Like his fellow countrymen, Tom Sharpe and John Mortimer, Gale can produce chuckles in waves, all the time getting in stiff jabs beneath the humour. Ease deals with a marvellous assortment of oddballs who live (or at least try to) in a spaced out boarding-house in Bayswater. Patrick Gale has genuine affection for his characters, all of whom have hysterical things to say about the human condition. This is a charming novel, which displays a talent with remarkable gifts. Outstanding.

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