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Notes From An Exhibition by Gale Patrick

Notes From An Exhibition (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Gale Patrick

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7933511,583 (3.77)34
Title:Notes From An Exhibition
Authors:Gale Patrick
Info:HarperPerennial (2008), Paperback, 374 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale (2007)


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English (32)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  All (35)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
So far there isn't a book by Patrick Gale that I've read and haven't enjoyed. That said, this is only the 4th I've read from his somewhat longer list of novels - 19 works to date. Clearly I have some good reading ahead of me! This book has so many elements that appeal to me. I like Gale's focus on families - especially those which are somewhat deviant from the imagined norm. Mental illness is also a subject near to my heart, and I find that Gale deals with this as it should be: by presenting cases in which the mentally ill person is really not that far outside the range of 'normal'. The boundary is unclear, except perhaps in retrospect. And retrospect is here aplenty. Everyone in this family has a real, believable character and so this reader found lots of valuable insights into real life. Of course, as with all Gale's books, there is solid representation of the gay community and I particularly appreciate the fact the sexual preference is also dealt with in a way that gives straight people (e.g. me) a real understanding of what non-straight people experience (in a western middle class society, such as the one in which I live). I have recently read the marvellous "A Measure of Light" by Beth Powning, which documents the Quaker experience in the New England region and the UK around the 1600s, so I warmed to the presence of serious Quakerism in Gale's story. In fact, I identify quite strongly with Gale's apparent approach to religion (I know nothing about his personal views, I just see how his characters relate to religion). That is, the religious are often seen to bring some good values to the world of human relationships, although the institutional church is seen as less relevant and the 'God' character doesn't rate much of a mention. The semi-rural Cornwall setting is so 'romantic' and yet my reading of Gale's continuing real life story suggests that what might be seen as merely romantic could be closer to reality than I might have guessed. There's not many places in the world I wish to visit, but now Penzance and Newlyn would definitely be on my list if I ever left Australia. ( )
  oldblack | Sep 28, 2016 |
I made it to the end, but I skipped many paragraphs, the 'life's too short' syndrome. Perhaps if I had had more time available. The observation of bipolar was realistic.
  welshhilary | Jun 5, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book. Gale is an excellent story teller and in this story he weaves a complex family drama set in Cornwall and centred on an artist and her family. The book moves backwards and forwards in time to reveal family secrets. A rather abrupt ending but apart from that highly recommended. ( )
  sianpr | Apr 27, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book but, was very disappointed with the ending which seemed rather abrupt. I felt some of the characters' stories were left unfinished; quite a lot of detail when they're introduced, which lures you in, then the change of subject leaves you wondering what happened next. I did however, find it easy to read and a definite page-turner. ( )
  Carolinejyoung | Mar 10, 2013 |
Notes from an Exhibition is the story of Rachel Kelly, a recently deceased artist. This is a family story: Rachel had a husband and four children and she struggled with bipolar disorder.

The writing is absolutely superb. Patrick Gale tells the story in a non-linear, multi-voice style, but the narrative is never confusing. His characters are so finely developed and he has a keen sense of observation for detail; these aspects of his writing combine to guide the reader through the story.

This is my second novel by this author. Drawing characters deeply and making them realistic is something Mr. Gale excels at. So is telling a good story. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote LynnB | Nov 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Artist Rachel Kelly's beloved youngest son, suitably named Petroc, once gave her six stones collected from a Cornish beach, each chosen to represent a member of the family. Rachel treasures these stones and, while engaged on a groundbreaking new series of paintings possibly inspired by them, dies of a heart attack in her Cornish loft-studio.

A death is a well-worn fictional opening device, but here Patrick Gale uses it cleverly to fresh effect. Told via notes from a posthumous retrospective of Rachel's work, which head each chapter, the narrative offers an unusual way into the half-dozen changing viewpoints that dot around in time and place, like apparently random pieces of a jigsaw. Fortunately for the reader, Gale guides us fairly confidently towards the full picture.
added by avatiakh | editThe Guardian, Rachel Hore (Feb 11, 2007)
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If I'm on fire they dance around it
and cook marshmallows.
And if I'm ice 
they simply skate on me
in little ballet costumes.

Then I lie on my altar
elevated by the eight chemical kisses.
What a lay me down this is
with two pink; two orange;
two green, two white goodnights.
For Aidan Hicks
First words
Rachel was woken by a painting or, rather, by the idea of one.
As she drew near the car again she saw Rachel was smoking one of her very occasional cigarettes ... and concentrating on something she was drawing with the special tortoiseshell fountain pen that lived in her handbag.
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Book description
From the author of A Perfectly Good Man, the bestselling story of an artist tormented by depression and the toll of creativity.

When troubled artist Rachel Kelly dies she leaves behind an extraordinary body of work – but for her family there is a legacy of secrets and painful revelations.

Rachel exerts a power that outlives her. To her children she is both curse and blessing, as they cope with the inheritance of her passions – and demons. Only their father's gift of stillness can withstand Rachel’s destructive influence and the suspicion that they all came a poor second to her art.

Piecing together the clues of her life – as artist, lover, mother, wife and patient – takes the reader from Cornwall to Canada across a span of forty years. What emerges is a tender story of enduring love, and a portrait of a family coping with the sometimes too dazzling brilliance of a genius.
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When troubled artist Rachel Kelly dies painting obsessively in her attic studio in Penzance, her saintly husband and adult children have more than the usual mess to clear up. She leaves behind an extraordinary and acclaimed body of work - but she also leaves a legacy of secrets and emotional damage that will take months to unravel.… (more)

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