Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rough Music by Patrick Gale




  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Genre : Fiction
  • Publisher: This edition Fourth Estate an impression of Harper Collins 2009. Originally published 2000 by Flamingo.
  • Source: Another Bookcrosser
  • First Sentence : ‘She walked across the sand carrying a shoe in either hand, drawn forward as much by the great blue moon up ahead as by the sound of the breaking waves.’
  • Review Quote :’A painfully acute but never reproachful examination of a past that will not vanish’ Daily Telegraph.
  • My Opinion: An author I enjoy and will try to read all his books if I can obtain copies.


Patrick Gale is a prolific author but I was only introduced to his writing two years ago by my sister when she recommended Notes from An Exhibition(2007) and lent me a copy of The Whole Day Through(2009), the latter which I never reviewed for some reason, although I do remember liking it. Instantly hooked his entire back catalogue has now been added to my Wishlist. The only other title I have read so far is Friendly Fire (2005). 

I find that Patrick Gale is a particularly sensitive writer for a man but I think this may stem from the fact that he is gay. I hope this is the politically correct term to use, but I am not sure. However he is quite open about the fact and in the question and answer section at the end of this novel talks about his husband who is a farmer. The fact he obviously draws on personal experiences in life and location, they live on a farm in Cornwall are I am sure part of his success as a novelist. I am really looking forward to locating more of his books to read.

Straight away I was drawn into this thought provoking and touching novel, set in alternate chapters of past and present. Patrick Gale has a love of the west of England and the sea and his evocative writing is very absorbing bringing the setting and the characters to life for me whilst I am reading.

Julian, who changes his name to Will as an adult because of a nickname he was given at school is the main character and most of the story is built around a family holiday that did not go quite as planned when he was a small boy. As a man Will seems at ease with his sexuality but it is on another holiday that the traumatic effects of that long ago summer come back to question his happiness. Were his parents quite as happy and as normal as he always thought they were?  The  relationship between them in the present part of the novel where the mother is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's is very moving.

I do not want to reveal the plot so cannot say too much here but it will keep you guessing with plenty of hints but exactly what happened is not revealed until the final chapters.


Patrick Gale Copyright © 2009 , Phillipe Matsas / Opale

Patrick was born on 31 January 1962 on the Isle of Wight, where his father was prison governor at Camp Hill, as his grandfather had been at nearby Parkhurst. He was the youngest of four – one sister, two brothers, spread over ten years. The family moved to London, where his father ran Wandsworth Prison, then to Winchester. At eight Patrick began boarding as a Winchester College Quirister at the cathedral choir school, Pilgrim’s. At thirteen he went on to Winchester College. He finished his formal education with an English degree from New College, Oxford in 1983.
He has never had a grown-up job. For three years he lived at a succession of addresses, from a Notting Hill bedsit to a crumbling French chateau. While working on his first novels he eked out his slender income with odd jobs; as a typist, a singing waiter, a designer’s secretary, a ghost-writer for an encyclopaedia of the musical and, increasingly, as a book reviewer.
His first two novels, The Aerodynamics of Pork and Ease were published by Abacus on the same day in June 1986. The following year he moved to Camelford near the north coast of Cornwall and began a love affair with the county that has fed his work ever since.
He now lives in the far west, on a farm near Land’s End with his lover, Aidan Hicks. There they raise beef cattle and grow barley. Patrick's current ambition is to perfect the art of reversing a tractor and trailer around a corner.

Biographical info is taken from Patrick Gale - Official Website

Learn more about the man and his writing on his Official Website

Introduction to Rough Music on Patrick Gale’s Official Website


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  1. Hi Linda. I also read Notes from an Exhibition, and really enjoyed it. This is a good review and, as Cornwall is the next County to Devon where I live, I am sure I will really enjoy it. Another one to be added to my list (which is growing all the time I might add!).

  2. I would love to read the books by this author! I'll see if my library has any! Thanks! I linked up today, too! ♥

  3. Alternating between past and the present sounds interesting.Also, i dont think i have read any book by a gay author yet. So this one goes to TBR for a lot of reasons.Thanks.

  4. It sounds terribly interesting! Thank you for linking up to our What We're Reading party this month!

  5. I really liked Notes from An Exhibition, and after your review, I am sure I would like Rough Music too. This sounds like an intense, thought-provoking read. Thanks for the review!

  6. Thanks so much for linking-up to our party :D i will definitely research these books. You probably guessed that my husband's family is originally from Cornwall (last name Treleaven), so I might like these books. Thanks for a great post. I like the details you put in yours, especially about the writers! :D

    Ricki Jill

  7. Linda...How will I ever keep up? I like the sound of this one and my library has it so eventually I will get to it. thanks for the recommendation and the review.

  8. :) It was a good review Lindy! :) I always enjoy the human touch that you add to your reviews

  9. Thisisme@ Thankyou and apologies for adding to the TBR list but I do think you will enjoy this one.

    Lavender Dreamer@ I hope they do have some of his books as would be interested to know what you think.

    Bonnie, It is and I enjoy doing so.

    Ricki Jill@ I think you might find them interesting then, considering, also delighted you enjoy the author info.

    Patricia@ I know I know, sorry although I am delighted really to be adding to your TBR list.

    Divenita@ Why thankyou your comment is much appreciated.

    Bhargavi@ Delighted to have tempted you, do let me know how you get on.

  10. Hi Linda,
    Another new author to get to know, this book reading lark is taking over my life!

  11. Maggie@ Ha, Ha! I know what you mean but still love to read and what a lovely excuse to sit in the garden in the summer or curl up by the fire in the winter.


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