Learn more about Patrick Gale.
Notes From An Exhibition Paperback – 7 Jan 2008
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'Poised and pitch-perfect throughout, this is an engrossing portrait of a troubled and remarkable character. A fine writer at the top of his game’ Mail on Sunday
‘This is an uplifting, immensely empathetic novel, and Gale's prose, as ever is as clear and bright as the Cornish light' Guardian
'It has the kind of quietly radiant intelligence, craft and integrity that bypasses superficial questions of originality. A novel with a variety and freshness that is all the more powerful and surprising for being discovering in such a circumscribed and very English milieu' Adam Lively, Sunday Times
'Skilfully constructed as a mosaic of different viewpoints that shift back and forwards in time. A warm, well-written novel about creativity and the perils of living with the creative spirit' Times Literary Supplement
'By the end I had laughed and cried and put all his other books on my wish list. This is dense, thought-provoking, sensitive, satisfying, humorous, humane – a real treat' Toby Clements, Telegraph
'Beautifully written, slowly unravelling tale…Patrick Gale's serene and carefully crafted prose conveys a profound understanding of the workings of human relationships and the torment that mental illness causes its sufferers and also those around them' Ross Gilfillan, Daily Mail
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 A Perfectly Good Man and the Richard & Judy bestseller Notes from an Exhibition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Structuring itself around the themes of art, death, and bipolarity the subject matter gives the impression of the serious minded. The handling of the link between central character Rachael Kelly's bipolarity and her creativity is well handled and insightful. Here the book rises to its challenge with aplomb. One clever trick is that the central character is really only fully appreciated from the perspectives of the other characters in the book. This is due, in part I suspect, to her bipolar disorder but it is a very clever conceit indeed.
Gale writes engagingly throughout and I did find the book both easy to read and difficult to put down. You are genuinely engaged by some of the characters in this book. Apart from Rachael, the children Hedley and Morwenna are well rounded, as is her husband Anthony. The trouble is the book devotes time to about 3 more characters and weaves in little subplots.
It's here where the book both falls down and looses its sense of purpose. There is simply too much going on and too many people to spread the story around. The inclusion of Petroc is useful and although his character is not as fully fledged as some his place in the plot is quite important.Read more ›
Rachel's background is a mystery - she refuses to talk about where she comes from apart from vaguely alluding to Canada. After her death her husband Antony, encouraged by her oldest son, begins to seek out her origins.
The Quaker faith of Antony gives the book a calm still heart which contrasts well with the difficulties weathered by the family.
Above all it is an optimistic book that shows that although the family has had to endure the pain and misery of living with mental illness they can nonetheless find strength and happiness through the love and memories that they all share.
I struggled towards the end of the book between wanting to know Rachel's story but not wanting the book to end! It is the first Patrick Gale book I have read - but I've already started looking out for his other work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this novel from start to finish. I love Cornwall and could picture the places. The plot kept me guessing throughout and I love the characterisation. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
First order I think is still on the van. Received a rebate and purchased again.Published 1 month ago by CMA
Really enjoy Patrick Gale novels. I did enjoy A Place Called Winter more than this though. Would have liked a different ending.Published 2 months ago by Tina Allsebrook
Beautifully crafted piece on the subject of artistic brilliance and manic depressionPublished 2 months ago by stuart smithers
A refreshingly unusual story. However, I found the narrative rather disjointed.Published 3 months ago by Barry White
This is my first read of Patrick Gale and I enjoyed it on many levels. The keen insight into childhood insecurities and family dynamics - the bargaining with fate and reliance on... Read morePublished 3 months ago by MF
The title of this compelling and often moving novel is taken from the information cards often displayed next to a work of art in a gallery. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amanda Jenkinson
Exploring a family tainted by mental illness,troubled Rachel dominates the dynamics of family life. Read more
A pleasure to read, wanted more. Patrick Gale has such understanding and amazingly the ability to share it so simply.Published 3 months ago by Glyn