The Facts of Life
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Three generations of a British family struggle through war, intolerance, infidelity, and illness in this “extraordinary blockbuster” (Time Out London).
In the Roundel, an odd, secluded, eight-sided house in the English countryside, Edward Pepper and Sally Banks build a life. Hoping they’ve left hardship behind—they met when Sally, a doctor, treated Edward for tuberculosis after he escaped from Nazi Germany to England—they raise a family together. The German-Jewish composer has his devoted wife’s support—though he is sidetracked by the temptations of the movie industry.
But for Edward and Sally, their children, and their children’s children, tragedy and joy will always go hand-in-hand, as they maneuver through a world of often bitter and brutal realities. And as the decades pass, a family shaped in equal measure by love and human failing will find itself sorely tested by mistrust, tyranny, misunderstanding, and an AIDS diagnosis. It will take more than the strength they found in their wartime romance to fight the battles of everyday life.
The critically acclaimed novels of Patrick Gale have been compared to the writings of literary giants from Iris Murdoch to Gabriel García Márquez. Powerful, moving, and magnificent, this multigenerational family saga is one of Gale’s most compassionate and memorable works, a truly masterful fiction that Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City, calls “achingly true and beautiful.”
“Wonderfully readable . . . A novel as straightforward as it is otherworldly—like reading Iris Murdoch without the puzzles.” —The Independent
“Deftly characterized, deeply involving and relevant . . . A memorable achievement.” —The Times (London)
“One associates Gale with small, perfectly formed novels written in gossamer-like prose. Here he has attempted something more like a saga in length and scope. . . . Beautifully done . . . Impossible to put down.” —The Daily Telegraph
“Brilliant. Vastly readable.” —Marie Claire
“[An] extraordinary blockbuster of a novel . . . Much like the late Ivy Compton-Burnett, Gale presents us with a family saga which both questions and defies present day morality. . . . Brutal and witty. His analysis of the family tree is rooted in compassion and insight and expounded resoundingly well.” —Time Out London
“A monumental feat of imagination, achingly true and beautiful. I’d be hard pressed to recall the last time a novel so totally captivated me.” —Armistead Maupin
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.