Thursday, 12 June 2008

Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale

Patrick Gale has developed his characteristic style of shifting narrative voices and timescales to a very high degree here. The characterisation is consistent throughout the novel's timeshifts and the flashbacks bring out Rachel's attractive qualities as well as her difficult nature. Her paintings were beautifully described so that they sang in my imagination's eye. I particularly liked the way that the ownership of paintings given in the Notes starting each chapter hinted at different and emerging relationships between the characters than were apparent at the relevant point in the text. The only slight failure, for me, was the character of Hedley who seemed a bit under-drawn and too good to be true - lacking the subtle qualities of characterisation and narrative elsewhere in the novel. I look forward to reading this again.

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