Patrick Evelyn Hugh Sadler Gale, better known as Patrick Gale, is the author of several bestselling novels. In fact, his books Notes from an Exhibition, A Place called Winter and Take Nothing With You have been critically acclaimed. He is known for his sophisticated writing style, which keeps the reader engaged throughout the story. Born in the United Kingdom, the 57-year-old author has written over 19 books. He made his screenwriting debut with the TV drama titled Man in an Orange Shirt.


You don’t get over sorrow; you work your way right to the center of it.

Notes from an Exhibition is the captivating tale of a troubled artist called Rachel Kelly, who is bipolar. She meets an untimely death while compulsively working on a painting in her attic studio. While struggling to come to terms with her death, her family and children come across an enchanting piece of art that she had left behind. As the story progresses, the reader finds that, in addition to her artwork, Kelly had also kept several secrets from her family. The narrative of the story begins by traveling back and forth in time from the viewpoints of her husband and children. Each of the family members describes one of her artworks and thus one begins to understand little but significant details about her life.

It is revealed that Rachel’s daughter Morwenna not only inherited her talent, but also her illness. Furthermore, Garfield, her eldest son, finds a letter from his mother that leaves him appalled.

There are heart-wrenching moments when her youngest son carries several beach stones home, each of which represents a family member. Later on, he is unwilling to part with any of those stones due to the great sentimental value they have for him. There are several moments in the story that can bring tears to the most impassive eyes. There are things that the family finds out well after Rachel’s death. As the story unfolds, we begin to know more about Rachel’s kids and husband and how they were affected by her mental illness. They all knew how creative she was and were aware of the symbolism of each of her artworks. When one reads the story, it is almost as if they are traveling back in time. The novel takes the readers to the point where they actually begin to connect with the family. The elaborate plot and the well-structured characters ensure that not even the tiniest detail about Rachel goes unmentioned.

Ameya Rating:

The novel is titled Notes from an Exhibition because each chapter contains some posthumous notes about Rachel’s art. These points of view keep changing quite frequently. The entire narrative is composed of thoughts of all members of the family, each of which acts as a missing piece in a jigsaw. That being said, the plot is far from baffling and rather guides the reader to the final picture. The writing style is absolutely bewitching and keeps the reader hooked throughout. Overall, this is an extremely poignant, touching and uplifting novel, which must not be missed at any cost.

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