The Whole Day Through

by Patrick Gale

Friday, September 18, 2009

This looks to be the sixth of Patrick Gale’s books that I’ve read in 15 months since discovering Notes From an Exhibition. As you can gather from that I’ve been enjoying them a lot. I’ve been spacing the back catalogue out rather than gorging on it.

This one isn’t back catalogue - it’s a new release - and I didn’t like it as much as the older stuff. It’s not as sweeping in it’s scale as some of the books and I guess the author fancied something different as this book limits itself, as the title suggests, to taking place on a single day. This isn’t as limiting as it could be as the characters do plenty of recollecting and reminiscing and if the day long constraint hadn’t been prominently signposted both inside and outside the book’s covers I could have missed it.

The central characters are Ben, a doctor treating HIV patients, and Laura, a freelance accountant, who first met at college and encounter each other again in their forties. I thought they were both well drawn and their relationships with their tangled families were believable. I did think the story was careering towards an obvious ending - and I won’t spoil it as to whether it went where I thought it was heading - but I ended up thinking Gale did a good job of ending the tale.

Overall it’s not at all bad and I’ll certainly be reading more by the author.