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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  45 reviews

Elliott is something of a genius. He is hugely intelligent. He’s an incredible observer. He is able to memorise and categorise in astonishing detail. He has a beautiful and unusual imagination.

More than that, Elliott is an ideal friend. He is overflowing with compassion and warmth and fun. To know him is to adore him.

But few people do know Elliott, properly.
Paperback, 260 pages
Published August 22nd 2019 by Galley Beggar Press
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  188 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2020

Another gem from Galley Beggar, this is a beautiful and heart-rending story of Elliott, an intelligent boy who lives in a Catholic orphanage, and is wheelchair bound and almost unable to move. He tells his own story as a memoir, occasionally alluding to a doctor who effectively unlocked his memories by teaching him to use a special typewriter. Most of the story takes place in the late 70s, as Elliott is befriended by a new boy Jim, who is b
Where do I even begin to capture this beautiful, urgent paradox of a book? Paradox, for this is a novel that keeps surprising you at every turn, that suspends you, beautifully, in a state of agony tinged with wonder, that de-anaesthetizes you to life.

Let my try by introducing you to our narrator, Elliott — a most unusual voice. Abandoned to an orphanage for disabled children run by nuns, Elliott suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, a condition which renders him incapable of movement or speech. M
Gumble's Yard
Now shortlisted for the 2020 Republic of Consciousness Prize and recommended by me (as Mr Brown) in the Guardian’s Book of The Year awards

I knew that one day all I would have was the memory of Jim and not Jim himself present in my peripheral vision making all my other senses go zing and now that time has indeed come and Jim is not present and has not been present for many years what I remember and want to record in long-hoarded words and word orders is
Paul Fulcher

In Toby's Litt's new novel Patience he creates a unique and wonderful narrative voice. He cites the inspiration of the novel as follows (
I made the first note of an idea on March 5th 2007. (I can’t remember whether or not I was sitting at my desk.) I had recently seen a photography exhibition, a retrospective of work by Timm Rautert, in Leipzig. A couple of the photographs moved me a great deal. They were from a series, ‘The Children of Ward Block 5, 1974’
Patience invites us into the mind of Elliott. We quickly learn that this is a privileged place to be. Seen from the outside, Elliott is disabled by spastic cerebral palsy which has left him with very limited voluntary movement (limited use of his right hand and he is able to paint by holding the brush in his mouth) and some involuntary muscle spasms. But on the inside, the place to which we are invited by this book, he is very active: he is a hoarder of words and a devourer of music - it all goe ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Elliott, the main protagonist of Toby Litt’s latest novel, Patience is erudite, has strong opinions about faith, is a connoisseur of classical music, likes The Beatles greatest hits and is creative.

Elliott has cerebral palsy, thus he cannot express all the complicated thoughts in his head due to the fact that it is 1979 and cures for the disability are in it’s infancy. Basically, his life consists of staring at a wall or out of the window. He lives some sort of religious institution run by nuns,
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elliot is confined to a wheelchair by spastic paraplegia and has been cared for in a home run by nuns since he was eight years old. His life is constrained by his lack of movement and inability to speak, but his brain is fully active and he can focus on tiny details to make his life less limited. The nuns care for the residents physical and (as they see it) spiritual needs, but provide very little of the mental stimulus which would make Elliot's life fuller.
Toby Litt's creation of Elliot's menta
Chris Haak
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm afraid I just couldn't really get into this book. I can see it was well written, original, beautiful, wonderful characters etc etc.(therefore 3,5). It got some good reviews as well. So I really wanted to enjoy it more. But I struggled finishing it. I couldn't focus on the story line and found it kind of slow. Maybe it just wasn't the right time for me reading this book...
Thank you Galley Beggar Press for the ARC.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, in-en, fiction
I did need some patience to get through this book. It's heartbreaking, delightful, and funny. And Beatles. ...more
Jonathan Pool

Hollywood gave us Thelma & Louise and Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. Toby Litt has written an epic tale of adventure, of escape, of derringer- do and sod the consequences. The difference is that this story’s heroes are the severely disabled.
Jim is blind and dumb.
Elliott, the narrator, has a hugely debilitating disease (spastic cerebal palsy, with paralysis of all voluntary muscles).
Their friendship covers fifty days following Jim’s arrival at the home.

The age of the two lead character
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a part of the 2020 Republic of Consciousness book prize for small presses. The story of a young man with cerebral palsy, the reader sees all events from his viewpoint. I think it has a great chance to make the ROC short list which is good because I really need to read it again with more “Patience” and thoughtfulness!
Marcus Hobson
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the Longlist for the 2020 Republic of Consciousness Prize.

This is a uniquely wonderful novel narrated in the first person from inside the head of Elliott. He is imprisoned in a wheelchair inside a children’s home run by nuns. He cannot feed himself, has to be lifted around and is often left looking at a white wall. These long hours looking at the same thing have given him some very unique perspectives on life. Inside, everything is working well and his brain is a sponge for anything that can
Rod MacLeod
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is just simply a marvellous book. I’ve never read anything quite like it, brilliant!
Alan Teder
Two (or Three) Flew Over the Nun's Nest
Review of the Galley Beggar Press general release (grey cover) edition (2019)

This was an extraordinary caper comedy about Elliott, a boy in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy, and his blind friend Jim and how they work towards an escape into the outdoor world from the orphanage / institution where they live under the care of several nuns. I don't want to overstate my Cuckoo's Nest parallel too much, so I'll quickly say here that the nuns are pretty benign and
Stuart Collie
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A radiant, vibrant, tragically warm novel. Loved it, and cried my eyes out.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Toby Litt since Adventures in Capitalism, and he just gets more adventurous with each work. I was gripped by Elliott's painstaking efforts to make friends and communicate with Jim, with the goals of wheelchair wheelies and, ultimately, escape from the ward altogether.

Would be unbearably sad if it wasn't also very funny.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This young man's rich interior life made me feel as though I'm sleep-walking through mine! ...more
Juliet McDonald
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You might not think that a story about 53 days in the life of a wheelchair-bound boy who can’t move or speak makes for a scintillating read, but in Toby Litt’s skilfully told tale the adventures of Elliott – who suffers from spastic cerebral palsy – are a real page-turner. For me the strength of this book as with all great works of literary fiction is how beautifully it shines a light on what it is to be human. Without a doubt, its central character – cruelly abandoned to be cared for by Catholi ...more
Adrian Alvarez
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It took me a longer than usual to finish this extraordinary novel because I kept resisting its end. I stretched out the last 50 or so pages as much as I could - even the last 3. I found every page gorgeous, suspenseful, tender, and often surprising.

The story is told from the perspective of a severely disabled boy, Elliot. He can't speak. He can't move unassisted. He spends most of the day in his head working to comprehend the world around him in profound ways and working to carry out a secret pl
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Exquisite writing. Beautifully told story . Could only process small ‘bites’ at a time
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mookse
It is often said that the universal language is science. I love the idea that the universal earth language is The Beatles.
Garry Nixon
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A story narrated in prose that just won't leave me alone, as I fall asleep, or stand waiting for the bus to work. The title says a great deal about it: just stand and look at the world, a greefinch, a spider's web, or even a urine-scented lay-by. And listen again to Schubert and Mahler and Wagner with new ears. And the undertone: even a kindly-meant tyranny is still tyranny. Let my people go. ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"it was a wonderful thing of compassion and noticing and art and wit" ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Patience by Toby Litt: 3.5/5

This book proved difficult, if not nearly impossible to review. In an ideal world, I would write two pieces on it: one covering this book as a piece of Literature (with a capital L), and another covering it as an unassigned just-for-fun book.

Let’s get into it. This book is fascinating.

The story is told through the eyes of Elliott, a wheelchair-bound man with limited physical and verbal abilities, living in the second story of a catholic orphanage in 1979. He spends
Meet Elliot. He has cerebral palsy. He cannot speak and has very limited movement. He paints with a brush held in his teeth. He sits each day in a wheelchair. He cannot eat solid food. Elliot entered a Catholic Home when he was 9 or so. He measures the passage of time by how many Christmas cards he has received -- his family always sends a Christmas card, although sometimes it arrives late. Usually he also gets a birthday card but not always, so Christmas cards work better for measuring time. El ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
It feels cruel to give this only a 3/5 BUT that means I liked it so let’s not forget that! The tl;dr of this is that I really wanted to love it but wasn’t able to connect with the characters as much as I had hoped (and thought) that I would.

This novel follows the life of a boy, Elliott, who is paralyzed and wheelchair bound living in a Catholic orphanage in the year of 1979. He spends most of his days looking out the same window or staring at the same white wall, forcing him to use his extension
Konstantin R.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it liked it
[rating = B-]
I read this as a guest reader for the Republic of Consciousness Prize

I was very eager to read this, especially as I had meet the author and he was such a nice man. This was my second pick to win the award, but it went to Animalia (rightfully to as that is a masterful work). However, that being said, I did enjoy this story, notably the narrative perspective of Elliot. Elliot is a boy at a Catholic Orphanage, and, furthermore, he is in a wheelchair and cannot move...much, cannot much,
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable novel. Reading it soon after Sara Hernden's What Can a Body Do? made for a wonderful complementarity. Patience is written from the perspective of preteen Elliott, who has cerebral palsy. His condition is severe enough to make him unable to speak or operate his wheelchair. It's 1979, and Elliott is at an institution for disabled children run by nuns. He is the narrator (obviously much later, after "unlocking" by improved medicine and attitudes), and he recounts, in a wonderfu ...more
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of the most beautifully written and considered books I have read in a long time.
The world as observed by Elliott is astounding and has so much depth and life. There is such sincerity in the desire to create meaningful relationships with others. The friendship that develops is so fulfilling and emotional, with wonderful, truly human characters.
I was completely transported to this exact time and place, and could easily have been a present onlooker.

As someone who has worked with child
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The Mookse and th...: 2020 RoC longlist: Patience 21 47 Feb 07, 2020 03:37PM  

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Toby Litt was born in Bedfordshire, England. He studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia where he was taught by Malcolm Bradbury, winning the 1995 Curtis Brown Fellowship.

He lived in Prague from 1990 to 1993 and published his first book, a collection of short stories entitled Adventures in Capitalism, in 1996.

In 2018, he published Wrestliana, his memoir about wrestling, writing, l

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