Rough Music - Patrick Gale

Ladymol's Review

This book is a gem. If this is an example of Patrick Galeís work, then heís got a new fan. Iíll be tracking down his other novels now.

Will is forty, single, gay and having an affair with a married guy. He throws a Birthday party for himself, and his best friend Harriet asks him if this secret lover has been invited. Will says that he has. Who is this man, and why canít Will share the secret, even with his best friend? As we discover who this man is, we realise that Willís entire life has been one of secrets and revelations. Suddenly, we are plunging back into Willís childhood, a time when he was called Julian. Why the identity change? What is the secret that destroyed Julianís childhood and threatens to destroy Willís fragile life now?

The story is beautifully balanced between the main participants: Francis, Willís mother, John his father and Bill his uncle. Although this is predominantly Willís story, itís very much theirs too. Heís buffeted between their passions until bruised and angry, he hits back.

Set mainly in a beach house in Cornwall that the family rents when Julian is 8, and then again for the adult Willís 40th Birthday, the authenticity of the quintessential English family seaside holiday is captured in all its repressed horrors. You will fall in love with Julian, the perfect little boy whose burgeoning awareness of his own sexuality becomes the catalyst for the terrible events that transpire. You will want Will to find the love and happiness denied to his younger self.

If you want what any Cornishman would call a proper job, then give this exquisite novel a go.