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The Facts of Life by [Gale, Patrick]
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The Facts of Life Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 560 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Review

‘Patrick Gale offers us so much more than facts in this extraordinary blockbuster of a novel. Its exploration of family ties and tyranny is encompassed within a deft narrative. Much like the late Ivy Compton-Burnett, Gale presents us with a family saga which both questions and defies present day morality. Always fluent, Gale manages to be both brutal and witty. His analysis of the family tree is rooted in compassion and insight and expounded resoundingly well.’ Time Out

‘Wonderfully vivid, this novel is peopled with characters who compel you to care.’ She

‘Gale’s best and most complex novel. Gale is both a shameless romantic and hip enough to get away with it. His moralised narrative has as its counterpart a rigorous underpinning of craft. This reads, page by page, like a superior gushy blockbuster, but has, as part of its form and subject, a sober consideration of the place of sentiment and rigour in life and art.’ New Statesman

‘Brilliant. Vastly readable.’ Marie Claire

‘It is impossible to put “The Facts of Life” down. A rural English blockbuster. It is beautifully done.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Deftly characterised, deeply involving and relevant. A memorable achievement.’ The Times

About the Author

Patrick Gale was born in 1962 on the Isle of Wight. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and now lives in north Cornwall.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1656 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (24 Mar. 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C0U6ZJI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #212,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Like Gale's most famous novel, 'Rough Music', 'The Facts of Life' features two narratives several years apart concerning the same family. While the two threads are not interweaved in the same way as 'Rough Music', and do not have the same obvious link, both prove gripping reads, and the strong characterisation of Edward Pepper is retained throughout. As is common in Gale's work, a key theme is homosexuality and its complexities, but it would be unfair to pigeonhole this purely as 'gay literature' - anyone who appreciates strong storytelling will enjoy this novel. The contrasts between Edward and Jamie, the similarities between Sally and Alison and the three key deaths all provide particularly strong moments; and fans of Joan Collins are sure to indulge in a wry grin at the character of Myra Toye...
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Format: Paperback
Facts of Life is one of those books that stands head and shoulders above others in the AIDS genre. As previous reviewers have pointed out, its a novel of two halves, contrasting two tales of courtship from different times. It is the juxtaposition of a modern gay fairy tale (with the drop dead gorgeous Sam who I long to bump into next time I wander past a construction site) and a beautifully written tale of post war (straight) romance that adds realism and a sense of perspective. Facts of Life cleverly juggles the bad and good fortune we all have to put up with in life, but, in typical Gale style, optimism wins the day. As one has come to expect of Gale, Facts of Life is faultlessly crafted, weaving story lines and drawing the reader in like much of his other books. Rather unfortunately Facts of Life is often to be found in the gay and lesbian section of your book shop. Don't let this put you off... this is a novel for everyone. Go read.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this in 1995 and it has been sitting safely on a shelf, together with my nearly complete collection of Patrick Gale books for nearly twenty years. This month we are reading A Perfectly Good Man for our Book Club and so I decided to revisit The Facts of Life as background browsing.

The more innocent first part is easily reminiscent of wide ranging mid last century family novels such as The Cazalet Chronicles Collection - 4 Books (RRP £33.96). Edward/Eli Pepper/Pfefferberg, most elegantly bridges both sections. He arrives, in wretched health, at a TB hospital, to be cared for by Dr. Sally. They make friends and the book begins to take shape. As a couple they are at first bohemian then more middle class. Throughout the story, wonderful music ripples through, as an underscore. Edward earnestly composes and plays, struggles as an artist ahead of his time, to conform, earn and build a reputation. Sally settles, allowed the freedom she needs by a generous mentor, Dr. Pertwee, who gifts her The Roundel, an unusual and inspirational female entailed property, that becomes their characterful home.

This is a very good tale, a hugely involving read; all of which is suddenly turned around by a shocking event. Sally only appears twice in the second part, which takes a very different turn. Written at the height of HIV/AIDS panic Patrick Gale has sensitively and comprehensively written the ultimate account of what it meant to be alive at that time and feeling very frightened.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, much more so than I was expecting to. The book is in two parts, the first details an unlikely post war love story with the lives and loves of their grandchildren filling the second part of the book. These could almost be two separate books but there is a similarity as both tales cover all aspects of the Facts of Life both good and bad, finding love and enduring tragedy. I thought there was a real warmth and honesty to the characters and you felt for and cared about both sets of couples. The horror of the impact of AIDS on both victim and family was excellently portrayed, with the sadly inevitable outcome bringing real emotion to me.

The book is so much better than the impression given by the bland blurb on the back of the book.

Recommended
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Format: Paperback
The story is unusual, but the previous reviewer's suggestion that it's two books joined together, one better written than the other, seems bizarre. Effortlessly readable, the story is compelling throughout and extremely well crafted. It's not Dickens - or even Martin Amis - but it is very good, and to be recommended.
(And if Armistead Maupin liked it, you can't really argue with that, can you?)
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Format: Paperback
I recently bought a copy of Patrick Gale's latest novel "Notes From An Exhibition" and I thought before reading it I'd re-read this book as it has always been my favourite of Gale's novels and made a real impression on me when I read it back in the mid 90's. At first I felt disappointed, I'd had this book taking up space on my bookshelves for over ten years and it really wasn't doing much for me, but then, and I think this is one of Gale's skills as a storyteller, it began to draw me in and I found myself really caring for characters I hadn't particularly liked at the start of the book. And once the author has drawn you in and you begin to care he starts to put you through the emotional wringer - one moment I was laughing aloud the next I felt like crying. There's an air of melancholic nostalgia which permeates the whole book and which is absolutely beautiful. Three generations of the Pepper family live or stay at The Roundel in this novel which spans from the post-war years to the present day. The house is given to Sally Pepper, a doctor, by a childless woman friend with the proviso that it continues to be passed down the female line of the family, but interestingly enough, it is the male characters on which the house seems to exert more of its influence, particularly Sally's husband, Edward who lives in the grounds for the duration of the novel and for whom it is an escape from the harsh realities of his past, as a German Jew and also for his grandson, Jamie, who uses the house to escape from the realities of his present, as he uses it as a retreat whilst suffering from AIDS.
It is extremely well-written and fully deserves its place on my bookshelf where it will now be going back on the space it left waiting to be re-read again at some point in the future. It still remains my favourite of Patrick Gale's novels (with "Rough Music" coming in second) and it has made me look forward to reading the new one.
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