My reading is far outpacing my writing and posting of reviews on this blog. I refuse to apologise. But I absolve to correct this imbalance of priorities and set myself the task of catching up. No promises though!
Patrick Gale is quite simply one of my favourite authors. I love everything he writes so it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I loved this novel. I loved the way I got sucked into the idyllic setting and the idea of a perfect, happy childhood. I was sucked into believing everything the characters believed.
Mr Gale writes clear exquisite detail without losing his readers in long wandering, aimless paragraphs of prose when your eyes glaze over. Instead he skips the through his plots and before you know it you are fully engaged in the outcome.
Will invites his parents to join him on a beach holiday not realising that he is about to step into a hornet's nest of powerful memories. His mother suffers dementia. Will is having an affair with his brother-in-law which he has tried and failed to end. This could so easily have become all a bit of a soap opera as we travel back and forth in time to Julian's (Will's childhood name) messy childhood and Will's messier adulthood.
But it doesn't become melodramatic in the least. Instead the story reminds us that we all have a bit of a mess inside of us and lived messy lives at various times.
Julian (aka Will), as a character, is not all that easy to like. I never quite trust people who tell me they had a perfect childhood and have a perfect life. I suspected all along that the reality would be revealed in time.
I was mildly annoyed with the stereotypical representation of Americans but I let that wash over me.
I highly recommend reading this book and gave it a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.