Notes from an Exhibition
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).
Opening: Rachel was woken by a painting or, rather, by the idea of one. Her first response on waking was anguish such as one felt when torn from any ...more
I like the title a lot because it is accurate: the family and the relationships are an exhibition, and the text is notes.
The writing is serviceable. I was interested and entertained and probably would have finished this book even if ...more
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 ...more
Patrick Gale came highly recommended to me as an author and I was not the least bit disappointed. His writing was delicious and I greedily devoured every page, hungering for more from each of his of his many characters. Delivered in a seemingly random manner the chapters skipped from one time period to another and were told from different characters perspectives. Regardless of this, or perhaps because of this, it worked perfectly.
The book told the life story of Rachel Kelly, ...more
A wonderful picture of creative energy impacted by mental instability/intensity and of mental health impacted by the creative drive. Of a family affected by both. Of a family of Quakers with one dissenter to add counterpoise. ...more
A fine, intelligent novel that is both humourous and affecting.
The first few chapters i found a little frustrating because I ...more
I liked this for Penzance. And the family reminded me very much of a family I knew, so there was pleasure in that. But it wasn't a very satisfying read. I reckon an Iris Murdoch ... A Fairly Honourable Defeat? ... and then The Bell Jar would achieve more.
Some of the sentences were a bit weird:
"Strangely she retained her expression of exhilaration, as though a ...more
This guy Antony was head ...more
Gale is a great writer, and an insightful observer of family dynamics and people's psyches. His books are well-crafted, especially "Rough Music" which was an incredibly layered and brilliantly structured book, in my opinion.
Very compelling character study of a novel.
Maybe it is not so much the ...more
Patrick Gale is my new crush. His writing is something else, his way with words and how different people think and respond to circumstances is remarkable. Half way through this book I found myself loving whole paragraphs so much, I went and got myself a pencil so I could underline them! I have never done that before.
This beautiful touching and evocative book is about a ...more
Rachel's story was sad, but so was that of her children's. I grew up with a family member who was very difficult to live with and created a situation where it was necessary for everyone else in the ...more
Each chapter begins with a note from an imagined posthumous exhibition of Rachel Kelly. A work is described and dated for example : "MING FROG BOWL (1960). Oil on board. Dating ...more
With Cornwall as a backdrop, the narrative touches on mental illness, family, love, ...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 ...more