A vivid and compelling portrait of a man at odds with himself; and an extended family of friends and lovers trying to take its proper shape.
Lawrence Frost has neither father nor siblings, and fits so awkwardly into his worldly mother’s life he might have dropped from the sky. Like many such heroes, he grows up happier with plants than people. While he is straightforward, honest, and a doting dad, he can be a difficult, taciturn husband – but he’s the last person one would suspect of being a killer.
Waking one morning to find himself branded a wife-beater and under suspicion of murder, his small world falls apart as he loses wife, daughter, liberty, livelihood and, almost, his mind.
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‘This is vintage Patrick Gale – witty, funny, poignant, and utterly absorbing…This is a book full of forgiveness – and everyday encounters with tigers, transsexuals and sexy, repentant murderers. It's a long hard look at love, sex, violence, and other unconventional family values.’ Patricia Duncker
‘In this very fine novel Patrick Gale proves, yet again, that he is both an exceptionally acute observer of human nature and a storyteller of the first order.’ Barbara Gowdy
‘The book is one of his best: a fluently constructed narrative underpinned by excellent characterisation. Running through it all is the theme of redemption; and the hero's journey from despair to hope makes a stirring odyssey for the reader.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Gale’s energetic novel is a carnival of events in which credible characters find themselves in incredible situations.’ Daily Telegraph
‘A readable, entertaining and occasionally moving yarn.’ The Times
‘Gale is a comic writer along the lines of Tom Sharpe. [He] is at his most insightful in his descriptions of character, both of individuals and of the Frost family as a whole. Tree Surgery for Beginners’ is a comic thriller in which “family tree” takes on new meanings.’ ObserverFrom the Back Cover:
'TREE SURGERY FOR BEGINNERS' Patrick Gale
"Lawrence Frost is a gauche, likeable tree surgeon with a theatrical mother and a rather frosty wife. When the latter disappears, he is suspected of her murder, and this is the catalyst for a series of adventures, including flight to the Caribbean and an affair with the strapping, six-foot Lala, a Neapolitan transsexual (or is s/he?), all leading to the Redemption of Lawrence. A supporting cast of wonderfully eccentric minor characters adds to the readability and charm. What is delightful about Gale's fiction is that it so warmly and convincingly illuminates ordinary lives and interests."
CHRISTOPHER HART, 'Daily Telegraph'
"'Tree Surgery for Beginners' exerts the unmistakable force of a novelist in the process of discovering a new, strong voice. With this alarming and technically very skilful romance, he is decidedly a man to watch."
PHILIP HENSHER, 'Mail on Sunday'
"Lawrence's natural condition is a frustrated inarticulacy… Gale's own voice, by contrast, is elegant and elusive… The paraphernalia of 'Tree Surgery for Beginners' may be of the moment – a world of gyms, psychotherapists and New Age havens – but the hopefulness of the narrative and the solidity of its central character make it a lasting creation."
DAVID HORSPOOL, 'TLS'
"A tribute to Patrick Gale's mastery of narrative… consistently entertaining but also, in places, quietly moving. The deracinated hero, with his existential despair, is very well done; while the women who buttress his fragile ego are also delineated with skill and feeling."
JULIA FLYNN, 'Sunday Telegraph'
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Book Description Flamingo, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Very Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. Though second-hand, the book is still in very good shape. Minimal signs of usage may include very minor creasing on the cover or on the spine. Bookseller Inventory # CHL1462867
Book Description Flamingo. Book Condition: Good. . Bookseller Inventory # G12B-zca1070
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # TT01339041B
Book Description Flamingo, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Second hand book, so does have reading wear to covers, spine and edges. Overall condition can be considered as good. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 135774
Book Description Flamingo, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Good condition, some are ex-library and can have markings. Bookseller Inventory # GD-000-64-8653008
Book Description Flamingo, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Bookseller Inventory # 0006550746