The Cat Sanctuary
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Bestselling British author Patrick Gale casts an empathetic and ferocious eye on the domestic wounds inflicted by families and lovers in this dark comedy.
One minute Deborah Curtis’s husband, Julian, is alive, a handsome figure leaving their rented house in an African principality, kissing his wife goodbye in the early morning sunshine. The next moment he’s dead, the ground shaking in the aftermath of a deafening explosion. Months later, Deborah is still recovering from the assassination of her spouse and the collateral damage to her own body and soul.
Bestselling author Judith Lamb is living with her partner of eight years in an isolated farmhouse on the Cornish moors, struggling with her latest novel. Her American lover, the tall, statuesque Joanna Verdura, is currently on assignment in Seneca. After reading about a diplomat killed by a car bomb meant for someone else, Joanna feels a strong compulsion to visit the dead man’s widow. After all, Deborah is Judith’s younger sister.
Although she has been estranged from Judith for years, Deborah doesn’t resist when Joanna whisks her off to Cornwall to grieve in peace, far from the political spotlight. But Joanna has unleashed a demon: the sisters’ buried past. As old unresolved wounds bleed into the present, a history of abuse comes to light. Forced to confront painful memories, the women’s secrets and lies collide in a shattering, unbearably moving climax in a cat sanctuary.
From the bestselling author of Notes from an Exhibition, told in the very different voices of its three female characters, The Cat Sanctuary is an ultimately redemptive tale about family and forgiveness and the love and steadfast devotion needed to find grace.
“Splendidly realized Cornish moorland setting . . . Gale writes . . . with delicacy, perception and a rare ferocious charm.” —The Guardian
“A book with claws. It has a soft surface—a story set in sloping Cornish countryside, touching on love, families and forgiveness, delivered in a gentle, straightforward prose—but from time to time it catches you unawares. Scratch the surface, suggests Gale, and you draw blood.” —The Times (London)
“Gale’s novels always catch one a little short. . . . While no less light-footed than its predecessors, The Cat Sanctuary has darker intimations. . . . The tone is gentle rather than militant, as though the crushing masculinity the women have experienced might find some small antidote in the tender mercies of his style.” —The Observer
“Gale is a charmingly idiosyncratic writer who could not write a cliché if he tried. Spiced with mischievous irony, this engrossing story contains some interesting aperçus on the process of novel writing.” —The DailyTelegraph
“Like Gale’s previous novels, it’s an elegantly menacing, enjoyable read. . . . A deep and moving book; highly recommended.” —New Woman
“A dark tale of loss, sex and mistrust . . . A sensitive, thoughtful novel with a conclusion that is both unsettling and consistent.” —Time Out London
“Full of Freudian nightmares which threaten to overwhelm the ordinary, everyday landscape . . . Gale’s writing is marvelously entertaining, and there is a compelling sense of biting deep into the core of the bitter truth.” —Cosmopolitan
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.