Here at Literature Works we have been eagerly awaiting the latest offering from our patron, Patrick Gale, and after much anticipation, we were not disappointed!
Take Nothing With You tells the story of Eustace, a middle-aged man diagnosed with cancer, for which he must undergo radio-therapy. Confined to a lead-lined room in which he can take nothing with him that he is not willing to leave behind, Eustace is armed with nothing but the clothes he is wearing, and an MP3 player. He spends the solitary time listening to the cello music recorded by his famous musician friend, Naomi and soon becomes lost in the memories of his adolescence.
Transported to 1970s Weston-Super-Mare, the reader is immersed in a vivid West Country landscape, through which Gale highlights the complexities and disparities of living in a seaside town. Weston is presented as a place which on the surface may seem like an idyllic tourist haven, when in reality, particularly for the young Eustace, it can be a place of isolation and alienation. Bristol, however, is a place of transformation and has a positive impact on his young life. Isolated and lonely, until his mother signs him up for cello lessons in Bristol, Eustace embarks on a journey of self-discovery with music giving him the opportunity to discover his own selfhood, freeing him from the constraints of his sheltered life and allowing him to escape into a world previously unknown to him. The lessons transform him and allow him to see and experience the world differently with his passion for music shaping his future.
Take Nothing With You is a compelling, poignant portrayal of adolescence and coming-of-age; a story in which dreams are aimed for but not always realised, where real life gets in the way of aspirations, yet the desire to grow, to change, and, ultimately, to live, is forever encouraged.
Take Nothing With You is out now, published by Tinder Press.