Learn more about Patrick Gale.
Kansas in August Paperback – 4 Feb 2002
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‘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.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Patrick Gale's writing, the way that he draws you into the characters is unique in my experience. But this novel failed to meet his usual standards for me. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Fredericka 53
Love the Author, haven't read the book yet but am sure it will be good.Published on 7 Jun. 2015 by lesley griffin
Three inter-related characters trudge through their lives in a dull post-colonial British winter-of-discontent, seeking comfort in alcohol, deceptive sex and brief (but... Read morePublished on 12 Mar. 2013 by Daniel Park
I'm as corny as Kansas in August, a lyric taken from South Pacific, is about Hilary and Henry, bother and sister, English teacher/aspiring musical actor and psychiatric Doctor. Read morePublished on 18 Oct. 2009 by that's what it's all about