Notes from an Exhibition
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Four siblings discover truths about their late mother, a troubled artist—and themselves—in this “uplifting, immensely empathetic novel” (The Guardian).
Gifted painter Rachel Kelly lived a life of manic highs and suicidal lows. Her husband, a gentle, devout Quaker, gave her a safe haven where she could create and be herself, but her mental illness still took its toll on her family. Now, after a fatal heart attack, a retrospective of Rachel’s work attracts art lovers who marvel at her skill, but her grown children are busy coping with the shattering effects of her death—and her life.
Her eldest son has been bequeathed a letter that shakes him to his core. Another son reflects on the years he spent trying not to upset his mother’s delicate equilibrium while negotiating his own relationship with his lover. The youngest son was much beloved by Rachel, for reasons not everyone knows. And Rachel’s only daughter seems to have inherited her talent—but also her demons.
Set against the wild and beautiful landscape of Cornwall, this novel by the acclaimed author of A Place Called Winter and A Perfectly Good Man shifts back and forth in time and place as it moves effortlessly between characters, offering a revealing window into the symbiotic relationship between genius and mental illness and the effects both have on maternal love and the creation of enduring art. In the words of Armistead Maupin, “few writers have grasped the twisted dynamics of family the way Gale has. There’s really no one he can’t inhabit, understand, and forgive.”
“This book is complete perfection.” —Stephen Fry
“This stunning novel . . . poised and pitch-perfect throughout, is an engrossing portrait of a troubled and remarkable character. A fine writer at the top of his game.” —The Mail on Sunday
“A warm, well-written novel about creativity and the perils of living with the creative spirit.” —TheTimes Literary Supplement
“As rich and inventive as we would expect from this brilliant author.” —The Independent
“Thought-provoking, sensitive, humane.” —TheDaily Telegraph
“Few writers have grasped the twisted dynamics of family the way Gale has. There’s really no one he can’t inhabit, understand, and forgive.” —Armistead Maupin
“An uplifting, immensely empathetic novel, and Gale’s prose, as ever, is as clear and bright as the Cornish light.” —The Guardian
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.