I’m sorry but I really did not like this one; Notes from an exhibition by Patrick Gale, the fifth in the Richard and Judy Bookclub 2008, is just too ‘cosy’ for me. ‘Cosy’ is perhaps the wrong word, as the story of a family suffering under their mother’s (an artist) bipolar disorder is hardly that, it was I guess the style of the book that disagreed with me and by the middle of the book I just could not empathise or care with what the characters were doing and by the end I was reading it just so I could finish it. However I know that my dislike of this book is probably because it’s just not the sort of book I like, I prefer more dramatic, epic tales and just don’t go in for what used to be called ‘aga sagas’ and this is one, however if you’re someone who does like that sort of story you may love it and I did at least think the way how the chapters were arranged around the notes from an exhibition on the mother’s work was ingenious and very clever. But in my list, ranking this year’s Richard and Judy reads, I’m afraid this book goes very firmly at the bottom.
A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory – every page grips you, scares you and tears at your heart.
The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon – a very close second, it is deeply and beautifully researched invoking the sites, sounds and smells of the Crimean War.
- Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann – the description of the journey across Siberia is epic.
- Notes from an exhibition by Patrick Gale – just not my sought of book, far too ‘cosy’.