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Going Gently

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  184 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Kate Thomas was beautiful, intelligent, witty, passionate and sexy. Now, at 99, she is paralyzed by a stroke and unable to speak. She escapes from the reality of a hospital ward full of sad, mad and bad old women by playing to herself the video of her life. And what a life it has been - six husbands - one lost to suicide, one in adultery, one in an ignominious deportation, ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published July 25th 2000 by William Heinemann (first published 2000)
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Lance Greenfield
Jan 17, 2016 Lance Greenfield rated it it was amazing
This is just so brilliant, original, insightful and downright funny.

The main character is lying in a hospital bed, paralysed and awaiting her inevitable death. Unbeknown to her visitors and the hospital staff, she is totally aware of everything that is going on around her, and relates all of that to her long, and eventful, life.

You can read the synopsis for more of what has actually occurred in her life, without giving too much away.

David Nobbs is a very funny man. You can read some of his othe
Mar 27, 2009 Cathy rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookgroup, 2009-read
Feisty woman (99yo) reviews her life and tracks down her husband's killer from her deathbed. Cheerier than it seems! The woman has interests beyond family - oh dear because this is written by a man? Some amusing scenes. She and her husbands are brittle but siblings and sons have less exciting and more touching lives.
I didn’t dislike this book -- I wouldn’t have finished it if I had -- but it didn’t live up to the cover blurb. Jonathan Coe saying it’s “extraordinarily rich and satisfying” makes me sit up and take notice, but it definitely wasn’t up to Coe standards ... absolutely nobody does tragicomedy like Jonathan Coe!

Kate isn’t a particularly likeable character, but I don’t have a problem with that -- it’s quite possible to enjoy reading about obnoxious people! The trouble was that all the characters see
Apr 24, 2007 Cazzie rated it it was amazing
Fantastic account of a woman on the verge of turning 100's life. The book takes you from her birth through to her eventual death hours away from her 100th birthday, via the births, deaths and marriages (five) that have occured to her and her family throughout her years.
It made me look at elderly people with a curiosity about what tales they could tell if I only had the courage to ask. Highly recommended.
Sue Lyle
Apr 13, 2014 Sue Lyle rated it really liked it
this is my book club's book for this month. Not something i would have chosen - I don't normally go for male writers writing in a woman's voice or for comic writing. Just goes to show! I really enjoyed this story of a 99 year old woman who is lying on her deathbed reviewing her life. It was a light read and a page turner and I did laugh and find the voice authentic. A great character and a breathe of fresh air. I loved the way her youthful outlook and attitude to life stayed with her throughout ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Babycatcher rated it did not like it
Deathbed tragic life story that was supposed to have some comedy in it - nope. Just didn't like it. The writing isn't bad - just didn't like the characters or the plot. The female main character just wasn't believable in her thoughts and actions.
Jul 29, 2015 Magda rated it really liked it
Good holiday lecture, page turner.
Interesting main character, but sometimes I found her irritating (so not like me).
M.J. Penny
Mar 12, 2013 M.J. Penny rated it really liked it
After Reginald Perrin, Going Gently is a superb read that both enthralls, makes you laugh and again question life with a bittersweet melancholy and inspiration.
Dying in a hospital bed, Kate, now aged and wrinkled is trapped inside her own mind. As she reflects on her life and past loves, she uses the last of her willpower to retrace her life and discover which one of her children killed her husband.

Sentimental and comic, the poignant tale is written in first person through Kate's perception of e
Michael Myciunka
Jan 01, 2014 Michael Myciunka rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most powerful epic novels I had read for a while! It spans 100 years of the central character's sometimes turbulent life! I particularly was moved by the compelling ending which was her actual death and what she was thinking as she slipped "gently into that good night!" I liked the reference to Thomas' poem in the title and the antithesis of it- she did go gently into the night because her life had been so rich!
Mark Nunn
Jan 13, 2011 Mark Nunn rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all time favourite books. There is something about it that I find totally captivating. It tells the story of the main characters whole life which has been filled with so many amazing things. There is the detective story going on in the background, the effort to discover her hsubands killer before she dies, but that's such a small part of the story. This is a wonderfully written book and I found it almost impossible to put it down.
May 30, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. A mixture of sadness and humour. A 99yr old lady, lying in hospital after a severe stroke, relives her loves and marriages. She has a lovely sense of humour, and a very eventful life. It was easy to read and I found myself chuckling a lot. Now passed it on to another family member to read.
Derek Baldwin
Enjoyable enough but to be honest I was expecting a Reginald Perrin-esque laffriot, and this wasn't.
Jun 02, 2011 Luigi rated it it was amazing
A blend of humour and sadness. Very enjoyable.
Jan 10, 2010 Sheena rated it liked it
Shelves: 2001
Not too keen on the main character too smug
Aug 06, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable and touching
Jul 27, 2011 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book.
Rachel Wadsworth
Dec 06, 2011 Rachel Wadsworth rated it it was ok
Very light
Paul Reeves
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