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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 25 July 2010
A well written book of short stories, each with a mild twist. The writing style is good, but the endings of each of the stories was almost a let-down. The promotional material for the book suggests various levels of dramatic twists, but they are more twee than thought provoking.
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on 30 October 2009
By Patrick's own admission short stories are not a popular medium. That surprises me although I have several friends, including my father, who are avid readers and they don't enjoy short stories. I would have expected them to work very well for today's society with short attention spans and desire for quick, instant fixes. They don't need a huge investment and can be read in short snatches of time without needing to remember what happened before - perfect if you don't have a lot of time to spend reading.

In terms of Gentlemen's Relish, Patrick's second set of short stories after Dangerous Pleasures published 10 years ago, it is a fabulous collection. The short story format gives Patrick the opportunity to explore his dark side and includes wonderful ghost stories and some unsettling tales of the macabre that are, in turns, deliciously wicked and chilling. These are accompanied by heart warming and humorous tales of people and relationships.

It's hard to pick a favourite but Freedom and Gentlemen's Relish were particularly lovely, the latter could easily have been the opening chapter to a fabulous novel but also had a completeness in its own right. Saving Space is the best of the chillers. If you don't usually go for short stories this is a great place to start, something for everyone and Patrick's fans certainly won't be disappointed.
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on 8 December 2012
I am not a great fan of short stories and although I am a big fan of Patrick Gale (I have read most of his books) this didn't change my mind.
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on 18 October 2015
I’ve really enjoyed some of the author’s novels but I thought this collection of short stories to be quite slight. There were only two stories that I would have liked to have read more about. For most of the others, when finished, it was a case of feeling “was that it?”

I expected more and thought the book somewhat disappointing.
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on 12 January 2010
I find it difficult to understand people who say they love reading but refuse to try short stories. After all, sometimes I like having a starter, main course and dessert at a restaurant but at other times a snack at home hits just the spot just as well. And so it is with this latest volume of short stories by celebrated author Patrick Gale. To his credit the sixteen stories in this volume cover a range of genres (from horror and suspense through twist in the tale stories to more contemplative character-driven stories).

Having read four of Patrick Gale's novels I was delighted to discover a darker, more sinister side to his writing in these tales. But fear not fans - in all the stories in this collection his ability to create believable characters in a short space of time is always very much in evidence.

Without giving too much away, I just wanted to highlight a couple of the stories that really stood out for me:
THE LESSON - a housewife, emotionally and physically isolated through her husband's job, strikes up a relationship with a prisoner
COOKERY - a young man's skills in the kitchen equip him with unexpected but necessary skills meaning he is never short of a culinary solution or two when life throws a spanner in the works
PETALS ON A POOL - a case of mistaken identity provides an author with the opportunity to travel to 'heaven on earth' but is this other eden all it's cracked up to be?
THE EXCURSION - a susceptible woman is convinced to leave her "softly softly" church in favour of one which is certainly not love-thy-neighbour. Dark and VERY funny!

The stories here are brilliant examples of what the short story form can offer us -a world we can dip into for a short but memorable time. So what are you waiting for? Come on - give short stories a go!
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on 2 June 2014
I enjoyed these short stories. They seemed particularly personal in their settings, a prison, farms and Cornwall. Patrick Gale's love of cooking, animals, family and relationships were also in evidence. Quite surprising, then, just how dark some of these tales are. Not at all light and fluffy.
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on 26 November 2014
Not as enjoyable as I had hoped, rather poor in fact
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on 12 August 2014
Very enjoyable selection of short stories from a top writer. Some are teasingly short, all are thought provoking, and most leave you wanting more - but that's the name of the game. One of my favourite writers.
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on 11 November 2013
All the tales start off interesting and then by the end, all rather a fuss about nothing. Maybe I am missing the point of these stories?
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on 15 September 2010
Patrick Gale is a superb writer and having read some of his other books and having seen him at the Buxton Literary Festival I was excited about his latest book of short stories.
My oh my was I in for a shock!
Started off gently and intriguing but then went to unbelievable depths of darkness and horror.
They were grim and not easy to read and showed a much darker side to the author.
Read at your own risk!
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