'Poised and pitch-perfect throughout, this is an engrossing portrait of a troubled and remarkable character. A fine writer at the top of his game' Mail on Sunday 'This is an uplifting, immensely empathetic novel, and Gale's prose, as ever is as clear and bright as the Cornish light' Guardian 'It has the kind of quietly radiant intelligence, craft and integrity that bypasses superficial questions of originality. A novel with a variety and freshness that is all the more powerful and surprising for being discovering in such a circumscribed and very English milieu' Adam Lively, Sunday Times 'Skilfully constructed as a mosaic of different viewpoints that shift back and forwards in time. A warm, well-written novel about creativity and the perils of living with the creative spirit' Times Literary Supplement 'By the end I had laughed and cried and put all his other books on my wish list. This is dense, thought-provoking, sensitive, satisfying, humorous, humane - a real treat' Toby Clements, Telegraph 'Beautifully written, slowly unravelling tale...Patrick Gale's serene and carefully crafted prose conveys a profound understanding of the workings of human relationships and the torment that mental illness causes its sufferers and also those around them' Ross Gilfillan, Daily Mail
The new novel from the bestselling Patrick Gale. Renowned Canadian artist Rachel Kelly -- now of Penzance -- has buried her past and married a gentle and loving Cornish man. Her life has been a sacrifice to both her extraordinary art and her debilitating manic depression. When troubled artist Rachel Kelly dies painting obsessively in her attic studio in Penzance, her saintly husband and adult children have more than the usual mess to clear up. She leaves behind an extraordinary and acclaimed body of work -- but she also leaves a legacy of secrets and emotional damage it will take months to unravel. A wondrous, monstrous creature, she exerts a power that outlives her. To her children she is both curse and blessing, though they all in one way or another reap her whirlwind, inheriting her waywardness, her power of loving -- and her demons. Only their father's Quaker gifts of stillness and resilience give them any chance of withstanding her destructive influence and the suspicion that they came a poor second to the creation of her art.
The reader becomes a detective, piecing together the clues of a life -- as artist, lover, mother, wife and patient -- which takes them from contemporary Penzance to 1960s Toronto to St Ives in the 1970s. What emerges is a story of enduring love, and of a family which weathers tragedy, mental illness and the intolerable strain of living with genius. Patrick Gale's latest novel shines with intelligence, humour and tenderness.