27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
`Forgive us our trespasses',
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This review is from: A Perfectly Good Man (Hardcover)
Patrick Gale has again settled happily into using what is close to hand. This is a great joy for everyone who loves his home patch of West Cornwall. He makes it perfectly clear that his characters are made up but the places are real and you can visit them - thank goodness for his not messing about with their true names.
Reading A Perfectly Good Man made me dizzy, as if plunging my face into the most delicious rose and emerging slightly drunk with scent and beauty. The times and people are chopped about, at first apparently seeming randomly. Later it collects up neatly into a perfect whole. In the absence of a list I have copied out the chapter headings just to indicate what kind of layout the story takes. No need to read through all these, just take in the pattern.
Lenny at 20, Dorothy at 24, Barnaby at 60, Modest Carlsson at 64, Barnaby at 52, Dorothy at 34, Barnaby at 40, Carrie at 11, Barnaby at 29, Modest Carlsson at 55, Nuala at 36, Jim at 12, Barnaby at 21, Lenny at 14 ¾, Carrie at 35, Barnaby at 16, Modest Carlson at 75, Phuc at 27, Nuala at 56, Barnaby at 8.
All important threads run properly through the time lapses, with thoughtfully chosen seeds deftly planted to emerge fruitfully later. Comfortably, characters from previous work reappear, the Quaker family of Rachel Kelly being a joy to meet again.
The tale revolves around Barnaby, a quiet parish priest who looks after the churches of Morvah and Pendeen. Beautifully told and movingly tied up, the world of this far country parish is alive with secrets, devices and desires of the heart, appearances and, lurking in the shadows, a sly, evil worm in the bud.
I have read every book written by Patrick Gale and am a great admirer.