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Friendly Fire by [Gale, Patrick]
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Friendly Fire Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Review

‘Utterly compelling from first to last: sad and funny and written with the matchlessly fine yet modest prose that marks him out as such a superb writer’ Stephen Fry

'Friendly Fire is an intense tale of love, life, intellectualism and passion. Inspirational' Daily Express

'Patrick Gale is a writer who has always seemed particularly well attuned to the assorted agonies and ecstasies of childhood…The emotions still ring true' Daily Mail

‘Gale's finely tuned rites of passage novel depicts a learning curve of betrayal and shame’ Metro

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 most recent novels are The Whole Day Through and the Richard & Judy bestsellers Notes from an Exhibition and A Perfectly Good Man.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1014 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (24 Mar. 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00U0NJDS2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,228 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Such a brilliant writer
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great read can recommend HIGHLY.
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Wonderfull as always from patrick gale
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I have read a lot of Patrick Gale's books and they are always wonderfully insightful, well written and have the most engaging characters.. This is one of my favourites.
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Format: Paperback
This is the tale of three young teenagers at a very reputable boarding school. The narrator is an orphan girl who gets a scholarship to study there and becomes friends with two boys who are discovering their sexuality and who both develop feelings for a teacher.

Whilst there were parts of the book that I thought went on a bit too much (too much description and in-talk about boarding school life, layout and study) overall I enjoyed the book. Parts of it were quite touching and moving such as when Sophie learned about her past, and I also thought the boys’ family lives were well described. Their unabashed exploration of their sexuality was also good to read rather than the more normal self-abasement and terror usually written about boys at that age. However, all is not sweetness and light and they have to face prejudice that turns violent, and have to live within the confines of both the school’s and their families’ boundaries. It all leads to a dramatic and unexpected climax which I did not see coming.

Enjoyable – and well worth a read
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Format: Paperback
Set during the 1970s, Patrick Gale's 'Friendly Fire' focuses on Sophie, who is a bright fourteen-year-old when we first meet her, and whose life is irrevocably changed when she wins a scholarship to Tatham's, an exclusive and very traditional independent school with its medieval buildings and 14th century Gothic chapel. Sophie, who has been brought up in a children's home called Wakefield House, initially keeps herself very much to herself - the majority of the other pupils are from backgrounds hugely different to her own and although she isn't ashamed of her social status, she doesn't want to advertise her origins. However, when she sets eyes on Lucas Behrman, a wealthy Jewish boy whose exotic good looks attract her (in fact the first time she meets him, he is wearing a dress) Sophie allows herself to become caught up in his precarious life, and also in the life of Lucas's friend, the effeminate Charlie Somborne-Abbot, both of whom involve her in a web of complicity and collusion. Sophie, torn between the lure of Tatham's and of making the most of the wonderful educational opportunity she has been given, and the seduction of Lucas's way of life, realizes that there are lessons to be learnt both inside and outside of the school gates.

Although the plot is mostly fictitious, Patrick Gale has drawn on his own schooldays at Winchester College for his inspiration for this novel, and he has written a compelling and very atmospheric tale and one that is a coming-of-age story with a rather darker edge.
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By A Customer on 28 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
It's not surprising that Gale, brought up in prisons and public schools, should return from time to time to tales of institutional life. What is surprising is the freshness of perspective he manages to find in each reworking of a familiar milieu.
Themes recur as well as places: the outsider as the reference point for sanity (and often morality) and the use of a central character who is in some way freakish: Sophie, our protagonist here, has a bizarrely parent-less and yet multi-parented life and is reminiscent of Dido from A Sweet Obscurity in that though a child, she has a certain grave maturity which affects the lives of the adults around her.
These outsiders' stories may or may not carry some metaphorical representation of Gale's experiences as a gay man but what is fascinating is his ability to find the dystopic in the 'normal' and set it against the surer groundings which the freaks have managed to dredge out of their less-than-fortunate circumstances.
I've just read Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go' and there are interesting comparisons: Ishiguro's narrative is also set in a boarding school, also focuses on the interplay between apparently unusual children and the adult world around them. But Gale's story is the subtler of the two in that he does the whole job with character, rather than needing to invent a sinister parallel reality in order to provide the metaphorical underpinnings for outsider-hood.
I noted in a previous review that Gale is often compared to Joanna Trollope and Iris Murdoch. In Friendly Fire, we get a good taste of Dickens too: When Dr Harestock announces the morning hymn he 'never treated the first line as a title but read until the first full stop.' In Great Expectations, Mr.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of interesting detail about Winchester College. Hard to believe that Sophie would have been so unrebellious, that punk could have so little impact on these kids, that a low-class girl like Sophie could be so at ease with all the members of the upper classes that she comes into contact with.
The characters, Charlie, Lucas and Mr Compton are drawn much more convincingly than the straight ones - Sophie, Wilf and Margaret.
Overall an enjoyable read but not the definitive seventies school novel.
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