February 6th, 2008


Rough Music

So I started my introduction to Patrick Gale . As soon as I saw the title I thought of Thomas Hardy and sure enough, a quotation from The Mayor of Casterbridge introduces the book. It’s not particularly appropriate as the two scandals in the story never become public, so only affect the lives of the protagonists. I enjoyed the book very much. It is very well written, full of apposite descriptions and observations without being at all consciously literary, making it accessible to all. The ‘now’ and ‘then’ stories are cunningly linked and you read on to find out what really happened in the past. I was sorry to finish it. I did feel the author was too neutral over the truly shockingly bad behaviour of his characters. My other quibble is that I find it hard to believe a man could completely forget traumatic events which took place when he was eight years old.

Alzheimer’s disease plays an important part in the story but it is not an issues book, although the Alzheimer’s helpline number is given at the back. I’ve just started Notes from an Exhibition, which is ‘about’ mental illness but I imagine in the same way: showing its effect on other people. Unfortunately I have taken a violent dislike to the main character in this one, so I’ll wait to see if the book grips me in the same way.