Share for friends:

Friendly Fire (2005)

Friendly Fire (2005)

Book Info

3.85 of 5 Votes: 4
Your rating
0007151004 (ISBN13: 9780007151004)
fourth estate (gb)

About book Friendly Fire (2005)

This rather mundane, superficial and ultimately predictable novel about a teenage girl growing up with two gay schoolchums is not Patrick Gale at his best, unfortunately. Maybe because the book is written from the perspective of someone who is a generation younger than the author, Gale's usually pinpoint radar on the human condition is a little off tangent throughout this book. WHilst he says in the really useful authro's notes at the end of the book that writing from a young girl's perspective was a bit of a creative experiment for him, I'm afraid it wasn't an experiment that didn't completely work.In the final few pages, the narrative voice admits that the main drama of the piece took place without her input really, this is actually true for the whole book - our narrator, Sophie, is very little more than a commentator on the relationship between Lucas and Charlie, her two gay schoolfriends. This inability to get insight into their internal ruminations is where the book ultimately lets itself down.Nevertheless, as you'd expect from Patrick Gale, the prose is extremely readable, and even if the book falls down overall on his usual excellent standards, I'm not sorry I read this. It wasn't a difficult read at all.

What a joy to read this novel again. I first read it at publication and fell in love with it, then read it a good few more times over the subsequent couple of years, enjoying it more every time. This book was my introduction to Patrick Gale, and still my favourite out of all his wonderful novels. I hadn't read it in a few years though and wanted to pick it up again whilst dreading that after all this time I wouldn't enjoy it as much. I'm so glad that I was wrong. It was like meeting up with a long lost and cherished friend. I was reminded of all the reasons why I think Gale is such a superb writer: impeccably crafted, elegant style and sentences, nuanced characters that feel like people you know in real life, great plot pacing and build-up, realistic social situations and commentary, this subtle and clear way of teasing out and describing emotions, situations, relationships... This novel is so rich and enthralling that I felt more delight with every chapter. Having become a WAgner fan in the interval I also picked up a lot more on the parallel between Gotterdammerung and Mr Compton. I loved all the Wagner references and found they added a touch of wild romanticism to the novel in just the right way.

Do You like book Friendly Fire (2005)?

So many things about this were spot-on reminders of my own school days, even though my school was very different from Tathams - not boarding and all girls, for a start. I loved the slang and the games and the bizarre traditions of Tathams. Oh, and the dead hamster! (not a real one)There were times when I would have liked to know what was going on in Lucas's head. Charlie was easy enough to read but Lucas wasn't, and there were points when perhaps the story suffered from being only from Sophie's point of view.

My favourite books by Patrick Gale are 'Notes from an Exhibition' and 'A Perfectly Good Man'. I have also been collecting and reading all his back catalogue and must admit that, after the two shown above, this is the one I have enjoyed the most so far. Wonderful writing and great characters, you almost feel as if you are there with Sophie, Lucas and Charlie. In his notes at the end of my edition, Patrick mentions some similarities to Harry Potter, although I more equated the clever, bookish but rather shy Sophie more with Lyra from the Northern Lights series! Absolutely loved it!

This is set in a boarding school full of ancient traditions and an intake of predominantly male students. You wouldn’t need to know it was a Patrick Gale novel to suspect it might be a hotbed of homosexuality.Seen through the eyes of Sophie, one of the school’s only female students, who got in on a scholarship having been brought up in care, it is skilfully written – it isn’t all about homosexual encounters though that’s the main thrust of it.Like all Patrick Gale’s novels, it is full of interesting detail that keeps you wanting to read on even when nothing much is happening. It moves steadily towards its dramatic conclusion (which I didn’t see coming), and whilst I found the last chapter a bit jarring, this was another great read from this consistently excellent author.
—Jayne Charles

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Patrick Gale

Other books in category Fiction