Kansas Drug Abuse: A Review of Kansas in August by Patrick Gale

Patrick Gale´s novel Kansas In August was an interesting, if never a very engaging read. It features some rather strange people. There is a man called Hilary and a woman called Henry. They are brother and sister. They share a lover, a bisexual guy called Rufus, but neither brother nor sister is aware of the situation because certain parties have used false names. (It seems that these people always want to be someone else.

Henry is the stronger character. She is a successful medic specialising in often threatening psychiatric cases. Hilary teaches music peripatetically. Some of the children he meets might benefit from the attentions of his sister. Rufus is a partially credible amalgam of a macho man, gay pride, anything, perhaps, that he can think of today. But it is the word “think” that seems to provide the greatest challenge for these people.

They are presented as contemporary Brits rattling around west London. It is apparently always snowing. There are constant strikes and various other social challenges that result in piles of rubbish permanently half-hiding the urban decay that lines the streets. There is much alcohol consumption and occasional , probably conceived as recreational, despite the fact that no-one ever seems to have any money.

Hilary finds a baby – yes, a real baby – abandoned in a cot. He seems to think that finders can be keepers and sets about being its foster parent. He seems to be under a personal impression that he can keep his find, as if he had discovered a stray dog or a dropped wallet. He sets about occasional feeding and watering, and takes it out once in a while to provide diversion. A young Asian girl befriends him and develops a crush. And this character, remember, we have been told is au fait with teaching, schooling and other things related to youngsters. As I mentioned earlier, “thinking” seems to challenge these people.

I admit to becoming rather confused as I read Patrick Gale´s novel. I found these people quite incredible and not very likeable. I did not understand and definitely did not empathise with any of their opinions or actions. They all seemed completely self-obsessed, rather crass and, crucially, unable to imaging anything beyond the end of the nose. Even immediate reality seemed to pass them by. But then, perhaps, that is contemporary Britain, something of a dross heap of selfishness. But, given west London and snow, why “Kansas” and why “August” remain two questions that still utterly defeat me.

Philip Spires
Author of Mission and A Fool’s Knot, African novels set in Kenya
Migwani is a small town in Kitui District, eastern Kenya. My books examine how social and economic change impact on the lives of ordinary people. They portray characters whose identity is bound up with their home area, but whose futures are determined by the globaised world in which they live.

Article Source:


US Senate panel launches investigation of painkillers, drug companies

Filed under: Kansas Drug Abuse

In addition to the pain organizations, the committee also sought records from three leading drug companies: Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo Pharmaceuticals. It also requested records from the Center for Practical Bioethics, a Kansas City, …
Read more on Chicago Tribune


Stories set to appear in Wednesday's edition of The Herald-Whig

Filed under: Kansas Drug Abuse

PCP POPULARITY: PCP use appears to be increasing in Kansas City, and police are concerned because the hallucinogenic drug often makes users violent and unpredictable. Police have been averaging two or three PCP arrests per week recently, most involving …
Read more on Quincy Herald Whig


Cespedes back with A's, Manny stays in minors

Filed under: Kansas Drug Abuse

Jerry Sandusky's child sex-abuse trial remained on track to start next week after a Pennsylvania appeals court on Friday turned down his latest request for a delay. Jerry Sandusky's child sex-abuse trial remained on track to start next week after a …
Read more on KFVS


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *