Too often it is simple grace that is missing from much contemporary fiction, but Patrick Gale’s Rough Music has enough for several novels… Gale writes beautiful, undulating prose, that explores the uneasy wanderings of the human heart, while rejecting neat resolutions or cheap sentiment. He paints his characters richly, drawing out their contradictions, hopes, shortcomings and humanity. He also examines each of the relationships here – mother-son, father-son, mother-daughter, father-daughter, lover-lover – with tremendous depth. Gale reveals the drama at the heart of the novel slowly, switching between the two holidays and letting each illuminate the other. The ease of his writing in situations that could easily resolve into clichés produces
a novel that is anything but rough.

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