This novel by Patrick Gayle has been recommended by a multitude of sources. Not only has it been shortlisted for the 2015 Costa book of the year awards, but it was also picked for the BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club.
Harry Crane is born into a life of privilege. The eldest son of a wealthy man, he is left motherless at a young age. With his father often absent, he finds the love he seeks from his younger brother. Harry provides the foundation Jack needs, and Jack provides Harry a window to the outside world, a lifeline for the extremely shy young man. Almost unconsciously aware of his wealth, but well aware of the lack of direction his life takes, he soon finds himself married. A daughter soon follows. Then he falls in love with the wrong person. Forced to give up his life in England, Harry seizes on the chance to farm land in Canada. Harry’s journey brings him into contact with people who will change his life irrevocably. Sometimes it takes a change of pace and a change of place to find yourself. For Harry Cane that place is A Place Called Winter.
Patrick Gale feelingly explores the development of Harry’s self knowledge and brings his journey through life to a satisfying conclusion. The writing is both vivid and engaging with Gayle’s skill at characterisation evident throughout the novel. Each character is vibrantly and realistically portrayed and the details of the lives of those who left Britain to build a new life in Canada is drawn expertly. Gayle’s knowledge of the subject deepens the emotional impact of the story.
This is certainly a book to immerse yourself in and come back to re-read. Definitely Patrick Gale at his best.