Pulp.net - Patrick Gale

The Online Home of New Fiction

November 2008
My Literary Top 10:
Patrick Gale

Top 10
Best short story I’ve ever read
Mavis Gallant’s ones are pretty stunning. Probably because she never worked in a longer form her technique at saying much in little space became formidable.
Book that should be on the national curriculum
Ann Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
Book I’d blush to be seen reading in public
I’m pretty much a stranger to literary shame now that I've worked out anything from Star Wars to Talking About Cakes can be passed off as ‘research’ but I do have a sadly middle aged love of poring over gardening books and guides to Cornish botany that's probably best kept to myself. Oh. Damn. Too late.
Best ‘film of the book’
Hitchcock’s Rebecca takes some beating but the Cukor version of Little Women takes some beating too.
Best author photo
Ivy Compton-Burnett (REALLY scary hairdo).
Book or writer that grabbed you as a child
The Alan Garner trilogy beginning with The Weirdstone of Brisingamen was the cause of many lost summer afternoons when I should have been doing something boisterous instead. Ditto The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.
Favourite novel no one else seems to have heard of
Tom Wakefield’s War Paint - a beguilingly subversive drag version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Would make a wonderful film vehicle for Lily Savage.
My favourite bookshop
The Penzance Bookshop, Chapel Street, Penzance. There's hardly anything for sale because it’s so tiny, but everything that is has been read by the fanatical booksellers. By way of complete contrast, the vast fiction floor of the Piccadilly Waterstones is also wonderful. If you’re stuck for a next book, ask for Jane Grace there; London’s best read bookseller.
Author I’d most like to see get the recognition they deserve
Jane Gardam and/or Ben Faccini. Sorry. There are so many.
Deceased author I’d like back, to write more books.
Carol Shields.
Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of White in 1962. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester. He now lives on a farm near Land’s End. As well as writing and reviewing fiction, he has published a biography of Armistead Maupin, a short history of the Dorchester Hotel and chapters on Mozart’s piano and mechanical music for HC Robbin Landon’s The Mozart Compendium. He is also chairman of the St Endellion Summer Music Festival. His most recent novels are A Sweet Obscurity and Friendly Fire. He’s pictured here setting off for his first day at Winchester school.