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The Cat Sanctuary

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  287 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A powerful and moving novel in which Patrick Gale casts a compassionate yet satirically sharp eye over the pains and abuses inflicted by families, friends and lovers.

Joanna, a Junoesque American photographer, shares a lovely, lonely retreat on Cornwall's Bodmin Moor with her novelist lover, Judith. On an assignment to an African principality, she feels compelled to meet up
Paperback, 272 pages
Published 1992 by Flamingo (first published 1990)
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Liza Perrat
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful read from a master storyteller. Loved it!
Deborah Pawley
As ever, a poignant look by Gale at the complications and unique intimacies that form different relationships. Astute, thought-provoking and clever; I enjoyed this exploration of familial bonds and the complexities of both intimate love and loyal friendship. So many interesting characters set against the backdrop of the breath-taking but harsh Cornish landscape; with descriptions so involved I could almost smell the earthy odours and taste the salty breeze on my tongue. I always enjoy Gale's bea ...more
V.T. Davy
May 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
The analogy of the injured characters of the story finding sanctuary in Cornwall began to wear a bit thin as one by one they revealed their horrific scars. Well-written, except for a few lesbian clichés, its twists were a little too out of the blue. There has to be a hint to the reader that a character has a hidden secret or some of the satisfaction goes out of the read. Also, I am not sure where this kind of book gets one. Yes, life is tough and, to a greater or lesser degree, we all carry our ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Did not like this at all - was disappointed as I generally like his style. Found the characters obvious and annoying, and found it more like chick lit.
Kirsty Darbyshire
The more of Patrick Gale I read, the less engaging I find the books. I guess I've probably read all the decent ones already... but I'll probably keep going all the same.
Mar 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pre-2011-read
Though the blurb on the back of this book suggests a humorous vein, I never found it. The book is well written so it kept me reading, but to me it was disturbing and at times distressing. Did he get his ideas from the more lurid forms of journalism we now see in the weekly magazines?
When it comes to his solution regarding the Cat Sanctuary itself - releasing the remaining cats into the wild to fend for themselves on Exmoor - this would show a complete disregard not just for the cats but also mos
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is no spoiler to say that the husband of one of the main characters gets murdered, because it happens in the first sentence - one of those startling opening sentences that makes you want to read the rest of the book. Okay, so the structure is pretty linear and the story not nearly as sophisticated as Notes on an Exhibition, but that doesn't mean the language isn't beautiful. Sometimes the reveal is not much of a surprise, but then that's the point of foreshadowing. Overall an enjoyable read t ...more
Jayne Charles
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was always going to happen one day - a Patrick Gale novel I didn't enjoy. This had the familiar West Country/gay character axis, but didn't grip me the way all his others have. There seemed to be too little drama and too much concentration on shopping or what everyone orders in a restaurant. All the characters have some kind of secret or reach some kind of understanding with themselves through events, but it was as though these were hastily dealt with in a paragraph or so and then shut away i ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Elegant but curiously unsatisfying; Judith and Deborah are certainly very interesting and the landscape suitably haunting for these haunted people, but nothing really resonated for me. Still, Gale writes beautifully and I appreciate his plethora of queer characters (though I could've done without some of the musings on lesbianism).
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
While not as great a story as "Pictures at an Exhibition", this is an enjoyable book about interesting and sympathetic characters who live in London and the wonderfully well described wild lands of Cornwall, who follow paths through trials and tribulations to discover more about who they are anf what is the right way for them to live into a more fulfilled future.
Dec 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
It seems far! Reviews haven't been too inspiring for this book, unfortunately.

O.K, I have read it - I knew from the beginning the 'shock' towards the end but I must say, I enjoyed the book.
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed it, an easy read, but not a star for me. Something a bit odd about the women. Maybe that the 3 main characters were all rather ageless, somehow? They could have been in their 50s quite easily but actually were in their 30s, I believe.
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have marked up on the basis of the quality of writing but not as good a plot as usual though I still enjoyed a lot just not in comparison to others that he has written.
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
I just didn't get along with this book. I have read other Patrick Gale books and enjoyed them but this just didn't do anything for me.
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just pure bliss to read Patrick Gale.
Jan 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bookclub
It is inappropriate to swear on this website so I'll keep this short and sweet. I did not like this book....
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too coincidental (I think this is something of a feature of Gale)and somewhat more disturbing than some of his others in more ways than one
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Patrick Gale really knows how to grab your attention with the opening line. "Deborah was waving Julian off to work when he was murdered."
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Therese Abraham
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Mark Ludmon
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Mar 23, 2011
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Jul 29, 2013
Mary Elliott
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Apr 13, 2014
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Oct 08, 2012
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Kim Russell
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Aug 14, 2015
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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 cat ...more
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