Notes from an Exhibition
We meet manic-depressive artist Rachel at various stages of her life; as a precocious student, a promiscuous teen and an unloving mother; but never as a likeable character. Her lack of maternal feeling makes it difficult for the reader to have compassion for the tortured artist, who seems nothing more than a vessel for her mental disorder.
The novel is written fro...more
Some books are great and you want to turn the pages faster and faster because you are so enjoying reading them but then other books are really fabulous and you want to turn the pages slower and slower to make them last. This story is one of the latter. Only when I discovered that Patrick Gale has a decent sized back catalogue to look into did I allow myself to keep reading to the end at a reasonable pace. I know I'm going to keep thinking about this story for weeks to come (at least).
A fine, intelligent novel that is both humourous and affecting.
With Cornwall as a backdrop, the narrative touches on mental illness, family, love, religion...more
The beginning of the story was interesting but just okay. Soon everything changed and the whole story went faster and took you cmpletely with itself. I liked a lot the thing of not being a time ordered story in which one thing is being told ex...more
I think this is a really good way to start thinking more deeply about abstract art - it looks at the art...more
I didn't like it very much. It was predictable and felt artificial in its style. There were many irritating little inaccuracies that just got on my obsessive compulsive nerves (no, Petroc would not have been revising for his GCSEs in 1986 as they weren't introduced until 1988 - and he probably wouldn't have had a CD player that year either).
I read it as much more of a character study than simply a narrative, and enjoyed it this way. I got to know these characters, their history, and explore how they each dealt with family, mental illness and death. No character was perfect, but neither was anyone entirely fla...more
The different perspectives also gave me a chance to like people - Hedley, Anthony, Winnie. And even when I didn't like characters - Morweena and Rachel, I...more
Notes from an Exhibition is a wonderful, warm story of a family. Artist Rachel has been very successful but plagued with bipolar disorder. Husband Antony is more a carer to Rachel, but between them they manage to bring up four wonderful children: Garfield, Morwhenna, Hedley and Petroc. The novel jumps through time via a series of notes from a posthumous exhibition of Rachel's work, filling in the gaps...more
Patrick Gale uses the device of an exhibition of artist, Rachel’s various pieces to trigger off a chapter about an event or character in the book, related to her. You can't help empathising with each ch...more
Mysteries start to unfold but Gale makes it clear in the novel (as in real life)that we make assumptions about others that are often way off the mark. Not everything is revealed...more
Set in Cornwall it engages well with the rugged scenery and coastline which adds considerable interest to the fascinating storyline. The main character, an artist, is bipolar and experiences particular difficulties when she is having chi...more
A prominent eccentric artist dies and leaves her family to puzzle out her life through her paintings. Each chapter heading is the note which would appear in an exhibition with each or her paintings and this leads the story to that part of her life and what was going on there to produce the painting...
An interesting way of structuring the story and it works well. The story holds together and we engage with the cha...more
I dont like to give up, so I have gone back to the book and I have finished it. I stand but what I said to start off with. Patrick Gale is a very clever writer. His prose is sensitive and fluid and is wonderful to read...more
The central character, known as Rachel Kelly for the most part, is, we quickly come to learn, a talented artist, but she is troubled throughout her life with periods of mania and depression.
At first I was not sure if I was very keen on the way the chapters move suddenly and unpredictably in time backwards and forwards between the characters, but I think as the novel progresses, this pattern becomes...more