Summary and book reviews of A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

A Place Called Winter

by Patrick Gale

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale X
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Mar 2016, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.

Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.

In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.

Paperback Original

BETHEL

A violent and excited patient is forcibly taken by his legs and plunged head foremost into an ordinary swimming bath. He is not permitted the use of his limbs when in the water, but is detained there, or taken out and plunged again in the bath, until the required effect of tranquility is produced.

L. Forbes Winslow, Turkish Bath in Mental Disorders (1896)

Chapter One

The attendants came for him as a pair, as always. Some of them were kind and meant well. Some were frightened and, like first-timers at a steer branding, hid their fear in swearing and brutality. But this pair was of the most unsettling kind, the sort that ignored him. They were talking to one another as they came for him and continued to talk to one another as they fastened the muff on his wrists and led him along the corridor to the treatment room.

He was the first in that day, so the echoing room, where even ordinary speech was magnified to a shout, was quiet except for the sound of filling baths. There ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

How much of this story is true to the real one of Harry Cane's life is irrelevant. Certainly, the amount of information Gale received from his grandmother must have had many gaps where he had to fill in and add details. Gale clearly overcame all of these obstacles, and in doing so, gave us something marvelously well rounded, fascinating throughout, and obviously, a loving tribute to a man he never had the chance to know. This makes me think that Harry would have been very pleased to see his very successful great-grandson live as an openly proud, gay man.   (Reviewed by Davida Chazan).

Full Review (620 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A bit plodding at times and the sexual angle feels almost old-hat, but Gale creates in Harry a complicated, ultimately sympathetic hero.

The Observer (UK)

A dramatic and affecting portrayal of dislocation, extreme environments and the traumatic effects of enforced secrecy.

The Spectator (UK)

Gale employs his gift as a writer to will such pockets of tolerance retrospectively into existence - for the sake of his relative, as well, perhaps, as for all of us. Humanity does not look quite so wretched through Patrick Gale's eyes.

The Daily Mail (UK)

Lightness of touch, one of Gale's characters observes, is desirable in a novelist, and it is one of Gale's virtues...Rich in atmosphere and period detail...this enjoyable tale is both witty and poignant.

The Independent (UK)

This is an intensely personal book. Gale was inspired by a true tale from his own family history, and the depth of feeling shows. It's one gay man reaching out to another across a century of social change, and his most powerfully moving novel yet.

The Independent on Sunday (UK)

A master storyteller. Quite simply, you believe every word he tells you.

The Sun (UK)

Gale is not a sentimental writer, he's vividly aware of hardship and despair, but the overwhelming emotion in this fine book is one of tender, life-affirming joy.

The Sunday Mirror (UK)

This is a convincing and fascinating portrait of daily life over a century ago in a far away place. The mixture of adventure, historical saga and romance is utterly heartwrenching.

The Times (UK)

A mesmerising storyteller; this novel is written with intelligence and warmth.

The Hereford Times (UK)

Be inspired by Patrick Gale's entree to historical fiction... the deep undercurrents of love and desire that give the novel its pull will awaken you Independent magazine An epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking.

Irish Times

A gripping and deeply moving book about love, fear and hope.

Author Blurb Jojo Moyes
Patrick Gale has written a book which manages to be both tender and epic, and carries the unmistakeable tang of a true story. I loved it.

Author Blurb Amanda Craig
Absorbing, moving and beautifully written, with echoes of E.M. Forster which I found especially enjoyable.

Author Blurb Louisa Young
Beautifully structured around the warmest of warm hearts, but it's also run through with something new: a devastating chill of loss, fear and exile which keeps you shaking your head and biting your lip in concern and shame and disbelief.

Author Blurb Patricia Duncker
Bold, moving, intensely erotic - I couldn't put down this tale of passion and endurance, told with such tenderness.

Reader Reviews

Cloggie Downunder

incredibly moving and completely captivating.
“When a thing has always been forbidden and must live in darkness and silence, it’s hard to know how it might be, if allowed to thrive.” A Place Called Winter is the sixteenth novel by British author, Patrick Gale. In early 20th century England, ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Settling Western Canada

West is Best pamphletIn Patrick Gale's A Place Called Winter, he describes how Harry Cane comes across an office for Canadian emigration, and decides that moving abroad to become a homesteader/farmer in Canada is the solution to keeping the scandal of his being homosexual away from his family. Most people know something about the American push to settle the west. Over the years, numerous well known works of fiction (for example, Laura Engels Wilder's Little House on the Prairie novels, Edna Ferber's Cimarron and Dana Fuller Ross' Wagons West series), as well as hundreds of Hollywood movies and television series have been placed during this period of American history. However, both in fiction and in film, the world has mostly ignored the settling of western ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked A Place Called Winter, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

"Electrifying . . . as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set."
—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.