A Sweet Obscurity
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
A nine-year-old English girl must look after the dysfunctional adults in her life in this novel from the bestselling British author of Notes from an Exhibition
Everyone needs Dido. All the adults in her life—grown-ups who act like children—depend on her for their happiness and stability. The nine-year-old orphan lives with her aunt Eliza, who adopted Dido when her mother died. A depressed musicologist unable to balance her brilliant academic career with motherhood, Eliza ruined her marriage with an illicit affair and is now paying the price. Her estranged husband, Giles, is an opera singer whose girlfriend, Julia, uncovers a shocking secret while concealing one of her own.
As Dido shuttles between Eliza’s squalid flat and Giles’s elegant townhouse, she acts as both tactful diplomat and insightful analyst. Until something happens that powerfully impacts her young life.
Narrated from the alternating viewpoints of Eliza, Giles, Julia, and Pearce, a Cornish cattle farmer who falls in love with Eliza, A Sweet Obscurity plays out like one of the Tudor madrigals at its heart: Each character is a counterpoint to another. And the theme running through their intersecting lives is Dido, who is supposed to save them all. But who will save Dido?
“An impressive writer with a sharp eye for telling detail and a poet’s ear for a well-turned phrase . . . Gale’s talent is undeniable . . . .engaging.” —The Guardian
“What is delightful about Gale’s fiction is that it so warmly and convincingly illuminates ordinary lives and interests.” —The Daily Telegraph
“Exerts the unmistakable force of a novelist in the process of discovering a new, strong voice. With this alarming and technically very skillful romance, he is decidedly a man to watch.” —The Mail on Sunday
“Flawless. Gale is a master of context and background, flinging wide the perspectives of his dramatic personae with exemplary patience and generosity . . . Triumphantly redemptive.” —The Times Literary Supplement
“This is arguably Gale’s most questioning, troublesome work. It amuses, startles and occasionally bewilders. A Sweet Obscurity is worth every minute of your time.” —The Independent
“Intriguing and impressive . . . A memorable study of a child forced cruelly, even tragically, to grow up too soon.” —The Sunday Times
“Gale is a master of character, and he slips under the skins of his women protagonists with such wit that it’s often hard to believe he’s a man.” —Elle
Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester, before attending Oxford University. He now lives on a farm near Land’s End. One of the United Kingdom’s best-loved novelists, his recent works include A Perfectly Good Man, The Whole Day Through, and the Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller Notes from an Exhibition. His latest novel, A Place Called Winter, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize, the Walter Scott Prize, and the Independent Booksellers’ Novel of the Year award. To find out more about Patrick and his work, visit www.galewarning.org.