Patrick Gale’s precise, delicate style in Friendly Fire lends itself well to a story of adolescent turmoil in the hothouse environment of a public school where the narrative, if not the language, is occasionally in danger of becoming overwrought… Emphasising the heated significance with which everything is imbued in adolescence, Gale’s finely tuned rites of passage novel depicts a learning curve of passion, betrayal and shame.

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