Take Nothing With You (2018)
Leaving your childhood behind is easier said than done…
Take Nothing With You is a sad-funny comedy of resilience and survival. Fifty-something Eustace, a gay Londoner of leisure, realises in the same week that he has fallen hopelessly in love with a man he has yet to meet in the flesh, and that he has cancer of the thyroid. While being given radioactive iodine therapy, which involves spending a little over 24 hours in a lead-lined hospital suite wearing only disposable clothes and with no possessions he doesn’t mind leaving behind, he listens to hour on hour of cello music recorded for him by his best mate, Naomi. This sets his memories circling back to the 1970s and his eccentric boyhood and adolescence in his parents’ old people’s home in Weston-Super-Mare, and how his life was transfigured and his family’s stability shattered, by the decision to attend a recital by the glamorous cellist, Carla Gold.
Patrick’s sixteenth novel is at once a very modern look at sexuality and intimate betrayal and a subversive homage to the novels of Noel Streatfeild and L P Hartley. It came about because he was called upon to visit Weston-Super-Mare to read in the library there and was struck by what a strange and melancholy place it would be to grow up in, but it rapidly developed into a nostalgic examination of his boyhood experience of the transformative powers of music, at the hands of inspiring teachers and in particular through holiday courses he attended at the International Cello Centre run by the late, great, Jane Cowan.
To hear Patrick unveiling the novel at a very giggly evening at Damian Barr’s literary salon earlier in the summer, click here.
“So delighted to be sent a copy of this wonderful wonderful novel. Gale has done it again. Absolutely one of his complete best. So many funny and tender and terrific scenes. The recreation of music, one of the hardest things that can be done, is managed so well. Gale pulls off that Forsterian trick of hovering between social comedy and apocalyptic tragedy without the move appearing artificial or contrived. Just a wonderful wonderful read. Couldn’t bear the sight of the pages on the left thickening up and the pages on the right thinning out as I came to the end …” Stephen Fry.
“I loved the book. I wanted it to go on for ever- he’s captured the loneliness and camaraderie of being a teenage musician so perfectly. I loved how the big decision to pursue music or not unravelled itself so naturally and how in the end Eustace was completely at peace with it. This, surrounding the completely devastating treatment of him by his mother is kind of like the Schubert slow movement wrapping itself around the turbulent middle section.” Rachel Nicholls, Soprano
“A compelling story of how a passion for music can be a gateway for self-discovery.” Jonathan Dove, Composer
“Joyous and full of light… A beautiful and empathetic writer.” Cathy Rentzenbrink
“Sexy, joyous, funny and tender. I relished it.” Sarah Winman
“A wonderful gift of a book from one of the best writers working today.” S J Watson
Publisher: Tinder Press
Read an extract
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