The burden of being human is the difficult process of living everyday life, but the reward – the salvation, as it were – is the transcendence achieved through sexual passion. This odd reversal of Christian dogma is present in all of Gale’s work, but it is in Facing the Tank that he begins to explore more fully the spiritual and mystical aspects of his vision. Gale’s touch is light and magical. Like Iris Murdoch (whose early novels his resemble) Gale is able to convey a truth about the human condition – and especially about sexuality – by using the most extreme examples and experiences in the most curious of circumstances. For all their quirks and quasi-religious underpinnings, Gale’s characters are vital, moving testaments to the durability of the human spirit and the transforming powers of sexuality.

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