Patrick Gale offers us so much more than facts in this extraordinary blockbuster of a novel. Spanning three generations, from the 1940s onwards, it describes a family saga of wide-ranging proportions. Its exploration of family ties and tyranny is encompassed within a deft narrative. Much like the late Ivy Compton-Burnett, Gale presents us with a family saga which both questions and defies present day morality. Always fluent, Gale manages to be both brutal and witty. His analysis of the family tree is rooted in compassion and insight and expounded resoundingly well.

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