countryside, touching on love, families and forgiveness, delivered in a gentle, straightforward prose – but from time to time it catches you unawares. Scratch the surface, suggests Gale, and you draw blood’ The Times

‘Gale’s writing is marvellously entertaining, and there is a compelling sense of biting deep into the core of the bitter truth’ Cosmopolitan

‘Like Gale’s previous novels, it’s an elegantly menacing, enjoyable read that starts as it means to go on – dynamically. “The Cat Sanctuary” presents people’s lives and coiled springs, wound tighter and tighter until suddenly they unleash themselves on their nearest and dearest…It’s a deep and moving book; highly recommended’ New Woman

From the Back Cover

Judith and Deborah are sisters driven apart by traumatic events in their childhood, but thrown back together again when Deborah's diplomat husband is accidentally assassinated. Judith's lover, Joanna, the instigator of this awkward reunion, finds that as the sisters' murky past is raked up, so too is her own, and the three women become embroiled in a tangle of passion and recrimination.

"Engrossing…Gale is a charmingly idiosyncratic write who could not write a cliché if he tried."
DAILY TELEGRAPH

"Like Gale's previous novels, it's and elegantly menacing, enjoyable read that starts as it means to go on – dynamically. It's a deep and moving book; highly recommended."
NEW WOMAN

"Gale's writing is marvellously entertaining and there is a compelling sense of biting deep into the core of the bitter truth."
COSMOPOLITAN

"A book with claws."
THE TIMES

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Patrick Gale is a master storyteller and The Cat Sanctuary a powerful and moving book shot through with humour and humility. Essentially it is the story of two sisters, Deborah and Julia separated for years by geography, personality and sexuality. Tragic circumstances throw them back together when Deborah's diplomat husband is accidentally assassinated and as the grief begins to subside skeletons start falling out of cupboards. In a cottage in Cornwall they and Joanna, Julia's lover, are forced to confront their pasts as well as the awkwardness of their present. This is a beautiful yet truthful study of the pain unwittingly inflicted by friends, lovers and family. This book is supremely well-observed. The backdrop of the Cornish countryside in all its moods is a metaphor for the stormy and capricious nature of relationships - you can almost taste the mist and it's a beautiful place to lose yourself for an hour or two.
As in his other novels there's a supporting cast of eccentric and bizarre characters all of whom are sympathetically and truthfully drawn. Patrick Gale has the ability to make the extraordinary seem usual and the usual extraordinary. His characters live on in the mind well after the final page is turned.
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By Susannah B (SusieB) TOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 April 2016
Format: Hardcover
As Deborah waves goodbye to her diplomat husband, Julian, a bomb explodes beneath the car he is travelling in and he is killed outright. After spending time in the hospital in Seneca, Deborah is visited by her sister Judith's lover, Joanna, and is invited by Joanna to recuperate in the home she shares with Judith in Cornwall. Deborah is hesitant, she and Judith have barely spoken over the past few years (in fact Deborah is not even fully aware that her sister is involved in a lesbian relationship), but Joanna, despite not having discussed her invitation in advance with Judith, manages to persuade Deborah that she will be welcome. When Deborah, scarred from the flying glass from the bomb explosion and suffering from the shock of Julian's assassination, arrives in Cornwall, both she and Joanna can see that Judith is not as welcoming as perhaps she should be, and as the three women spend more time together, events from Deborah's and Judith's distant and distressing past gradually come to the surface - but can their relationship withstand these unsettling issues being brought out into the open? And furthermore, how will the revelations affect Judith's and Joanna's future life together?

I always enjoy reading Patrick Gale's novels and I picked up this hardback edition (couldn't resist the cat on the cover) from the bookshelf of a relative of mine, expecting a really good read. However, although this book is very well-written and I enjoyed the author's evocative descriptions of the Cornish countryside, I found this particular novel didn't engage my interest as much as other books I have read from Mr Gale.
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By A Customer on 15 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
As with Patrick Gale's other books, I find too many unwieldy and awkward sentences - I do wish he'd get rid of all those oddly-placed and irritating "howevers". However, the characters and situations are fascinating, and the reader gradually warms to the initially drippy but eventually courageous Deborah, Judith's bereaved sister. The relationship between the sisters is uneasy, and gradually we discover that both have reasons to feel guilt and shame about their childhood. The minor characters are well-drawn, especially eccentric Esther of the eponymous cat sanctuary. Ultimately an engrossing book which draws you into difficult relationships, and, like all Gale's novels, has a strong sense of place and community. As with ROUGH MUSIC, I find that Gale is more successful at portraying female relationships than he is at male ones - as all the main characters are female here, the novel shows his strengths.
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Format: Paperback
Patrick Gale writes warmly and humanely on the subject of family and emotional journeys. And then there is this book. Admittedly an early work, but filled with stock characters, cold and embittered to whom it is impossible to warm, metaphors which are so heavy handed you have to double check that this is in fact by Gale and no plot, just a moment in these women's lives. Deborah and Judith are equally awful and the explanation (if it could be called that) is just too simplistic. Joanna is somewhat warmer but in an obviously confident and loud American fashion. I struggled to finish this and am now wary of more of Gale's early works. No comparison to his wonderful, post Rough Music writing. A shame.
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Format: Paperback
Didn't feel as if there was much story in this one . The characters were there but the story was just peeping into some ordinary peoples lives . i was nearly finished the book and i was wondering if anything was ever gonna happen ? Some good books by Patrick gale so was determined to read them all .
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read most of Patrick Gale's books, but this one is nonsensical I am afraid. Gave up after chapter 3 as had no idea what was going on or who was who. Most of his other books get 5 stars from me though, so don't be put off trying others.
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