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Rough Music Paperback – 14 May 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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£9.98 FREE UK Delivery on book orders dispatched by Amazon over £10. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; (Reissue) edition (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007307675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007307678
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'Like the sea he describes so well, Patrick Gale's clear, unforced prose sucks one in effortlessly … he is excellent at the telling detail and description' Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail

'There are no false notes in this book' Marie Claire

'An astute, sensitive and at times tragically uncomfortable meditation on sex, lies and family…. a fabulously unnerving book… a hugely compelling writer' Independent on Sunday

'It would be churlish to divulge more of the plot, suffice to say that it is as ingenious in design as it is generous in spirit' Sunday Express

From the Inside Flap

Beautifully written and deeply compassionate, Rough Music is a novel of one family at two defining points in time. Seamlessly alternating between the present day and a summer thirty years past, its twin stories unfold at a cottage along the eastern coast of England.
Will Pagett receives an unexpected gift on his fortieth birthday, two weeks at a perfect beach house in Cornwall. Seeking some distance from the married man with whom he's having an affair, he invites his aging mother and father to share his holiday, knowing the sun and sea will be a welcome change for. But the cottage and the stretch of sand before it seem somehow familiar and memories of a summer long ago begin to surface.
Thirty-two years earlier. A young married couple and their eight year-old son begin two idyllic weeks at a beach house in Cornwall. But the sudden arrival of unknown American relatives has devastating consequences, turning what was to be a moment of reconciliation into an act of betrayal that will cast a lengthy shadow.
As Patrick Gale masterfully unspools these parallel stories, we see their subtle and surprising reflections in each other and discover how the forgotten dramas of childhood are reenacted throughout our lives.
Deftly navigating the terrain between humor and tragedy, Patrick Gale has written an unforgettable novel about the lies that adults tell and the small acts of treason that children can commit. Rough Music gracefully illuminates the merciful tricks of memory and the courage with which we continue to assert our belief in love and happiness.

"From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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Excellent
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Rough Magic after having read Notes from an Exhibition. This book is written in a similar style to Iris Murdoch which I absolutely loved. The emotional perspective is something Patrick Gale not only understands but relishes in his writing. His characterisations are superb. As soon as I finished the book I felt at a loss and began to re-read it, just to absorb the beautiful text and clever twists. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I have read four novels by Patrick Gale so far and, in my opinion, this is the best of the four (the others being 'Aerodynamics of Pork', 'Facts of Life' and 'Facing the Tank'). As others have noted, Gale's books are wonderfully easy to read whilst still being beautifully written - I would love to be able to write as seemingly effortlessly as that! Gale seems to like to write multi-strand, multi-character stories but this is probably the first time I have found each of the principals sympathetic and likeable in almost equal measure (almost because Frances and John engaged me marginally more than Will/Julian). I had no problem with the flipping back and forth between past and present in alternating chapters. Gale does this wonderfully clever thing where he eases the transition by giving each of the principals two chapters each in succession in each time period - this works very well. Its one of those books you keep thinking about for a while after you finish it.

As others have said, Frances' present day tale of her slip into early-onset Alzheimers is almost unbearably moving - those first and last chapters are a masterful stroke! On this, a third read, I was struck afresh at how wholly sympathetic a character John is and I liked him immensely. The early beach holiday is wonderfully nostalgic and brought back some memories of family camping holidays when I was a child (though thankfully not nearly so eventful). The book is not entirely without flaws - a couple of characters remain rather two dimensional (eg Roly and Bill) and indeed, I'm not sure that Roly was needed at all other than to provide a happy ending for Will; as in other Gale novels it seems remarkably easy to pick up handsome gay men in remote parts of the country!
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book, found it really hard to put down and have already checked out the author's other books on Amazon for future reading! It is written in an easy to read style but the characters are complex, interesting and sympathetic and left me wanting to know more about them.

It is mainly set around a holiday cottage in Cornwall over two family visits separated by 30 years, and the events of the past slowly unravel and merge with the characters' present day lives, as twists and details are revealed.

If you like strong characters and insights into human relationships this is a great book ... not a lot of action but very thoughtful and it left me with questions about things that were not quite resolved or clear.
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This is not a bad book. Really, it's not. But having read the wonderful "Notes from an Exhibition" I was hoping for something more. This book just isn't at the same level. It is clearly the work of a talented writer: the descriptions are vivid, the prose well-constructed and some of the scenes are genuinely heart-touching, particularly the closing chapter. But the main characters are unsympathetic, their behaviour is inconsistent and the plot is preposterous; the "twists" at the end come as a disappointment. It's almost as if a good writer has been handed a plot outline written by someone else entirely, and is struggling to make the best of a bad brief. If you're looking to try one of Gale's novels and you've not read "Notes..." I would strongly urge you to read that one instead; IMHO that's a five-star book.
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By Bookaholic TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Sept. 2016
Format: Paperback
This is a slow book which gently unfolds some significant events in the lives of the characters. We run in two timescales - the 1970s where Julian goes on a memorable holiday to Cornwall with his parents and Will in the present day who also takes a memorable trip to Cornwall, this time with his elderly parents. Will's mother has early onset Alzheimer's. On both occasions the core family has extra guests which cause significant ripples.

It is rather difficult to describe this book without giving away any spoilers. The two parallel stories do wander along quite slowly with very few major happenings until towards the end. I quite enjoyed this and was happy with the pace of the book. We got to know the characters and the context of their family life. I have to say that although the writing was good, the descriptions of the places and characters wasn't quite as three dimensional as it could have been. There is much to discover on the way as there are many family secrets to be explored and ultimately to rise to the surface.

I shouldn't like the character of Will as he does do something totally unforgivable. However, I did quite like him. He was happy wandering along in his own, quite comfortable world until it all gets shaken up and he has to discover what he really wants. The character of Will's mother, Frances, is brilliantly written. She is sliding very slowly into a confused world of dementia and things are becoming confused in her mind. She is a very sad character as is her husband, John, who loves her so much yet has to watch this decline.

There is a really heartbreaking scene in this book which has practically nothing to do with the main story. It describes John's friend, Sylvia, whose husband has slipped further into dementia until he attacks her.
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