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Kansas in August by [Gale, Patrick]
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Kansas in August Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 160 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Review

‘Patrick Gale, on the strength of this modern, excellent and sympathetic novel, seems to be bound for greatness.’ Stephen Fry

‘Patrick Gale is an elegant, witty writer, with an engagingly bizarre imagination.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Gale’s blend of artifice and realism is not quite like anybody else’s.’ Observer

From the Back Cover

Hilary is a young, attractive teacher with aspirations to be a tap-dancer. Henry, his elder sister, is a crisp, professional psychologist. The unpredictable and unreliable Rufus, a failed pianist, is their lover – whom neither Hilary nor Henry realise they are sharing. Despite the constant danger of discovery, this unwitting triangle persists, in delicate balance – until, that is, someone new and totally unexpected enters the frame. Having rescued an abandoned baby boy, found soaked and tearful in a subway, Hilary decides, to his own great surprise, to become a surrogate parent.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 731 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (26 Mar. 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00U0NJDOG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,237 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hilary is a young man striving to become an actor; he can sing and tap dance and he spends much of his free time listening to Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. However, being an out-of-work entertainer with very little money is not for Hilary, so he teaches English, part-time, at a nearby comprehensive school in order to pay the rent on his cramped flat on the North Pole Road, four minutes bicycle ride from his workplace and from Wormwood Scrubs. Hilary has a lover called Rufus, who is tall, dark and ruggedly handsome and teaches the piano one day a week at Hilary's school - but what does Rufus do with the remainder of his time? Hilary's sister, Henrietta (Henry) is a thirty-five-year-old psychologist living alone in her converted warehouse apartment. One blustery, rainy day, Henry picks up a man at the side of the road; he is tall, dark and ruggedly handsome and although he and Henry become lovers, there is something significant that this man is hiding from Henry. When Hilary, out alone one night, finds an abandoned baby in a subway and takes the baby back to his home to take care of him, his act of kindness starts a whole series of events that affect not just Hilary, but others around him. And when Social Services try to remove the baby from Hilary's care objecting to the fact that he is gay, Hilary's life begins to become rather complicated.

This novel, named after a line in a song :'(I'm in love with) A Wonderful Guy' from the musical 'South Pacific' is a very short read, but it is an enjoyable one. As always with novels from Patrick Gale, this is beautifully written with characters you become involved with and care about.
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Format: Paperback
Patrick Gale's novel Kansas In August was an interesting, if never a very engaging read. It features some rather strange people. There is a man called Hilary and a woman called Henry. They are brother and sister. They share a lover, a bisexual guy called Rufus, but neither brother nor sister is aware of the situation because certain parties have used false names. (It seems that these people always want to be someone else.

Henry is the stronger character. She is a successful medic specialising in often threatening psychiatric cases. Hilary teaches music peripatetically. Some of the children he meets might benefit from the attentions of his sister. Rufus is a partially credible amalgam of a macho man, gay pride, anything, perhaps, that he can think of today. But it is the word "think" that seems to provide the greatest challenge for these people.

They are presented as contemporary Brits rattling around west London. It is apparently always snowing. There are constant strikes and various other social challenges that result in piles of rubbish permanently half-hiding the urban decay that lines the streets. There is much alcohol consumption and occasional drug abuse, probably conceived as recreational, despite the fact that no-one ever seems to have any money.

Hilary finds a baby - yes, a real baby - abandoned in a cot. He seems to think that finders can be keepers and sets about being its foster parent. He seems to be under a personal impression that he can keep his find, as if he had discovered a stray dog or a dropped wallet. He sets about occasional feeding and watering, and takes it out once in a while to provide diversion. A young Asian girl befriends him and develops a crush.
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Format: Paperback
Like some of the other reviewers here, I was not sure what to make of this book. I didn't find it especially engaging or memorable - in fact, writing this review a couple of weeks later, I'm already struggling to remember what the story was actually about. I like Gale's writing on the whole but I found that the flow of this book was occasionally held up by fairly long explanations about a certain character or their background, which to me seemed out of proportion in a novel of this length and would have been better woven more naturally into the story-telling. Not Gale at his best.
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Format: Paperback
Synopsis from Amazon:
In this first novel, Dr Henry (Henrietta) Metcalfe falls for a hitch-hiker, Rufus. A psychiatrist and a teacher, both are intent on concealing their true identities. To complicate this comedy of sexual role reversal, Rufus is having an affair with Henry's brother, Hilary, who wants to be a father.

I don't really know what to make of Kansas in August. This is certaintly not the best Gale book I have read. The book seemed disjoined, with random characters flitting in and out of the story. There seemed no definite storyline, we just seemed to follow three character, Hilary, Henrietta and Rufus through odd events which distantly relate the characters to each other. I didn't like the ending, which I honestly was begging to come. I don't feel the story is ended and I'm left feeling completely unsatisfied. All revelations could have come a lot earlier in the story. That I think would have made the book improve vastly. It was not a long book, 158 pages, but one I did consider putting down a few times. I didn't really connect with the characters, there was nothing about any of them that I could relate too. I'm left disappointed really.

4/10
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