Sweet Obscurity by Patrick Gale

I had high expectations following the perfection of Notes from an Exhibition, and while I don’t love Sweet Obsurity quite as much, I still enjoyed the journey.

Familiar themes appeared: Mental illness. Artistic characters – though this time music which is Patrick’s love. The wild Cornish coast. He does write characters well and I do feel completed at the end of the novel.

His books are like eating a roast dinner – you feel satisfyingly full at the end.

A bit about the plot. Eliza is looking after her sister’s child, is married but separated from a counter-tenor (he sings high) who is now living with a publicist. The story of her sister and the daughter – our main hero – is the thread that holds this novel together. The messy lives (quite believable) of the characters build the story and we learn some interesting stuff along the way. This review says it all really.

Eliza joins a singing group at one point and perhaps it’s because I’ve just joined a choir – but that really resonated with me. 🙂

It’s an interesting story, well told, satisfyingly chunky (as the BBC reviewer says) and a good read.

You can see how his writing led to Notes from an Exhibition. I wonder if reading more of his novels would lessen my opinion of Notes. Whether they would become samey.

Time will tell as I will surely look out more of his novels in the library.

I’ve started my next novel – Miss Webster and Cherif by Patricia Duncker – The Poshi recommends this highly and gave it to me for my birthday. So far I’m liking it. 🙂