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A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale
  

A Perfectly Good Man

Literary Fiction   Books of the Month   
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012.

The perfectly good man of the title is a Cornish vicar who is asked, by a wheelchair-bound young man, to witness his suicide. We then follow the vicar's life, non-chronologically, from 8 years old (the last chapter) to shortly after the suicide. Each chapter provides a snapshot in a character's life when something significant occurs which weaves together the significance of the suicide on all. We even got some characters from Notes From an Exhibition. It explores the lives of ordinary people in such a way that their lives seem beyond the mundane, a truly lovely novel.

If you like Patrick Gale you might also like to read books by Edmund White, Alan Hollinghurst and Sebastian Barry.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale

The new novel from Patrick Gale, author of Richard & Judy-bestseller 'Notes from an Exhibition', returning readers to his beloved Cornish coastline. 'Do you need me to pray for you now for a specific reason?' 'I'm going to die.' 'We're all going to die. Does dying frighten you?' 'I mean I'm going to kill myself.' When 20-year-old Lenny Barnes, paralysed in a rugby accident, commits suicide in the presence of Barnaby Johnson, the much-loved priest of a West Cornwall parish, the tragedy's reverberations open up the fault-lines between Barnaby and his nearest and dearest. The personal stories of his wife, children and lover illuminate Barnaby's ostensibly happy life, and the gulfs of unspoken sadness that separate them all. Across this web of relations scuttles Barnaby's repellent nemesis -- a man as wicked as his prey is virtuous. Returning us to the rugged Cornish landscape of 'Notes from an Exhibition', Patrick Gale lays bare the lives and the thoughts of a whole community and asks us: what does it mean to be good?

Reviews

'At his best, Gale is an effortlessly elastic storyteller, a writer with heart, soul, and a dark and naughty wit, one whose company you relish and trust. In fact you feel you would believe anything he told you -- and if I have a small complaint, it's that he sometimes doesn't quite seem to realise it, doesn't trust in his own genuine power. Now and then he writes a little too hard, too carefully or too deliberately. Relax, you want to tell him. Trust yourself, because we do. Do less, because what you do is already so effective. But it's a minor quibble in a novel which managed to upset and uplift me in equal measure, and which kept me company -- and kept me guessing -- right through to its slightly bitter and heartfelt end'
Julie Myerson, Observer

'What Gale does so well is to delineate the unpremeditated spider-web consequences of actions, most particularly those where the intentions are apparently perfectly good . The unfolding nightmare for all the family of the consequences of adopting are exquisitely and painfully documented! The final chapter left me with a lump in my throat'
Salley Vickers, Guardian

'Late at night on the day a new Patrick Gale arrives I am always to be found crouching on the icy bathroom floor, banished from the bedroom for keeping my husband awake, feverishly turning the pages. The pins and needles are terrible, but worth it.'
Spectator

About the Author

Patrick Gale

Patrick Gale was our Guest Editor in June 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester before going to Oxford University. He now lives on a farm near Land's End. One of this country's best-loved novelists, his most recent works are A Perfectly Good Man, The Whole Day Through and the Richard and Judy bestseller Notes From An Exhibition.

Author photo © Daniel Hall Photography

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Book Info

Publication date

24th May 2012

Author

Patrick Gale

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Author's Website

www.galewarning.org/

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Publisher

Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback

Categories

Literary Fiction
Books of the Month


ISBN

9780007465088

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