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Ease Paperback – 29 Jul 2011
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‘A quick-thinking book by an author who has something to say’ Guardian
‘Patrick Gale writes with the understated fluency that is the hallmark of contemporary British fiction, and with the irony that usually accompanies it. Like William Boyd and Martin Amis, he skilfully blends the light and the dark, moving unobtrusively from comedy to drama without losing narrative momentum or integrity’ Book World
‘A sleek and silky novel’ Boston Sunday Globe
‘Ease is a second novel by a young Briton whose gifts and insights are notable’ International Herald Tribune
‘Captivating. A novel that pleads to be read at a single sitting’ Publishers Weekly
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. His sixteen novels include The Whole Day Through, the Richard & Judy bestseller Notes From an Exhibition and his most recent, A Perfectly Good Man. You can find out more on his website www.galewarning.org.
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Patrick Gale's 'Ease' is the story of Domina's few weeks spent in Bayswater and of the characters she meets in the dilapidated Victorian house where she rents her bedsitting room. There is her landlady, Tilly, an ex-mortician and: "..a plump creature with frizzed, reddish hair and a face like a dried dumpling"; there is Avril, a middle-aged writer who spends her evenings in Piccadilly chatting to rent boys as research for her book; there is Thierry, a young Frenchman who takes Domina to a gay bar for her entertainment; and then there is Quintus Harding, a young history student who is considering becoming a monk, but who finds Domina intriguingly attractive.
This slim novel is Patrick Gale's second book and I read in a broadsheet paper how Gale, when interviewed, commented that he is a little embarrassed by his earlier books; well I don't think he should be. Admittedly this novel is not perfect; the writing occasionally feels like the author is trying to find his style and, naturally, it is not as accomplished as Gale's more impressive later works; but, on the whole, I really enjoyed this novel; I found it interesting, entertaining and, apart from a very sad event about which I cannot say more for fear of spoiling the story, I found it very amusing and galloped my way through the entire book in a single sitting. If I were to compare this book with Gale's later work, especially his latest:A Perfectly Good Man then I might have to be strict and score this book 3 Stars, but if I were to score purely by entertainment factor, I would have to award this book at least 4 Stars.
So it's 4 Stars then.
Also recommended by the same author: A Perfectly Good Man and Notes from an Exhibition
Gale's characterisations are witty and dynamic as usual and there are smacks of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. I was also reminded of John Irving's Prayer For Owen Meany due to the twist at the end (which I won't reveal) and how this links back to something we already know about the characters. I really didn't see it coming!
A thoroughly enjoyable read from early Gale and, although not like his more recent offerings, every bit as good.
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