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Take Nothing With You

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,127 ratings  ·  268 reviews
From the bestselling author of A Place Called Winter comes a new novel of boyhood, coming of age, and the confusions of desire and reality. For all readers of Ian McEwan's Atonement or L P Hartley's The Go-Between.

1970s Weston-Super-Mare and ten-year-old oddball Eustace, an only child, has life transformed by his mother's quixotic decision to sign him up for cello lessons.
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Tinder Press
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,127 ratings  ·  268 reviews

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“There was … an awed hush as she sat back on her piano stool, thrust out a shapely sandalled foot to her left, gazed up at the top left-hand reaches of the church, took an audible breath as though about to sing, and began to play.
She didn’t simply play the notes; she played as though urgently communicating. Listen! her playing said. This really matters!”

Take Nothing With You is the sixteenth novel by award-winning British author, Patrick Gale. In his fifties, after a concerning diagnosis and th
Katie Lumsden
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a truly incredible novel - beautiful, warm, clever and intensely moving. I love Patrick Gale's writing so, so much. ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Patrick Gale's writing. He's very hard to generalise and this week I've described as a bit like a male Maggie O'Farrell or Sarah Waters. His last book; A Place Called Winter was one of my favourite books of 2015, he creates magic with words.

Take Nothing With You is Eustace's story and begins as he contemplates the fact that he's fallen in love, for the third time and also has cancer. Eustace is in his fifties and is wealthy and successful, he's not yet actually met Theo, the m
Eric Anderson
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Patrick Gale's new novel “Take Nothing With You” is a refreshing new take on a coming of age story. At the beginning we first meet the protagonist Eustace in his later years. At this stage of his life he's begun a promising new relationship with Theo, a fairly senior army officer stationed far away, and, though their connection has progressed from a dating app to regular Skype conversations, they've not yet met in person. But Eustace has also been diagnosed with cancer and needs radiation treatm ...more
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One thing's wrong with this - I wanted more!! This is the story of parts of Eustace's life. It starts in current times however much of the book relates to his early years both pre teen and early teens. He is a boy who doesn't really fit in very well. He then discovers the cello and an outstanding teacher. It is this love of a musical instrument that - for me - shows just what an excellent writer Patrick Gale is. He brings the small aspects of Eustace's life alive and creates vivid pictures from ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gay coming of age novel with lots of classical music gossip. I loved this book.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve read all Gale’s recent novels, since I heard him speak at Adelaide Writers Week a few years back. He doesn’t disappoint. I kept wanting to return to this novel, a sure sign of a good book for me.

This is a coming of age novel. Eustace gradually realises that he is not only different from other boys because of his lack of sporting ability but also because he is gay. Gale writes with great empathy about Eustace and with a clear eye about his family, friends and music teachers. There is a lot
Lydia Bailey
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
It’s not every day you find a new favourite author but I knew from about 3 pages in to this that I had. What a great ‘voice’ Patrick Gale has & his characters are so very real and rounded they really do leap off the page.

I’m not even going to review the plot as it I wouldn’t be able to make it sound as interesting as it undeniably is, the skilful & layered writing brings the whole story alive. I love a ‘real’ story involving people we could so easily be related to or living next door to. Yes, i
Davida Chazan
Once again, Patrick Gale has written a novel that tugs at our heartstrings - and in this case, also plays on the strings of the cello! This beautifully written coming-of-age story is both poignant and uplifting. You can read my full review of this novel on my blog here. ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels-set-in-uk
Heartening and intelligent novel set in WESTON SUPER MARE and BRISTOL (UK)

This is the story of Eustace (what an excellent and choice name for this beguiling and delightful lead character). The story is a wonderfully blended, dual timeline story: Eustace, now in his 50s and living in London, is embarking on a new relationship with Theo and being treated for thyroid cancer. Back in the 1970s, as a young teenager and gifted cellist, he is gently learning who he is and where his place in the world m
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The thing about Patrick Gale is that he is so tender and quiet as he just rips your heart to shreds. He does so in such gentle ways that you are completely caught unawares. You think you're doing fine and then you just find yourself holding your blooded heart in your hands. Yet, it was done with such love and tenderness that you don't even mind. That you're somehow glad to have some sort of remembrance and proof of what just happened.

No one, I repeat, no one writes like PG does...or at least I'v
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, lgbt
Loved this so much, Patrick Gale has written another exquisite book that was so wonderful that I almost re-read it straight away so I could get lost in his wonderful prose again. The story is about a young man's journey of self discovery and self acceptance facilitated by his learning of the cello. Through his passion for music and learning how to play well he finds acceptance and a community he doesn't have at home, with a twist that made me gasp out loud. As usual Patrick Gale writes so beauti ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the 2nd Patrick Gale novel I have read and I loved it just as much. The coming of age story of Eustace told in two timeframes when he’s a young boy and a man in his fifties with the learning and playing of the cello being a major thing in his life. Beaufifully written and very emotional. Really loved the character of Eustace.
Haley Glover
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic Patrick Gale novel about relationships and families.
Stephen Goldenberg
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s strange that I’ve never read anything by Patrick Gale before and I only read this because he is coming to talk about it at my local literary festival in south-west France in October. I will definitely be reading more of his novels.
It’s a coming of age story in which a middle aged Eustace, undergoing cancer treatment, reminisces about his childhood and adolescence. His strange upbringing in an old peoples’ home in Weston-Super-Mer, run by his parents is very well described. And he’s writing
Megan Jones
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Ten-year-old oddball Eustace, an only child, as his life transformed by his mother’s decision to sign him up for cello lessons. Music-making brings release for a boy who is discovering he is an emotional volcano. He laps up lessons from his young teacher, not noticing how her glamour is casting a damaging spell over his frustrated and controlling mother. When he is enrolled on a holiday course in Scotland, lessons in love, rejection and humility are added to daily practice.
As is typical from Gal
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit
I do love Patrick Gale's books. Each one seems better than the last at the moment, which doesn't always happen, even with the very best authors.

Take Nothing With You is the story of Eustace, about to undergo treatment in hospital that will have him in an isolation room for 24 hours. He has recently fallen in love over the internet with a semi-closeted soldier, but has not said anything about his illness to him, even though he is expected to return from his overseas posting just after Eustace is
Elaine's Reviews
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Take nothing with you is a story about Eustace, his childhood, his love of the cello, his later life and loves. Set in Weston Super Mare, Eustace's story is told via two timelines, his early childhood and his later life where he is living with HIV and being treated for thyroid cancer. He is falling in love with a soldier deployed overseas. Music and the cello form the backdrop to this book, as Eustace takes up lessons as a child and develops a love for both. The book is beautifully written and, ...more
Mary Lou
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just didn't want this book to be over ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful read -evocative of place and leaves little to the imagination about sticky adolescence.
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a great admirer of Patrick Gale's writing, and his latest offering does nothing to change that. Eustace, an only child with the wisdom to know how to survive as he realises he is not quite like most other boys.The account flits between Eustace in his childhood and youth and the much older man facing health worries while at the same time hopeful of finding new love.

Through Gale's clear, straightforward prose that is a pleasure in itself, he conjures Eustace's private world, while avoiding the
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-vine
Patrick Gale's writing is exquisite. I haven't read many of his novels but each one I have read has been perfectly told, at just the right pace with a large dose of compassion and tenderness.

Eustace is an only child but he wasn't his parents' only child. Much of his insecurities stem from the fact that he survived when his siblings didn't, although he doesn't know that from his parents. The story begins with Eustace as an adult just having been told he has cancer. He has also just fallen in love
Beth Bonini
This is my first book by Patrick Gale, but it definitely won’t be my last. I saw him at the Cambridge Literary Festival this past weekend (Nov 25, 2018) and he was an absolute charmer. A good friend of mine has been raving about Notes from an Exhibition for years, and I just regret that I didn’t open that book (which I own) much earlier.

Gale described this book as having two literary “fairy godmothers hovering over” - the two being Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes and L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Betwe
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book for a young boy who is wondering about his sexuality and is also interested in music and the cello in particular....unfortunately I fit neither of those criteria so did not fully engage with it.
Andrew Marshall
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Opening up a new book from Patrick Gale is like bumping into an old friend in the street. You are always pleased to meet them and you know what you are going to get: a warm and compassionate look at the complexity of being alive. 'Take nothing with you' is an easy read and the characters engaging and believable. Unfortunately the story of a young misfit boy finds his feet and his tribe through music lessons is told in flashback. So we know he is not going to become a professional and although th ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by Patrick Gale, and I really enjoyed it. It follows the life of Eustace, in the present day as he undergoes treatment for cancer, and begins a new relationship, but mainly the past, as it charts his 1970s childhood and adolescence in Weston-super-Mare. Growing up in an old people's home which his parents ran, and in the shadow of their cold marriage, Eustace found solace in his cello lessons with the glamorous Carla. When visiting her house in Bristol, with his ...more
Mary Lins
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: complete
“Take Nothing With You”, is a lovely new novel by Patrick Gale, that will tell you more than you want to know about the cello, and exactly what you want to know about protagonist Eustace, as a boy and as a gay man.

I came to this novel by way of an interview I read with Leif Enger talking about his new novel, “Virgil Wander”, which I absolutely adored. Enger mentioned this novel as one that he had thoroughly enjoyed so I took that recommendation, and I’m glad I did. Patrick Gale – where have you
Shirley Bateman
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
I loved this book! It's the story of a boy called Eustace, growing up in Somerset in the late 70s/early 80s. Two things dominate his life: his love for the cello which he studies assiduously, and his gradual awareness that he is gay. It's a slow story and you get lost in the characters - I felt like I knew Eustace so well and I fell heavily for him. It feels incredibly truthful.

The story is bookmarked by present day Eustace, undergoing cancer treatment in his 50s and thinking back to his upbrin
Rory Wilson
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful sweet tragedy with some of the best writing about music I’ve ever read. A pity about the last 3rd where it became something else in places.
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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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