From the author of the best-selling Notes from an Exhibition comes an irresistible, searching, and poignant historical novel of love, relationships, secrets, and escape. To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything .
A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.
Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness, and an evil man of undeniable magnetism, that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.
In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real-life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality, and, ultimately, great love.
©2015 Patrick Gale (P)2015 Headline Digital
Quite a spellbinding story. At turns savage, tender and sneeringly poignant. The writing is beautiful. Having the book read by its author is simply masterful. A nuanced performance.
I could not stop listening.
I could not stop listening. It was so engaging and I could listen to Patrick Gale all day long. My favorite part was when Monk was killed but at the same time it brought sorrow as that was when little Grace was taken by the Flu and as it turns out when Petra was taken as well. The ending was so perfect, they were meant to be together. Thank you for writing and reading such a beautiful book.
Patrick Gale has long been my favourite author. His work is always excellent, but this book is really outstanding. The way he drew upon his family history to write it is fascinating, and I would love to have access to a list of the facts to see what he had to work with.
The story of a gay man in Edwardian society, and the raw emotionality of his relationships was harrowing at times, and sad at others, with a bit of murder mystery thrown in.
The only criticism that I would make is that I was often confused about the period. Sometimes I thought it was Victorian, then Edwardian, and then during WWI. It was all of those, I suppose, but moving between past and present was a tad confusing for me. It wasn't until towards the end that I had a firm grip on what period we had been in at various times. Gale has a lovely voice, but his narration was a bit lacking in that he doesn't really do accents or different voices for different characters very well, which would have helped. Still it is nice to hear him.
Definitely worth a download, and will probably be the first audio book that I ever listen to a second (and maybe third) time.
"Sectrets, love and loss with an epic backdrop"
Patrick Gale has spun a wonderful tale about a misfit in Edwardian England who tries to re-build his life as a Canadian homesteader. It is an evocative story of secrets, love and loss. I am keen to avoid spoilers, so will avoid mentioning other themes that might detract from your enjoyment. It is a little slow to start, but this gave me time to get used to the author’s slightly nasal narration. However, the story is so personal, being inspired by his own family history, that his heart-felt reading conveys a depth of feeling that might elude many accomplished actors. This book is quite unlike his other books available on audible - more challenging and possibly more satisfying as a result. But they are all 5-star listens and I only wish more of his novels were available.
Not the sort of book I usually read, I read fantasy and adventure books usually but heard a review on the radio and it interested me. I was not at all disappointed. it was excellent and I am now very tempted to go ahead and read more of Patrick Gale :-)
"Painful, heart-breaking book"
I listened to at least half of this book with a physical pain in my throat. I knew it wasn't going to be a happy story but the sense of impending tragedy that comes throughout the book kept me listening.
"A Dose of Depression!"
Sorry, Patrick, loved your previous Corwall-based novels, but this was just too dark for me, every time I put the headphones in, a dose of depression and misery. Dutifully made it to the end (P Gayle was my wife's secretary in another life in Chelsea!) but no fun, not for me, please lighten up and head back to the West Country.
Beautifully written and performed, nevertheless.
An amazing story, engaging and haunting characters, excellent plot and a real "page-turner", if you can say that of an audio book. The style took a little while to get used to, but Harry now feels like an old friend!
The story is wonderful and the characters are extremely vivid.
Patrick, please leave the narration to the professionals.
"An Emotional & Lyrical Melodrama"
I have not read the book so can't compare, but I do think that I would've struggled to get through reading the book. The slow pace and long descriptions would have made it slow going. Somehow this book feels like it just needs to be read out loud. I found this allowed the beauty of the atmospheric farm life to come through.
This is the story of Harry. The book starts with him in an institution but we don't know why he is there. It then tells us, through a series of several flashback chapters, about Harry's life and how he came to the institution. We see Harry start life as a well-off gentleman who takes care of his brother but then, as Harry discovers more about himself, he is forced to leave home for the farming wilderness of Canada. The pace is slow and the prose descriptive but I found myself fully engrossed in the story. Harry encounters tragedy and heartbreak in his new world that doesn't accept people who don't fit the norm. What I liked best was the emotional impact of the story. There are highs and lows and overall I found Harry to be a very believable character whose life touched me deeply.
No, I think it needs to be savoured and it's one of those books I found I needed to devote time to listen to. Not a book to accompany the cleaning or driving.
This story reinforced in me a belief in the kindness of fellow humans, of sympathy, empathy and compassion in the most challenging circumstances and particularly when up against convention, judgement and socially acceptable norms.
The tale unfolded beautifully and sometimes unexpectedly. I have read Patrick Gale's Notes From An Exhibition and enjoyed that also, however I don't find his narrating skills as appealing as his writing. It didn't spoil the experience and I urge listeners not to let it put you off.
Lovely, moving story with characters that have stayed with me and are vivid in my imagination.
Having recently moved to the prairies from Europe and finding it hard, this was particularly relevant for me.
Beautifully read, poignant, sad, hopeful.
"Atmospheric and thought provoking"
Patrick Gale's reading of his own tale of love and loss is tender and absorbing. The story casts light on aspects of history and war that are little covered in literature. The handling of the myriad forms of love was both passionate and delicate. I really enjoyed this as a talking book.
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