Kansas in August – Vansonphu.com
Patrick Gale s novel Kansas In August was an interesting, if never a very engaging read It features some rather strange people There is a man called Hilary and a woman called Henry They are brother and sister They share a lover, a bisexual guy called Rufus, but neither brother nor sister is aware of the situation because certain parties have used false names It seems that these people always want to be someone else.Henry is the stronger character She is a successful medic specialising in Patrick Gale s novel Kansas In August was an interesting, if never a very engaging read It features some rather strange people There is a man called Hilary and a woman called Henry They are brother and sister They share a lover, a bisexual guy called Rufus, but neither brother nor sister is aware of the situation because certain parties have used false names It seems that these people always want to be someone else.Henry is the stronger character She is a successful medic specialising in often threatening psychiatric cases Hilary teaches music peripatetically Some of the children he meets might benefit from the attentions of his sister Rufus is a partially credible amalgam of a macho man, gay pride, anything, perhaps, that he can think of today But it is the word think that seems to provide the greatest challenge for these people.They are presented as contemporary Brits rattling around west London It is apparently always snowing There are constant strikes and various other social challenges that result in piles of rubbish permanently half hiding the urban decay that lines the streets There is much alcohol consumption and occasional drug abuse, probably conceived as recreational, despite the fact that no one ever seems to have any money.Hilary finds a baby yes, a real baby abandoned in a cot He seems to think that finders can be keepers and sets about being its foster parent He seems to be under a personal impression that he can keep his find, as if he had discovered a stray dog or a dropped wallet He sets about occasional feeding and watering, and takes it out once in a while to provide diversion A young Asian girl befriends him and develops a crush And this character, remember, we have been told is au fait with teaching, schooling and other things related to youngsters As I mentioned earlier, thinking seems to challenge these people.I admit to becoming rather confused as I read Patrick Gale s novel I found these people quite incredible and not very likeable I did not understand and definitely did not empathise with any of their opinions or actions They all seemed completely self obsessed, rather crass and, crucially, unable to imaging anything beyond the end of the nose Even immediate reality seemed to pass them by But then, perhaps, that is contemporary Britain, something of a dross heap of selfishness But, given west London and snow, why Kansas and why August remain two questions that still utterly defeat me A cheeky little novella to tide me over in between hefty tomes As always from Mr Gale, this was thought provoking book that paints a vignette of someone else s life so vividly you could pick up their interests That s what I love about his work. Disappointed This is my fourth Gale book A Place Called Winter was just terrific and I most certainly enjoyed the others This one less so I could not cope with the adoption of Dan This lacked real credibility I found the characters shallow and had little empathy for them An early book first one Just shows how a writer develops and improves over the years. this is not my favourite Gale book,but its still agood one, full of likeable characters which always helps.I think this is where Gale excels, with his characters.Interesting the way they all were woven into each others lives, and compelling enough to have me reading it in one sitting. Enjoyable and humourous read. I really enjoyed this noveluntil the end, it turns out I dont like any of the characters and i think the story was cut short I really did enjoy Gale s writting though and will try another by him In this first novel, Dr Henry Henrietta Metcalfe falls for a hitch hiker, Rufus A psychiatrist and a teacher, both are intent on concealing their true identities To complicate this comedy of sexual role reversal, Rufus is having an affair with Henry s brother, Hilary, who wants to be a father A so so messed up tale about a drifter involved with a brother and sister. I m not entirely sure what to make of this one It s a very odd, twisted and dark slice of life type story,of a character study than a plot This is only the second of Patrick Gale s books that I ve read and while it s nowhere near as good as A Place Called Winter, it was still a good if weird read with intriguing characters and a slight uneasiness throughout that keeps you reading. An interesting and humorous story A fairly short read and humorous Interesting characters Not one of the authors best Suggest reading others though as they are much better and very well written.