An absolutely remarkable novel, I loved every single minute of it. Old School storytelling at its best, Patrick Gale weaves a heartfelt and emotive web around the reader as we follow a man called Harry Cane through life, love, war, insanity and redemption.
When we meet Harry he is a gentle soul who drifts through life, facing problems as they arise but mostly having a quiet and routine existence with nothing hugely significant going on. He meets Winnie, marries her and seems set to carry on meandering along. Then an encounter leads to a passionate affair, which when it ends leaves Harry in an untenable position – so he departs for Canada, seeking a new path.
It is beautifully written, atmospheric and with a magnificent sense of place and time, undeniably addictive I was enthralled throughout. Fascinating looking back at the differing attitudes of the time, the characters pop from the page and it is all brilliantly authentic and often very emotional. I was up and down like a yo-yo with my feelings whilst reading this, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, always utterly enchanted with the people and the places, by the end I was in tears. The good kind.
It is kind of hard to know what else to say, sometimes I guess less is more. I have joined the growing mob of readers who are going to throw this novel at everyone they ever met once it is released – a marvel of a story that you will both relish and adore, I really cannot recommend it highly enough.