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10 thoughts on “Patience

  1. says:

    Then who wants you tenderly I don’t know Whom you talk to whom you love whom you laugh with Who gossips and uarrels and teases and laughs Who satisfies you All those things The daily loving comfort of it allWhat an intriguing little book Under the guise of a comedy John Coates gives us a thought provoking novel dealing with the concept of marriage from both the male and female perspective and of catholicism We follow our heroine of the title who for all instances and purposes is happily married with 3 little children The reality is however very different Patience being incredibly naive and ignorant is submissive in all things to her husband meeting all his demands dutifully even in the bedroom where she gets no pleasure nor expects to have any having been taught by her catholic mother that the act is only for procreation Edward treats her like a child or rather a pretty object not deigning to really talk to her or spend time with his children since they are not boys Things change however when Patience finds out her husband has a mistress why would any woman want to sleep with him if they didn't have to? and that she has been uite ignorant on many grounds such as sexual love Her awakenings are presented in such a frank and tasteful manner that no one reading this will be offended most novels nowadays being a lot explicit No the important element here is not the treatment but rather that the author brought to the fore the issue of women's fulfilment in a marital relationship and all that this involves Considering that this was written in the 1950s by a man it is groundbreaking Catholicism is present but mostly for the notion of Sin and what this means Patience is not what I would call a devout religious person not like her brother who also treats her in a patronising way but rather one who has been brought up in this tradition and who therefore follows it Throughout the novel she learns and re evaluates her whole world several times often in a very comical fashion in terms of what she believes is right and wrong and how this applies to her and her children's happiness This is a charming little book often whimsical and naive that entertains while fighting for women's rights and true conjugal relationships As the door shut behind him Patience knelt down and waited to be sick And she couldn't as usual help thinking that if Catholic women weren't on their knees for one reason they were probably on them for another


  2. says:

    Patience 28 years old and already the mother of three daughters is an obedient and submissive wife in the upper middle English style She defers to her husband Edward and Nanny and has a generalised well being due mostly to her own beauty and wealth her happiness in her small children and an ability to take pleasure in small things She rarely has a serious or analytical thought and is or less wafting through life when she stumbles upon evidence that her husband Edward not only has a mistress but even inconveniently a first wife who is still alive As Patience is a practicing Catholic the presence of this wife seems to indicate that her own marriage is invalid When Patience falls in love with Philip a concert pianist the situation devolves into a bit of a muddle Having just experienced love and lust for the first time Patience is both losing her innocence and becoming worldly in the sense of managing men Sin and the strictures of the Catholic churchThe tone of this novel is drawing room comedy light arch satirical The protagonist is a bird brained well brought up girl who is perhaps not as dumb as she seems It all moves along at a fast clip and was hugely readable but didn't make much of an impression on me Perhaps I read it in the wrong mood but it just seemed a bit silly


  3. says:

    Patience is described by Persephone books as being “a sophisticated and delightful novel” it is also a gentle little comedy I’m not sure I would use the word sophisticated myself – but I do think there is a surprising sharpness to this novel which lies submerged beneath the gentle humourpatience2Patience Gathorne Galley is a perfect dutiful 1950’s wife except for the fact she has only managed to produced three adorable little blonde haired girls rather than the preferred son her husband so longs for It is hard for women today to conceive of a time when women went from their parents’ home to their husband’s home wholly naïve and almost totally unpreparedFor some women maybe many women this was still the case as recently as the 1950’s Patience an attractive twenty eight year old has been married to a man in his forties for seven years as the novel opens a marriage which was practically arranged for her by her mother Her knowledge and understanding of sex – extends only to her dutiful Catholic submission to her husband which she uses to plan the meals for the following day Patience is a Catholic her husband is not Patience is true to her faith she believes in Sin and hell and damnation but in the way an unuestioning child might – there is no fervour no religious zeal Her brother Lionel – a truly horrid man – has enough religious zeal for both of them he worries about Sin sees it in everyone he appears unconcerned that his own wife has chosen to retire permanently to a cloistered religious retreat and no wonder Patience and Lionel’s sister Helen is divorced now married to an Anglican solicitor Lionel refers to Helen’s second husband as her paramour Dear Patience – and she is a dear although I may have wanted to shake her slightly once or twice – divides her world into those she loves – and the rest of the people who she likes Patience loves her sister Helen her darling babies Star Sue and Sal while her husband Edward it seems fits into the other group When Lionel almost gleefully tells Patience of the terrible Sin he has uncovered; that he has seen her husband coming out of a hotel with another woman her reaction is surprising Patience is puzzled why any woman would want to go to bed with Edward when she didn’t have to Patience begins to hope that Edward’s mystery woman might take over that side of things for her – and leave her to peacefully adoring her babies However almost immediately at a dinner party given by her sister and brother in law Patience meets Philip and falls madly in love and in lust Patience’s sexual awakening after seven years of marriage and three children is hilariously unlikely – and yet the novel is so engaging and Patience herself so sweet that despite much tutting and head shaking and than a wry smile or two – I couldn’t help but thoroughly enjoy it “She understood in a sort of flash of revelation almost everything Lionel had ever told her It really was different getting into bed with someone who wasn’t your husband And no wonder Lionel was so anxious no one should begin because once having begun and knowing how lovely it was one would find it very difficult to stop”I wasn’t sure I uite believed the speed with which Patience fell for Philip the concert pianist good and sweet though he undoubtedly is Within about three days Patience has slept with Philip several times and is considering whether she too can divorce her husband and live in Sin with another man However things take a surprising turn when Patience goes through her husband’s desk looking for evidence of his affair Patience shows a staggering naivety in English marriage law and what the state consider lawfully married as opposed to what the Church consider lawfully marriedUnder gentle instruction by her sister and Solicitor brother in law Patience turns the tables on dear bottom patting Edward allowing him to make all the mistakes she needs him to in order to end their marriage legally Patience learns that she possesses an extraordinary power that she had previously been unaware of sex All this is deliciously wicked and it is no wonder the novel was banned in IrelandThere is a slightly selfish naivety about Patience brought about by her childlike inability to recognise her responsibility to others She mostly only considers herself and her babies she loves Philip but there seems only little understanding for the enormity of the upheaval to his lifeThis novel certainly satirises dutiful Catholic marriage and the fact that this novel was written by a man was a constant surprise to me There were moments when the cynic in me wondered whether the character of a dutiful innocent young wife was merely a male fantasy of what one was – but in the end decided that was rather unfair John Coates writing is deceptively sharp with a surprisingly cynical twist right at the end which I rather appreciated The tone of the novel is a deceptively simple one; Patience’s voice is perfectly delightful childlike whimsy Despite its few flaws I really thoroughly enjoyed this surprising little novel and I would really like to read by this writer I think he must have had to say about the society in which he lived


  4. says:

    The subtitle is A Proper Girl Improperly in Love so I obviously loved this


  5. says:

    I was charmed and amused by Patience but I didn’t really care for her I found her naivety cartoonish really over the top but I’m not sure if that was because this book was written in the 1950’s or because the author is male I very much appreciated the English humor and I just delighted in reading a Persephone novel I admit I did laugh often and even though it’s been a few days I’m still thinking about this book


  6. says:

    I was intrigued by this book The summer before last when I heard Nicola Beauman speak at my library she mentioned that she was delighted she had found a comedy that would bring something new something that she felt was missing from the Persephone list It was too early for her to share any of the details but I’m uite sure that this is it It’s the story of 28 year old Patience Gathorne Galley She’s a good Catholic girl independently wealthy with a husband Edward and three little girls Star Sue and Sal But Patience is an innocent hopelessly naive She relies on her siblings for advice Lionel is a good devout Catholic whose wife’s desertion hasn’t shaken his faith one iota Helen on the other hand is a lapsed Catholic living in sin with an Anglican solicitor Ah yes SIN That word is writ large in all their lives Lionel takes the avoidance of sin terribly seriously Helen is rather sanguine but she hasn’t completely lost the values she was raised with And Patience knew that it was a very bad thing that she really should avoid She really was that naive a young woman passed directly from her parents to her husband with no chance at all to look at the world around her She was surprised when Lionel told her that Edward had a mistress He was a good reliable husband and why ever would a woman want to go to bed with a man when it wasn’t her marital duty? Yes there was a story waiting to happen here And happen it did Patience met a man Phillip She fell in love And in lust “She understood in a sort of flash of revelation almost everything Lionel had ever told her It really was different getting into bed with someone who wasn’t your husband And no wonder Lionel was so anxious no one should begin because once having begun and knowing how lovely it was one would find it very difficult to stop”When she confided in Helen her sister assured her that it wasn’t just the fact that Phillip wasn’t her husband that made the difference And then Patience knew that her future had to be spent with Phillip and her babies But however could she disentangle herself from Edward and not fall into sin? Patience’s attempts to do that to reach her happy ending make this a charming comedy of manners It sails along beautifully with lovely dialogue batted back and forth by beautifully drawn characters I could see them and I could hear their voices I could imagine actors on a stage having wonderful fun with this material too John Coates captures the feminine psyche extraordinarily well I am inclined to believe that he was brought up with sisters and that maybe he had a colourful aunt or two But that’s just speculation so let’s just say he understands women He writes beautifully too with a light touch with a lovely turn of phrase and with just the right amount of wit I found that I could even forgive Patience’s habit of addressing everyone as ‘dear’ Patience’s faith and the problems created by the differences between church and secular law provided a serious thread that counterbalanced the comedy and the romance uite beautifully There were some very nice twists and turns along the way Moments of comedy and moments of joy deftly handled I turned the pages uickly and stayed up rather later than I had planned because I so wanted to know what was going to happen And yet my feelings were mixed There were times when I found Patience irksome It is one thing to be a simple soul but even the simplest souls have some awareness some concern for the feelings of others But Patience didn’t she was utterly oblivious thinking only of what she wanted It was wonderful that her discovery of love and passion swept away everything save her maternal love but I found it hard to believe that any grown woman could be uite so insensitive to other people’s feelings Maybe that says about me than the book I’ve often been told that I’m too serious and that I over think things But I’m afraid that near the end when Patience said that she had grown up and all that it meant that she was forceful in getting her own way I was bitterly disappointed I just needed some little acknowledgement that she might have been thoughtless or some little sign that she had sympathy or understanding for others But it never came And an afterword revealed that Patience never really grew up at all Seeing love conuer all was delightful and the way that the story played out was a joy But to me this looks like a flawed gem I saw the beauty and the flaws but I suspect some will see only the beauty and others will see only the flaws I’d like to read it again soon because I don’t rule out feeling differently on a different day and I’m going to be very very curious to find out how other readers react when they meet Patience


  7. says:

    I really enjoyed this light hearted and funny story of a naive wife and mother who discovers that her husband is having an affair but doesn't mind because it gives her the chance to explore an awakening of her ownI don't think it's meant to be realistic Everything's far too 'providential' and exaggerated Just an enjoyable romp


  8. says:

    No summary of the plot of this book can give even an inkling of its charm Patience is a strict Catholic who has produced 3 daughters in less than 7 years of marriage to Edward an older man chosen for her by her mother even though he is not a Catholic The novel starts when Patience's repressed brother Lionel informs her that Edward has a mistress On the rebound from this shattering revelation Patience sleeps with a penniless musician Philip with whom she has her first orgasm ever Discovering all at once what love and sex are all about Patience decides to get rid of Edward and make a life with Philip a daunting prospect for an observing Catholic However when ransacking Edward's desk for evidence of his affair she finds proof that his first wife is still alive Therefore although Edward was legally divorced when he married her in the eyes of the Catholic Church he should not have married her There is never any doubt of where this fairytale is going of course Patience finds true happiness after managing to push Edward in the arms of his mistress without him suspecting that she has a lover of her own What makes this novel utterly delightful to read is the author's lightness of touch Patience's sexual awakening and gradual reconciliation of her religion with her newly gained agency are described with gentle humor Patience gets wise to the ways of men without losing anything of her sweetness and innocence in the best sense of the word In the end although she reassesses a number of the tenets of her religion she keeps her faith in a loving God intact Deceptively simple and in an odd way timeless


  9. says:

    What a powerful indictment of religion's singular ability to impede us from being fully human from experiencing our freedom and the joy of incarnation The protagonist Patience is surprised by her sudden ability to experience human love in an otherwise comfortable but passionless life She deems its pursuit to be worth the possible scorn of family and friends She is fortunate to have a sister who had provided a model for self realization and the financial means to facilitate a new life Patience doesn't precisely lose her Catholic faith but rather in the meaning of innocence and virginity and Sin; and in the importance of behaving as she was meant to behave In so doing she becomes fully herself which is what we are all meant to do in the short time allotted us


  10. says:

    Patience was first published in 1953 At first glance it seems to be a light comedic romp as the reader watches twenty eight year old Patience who is a mother to three and stuck in a lifeless marriage of seven years experience a sexual awakening But underneath the humor and the oh so many darlings John Coates writes a satire about love and marriage the duties of a submissive wife and the views of the Catholic church I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through Patience's eyes


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Patience Jeune naïve jolie et satisfaite de son existence uotidienne Patience a été pendant sept ans une épouse soumise et une mère de famille parfaite Tout cela sans jamais éprouver le moindre plaisir physiue Subissant le devoir conjugal en bonne catholiue et avec le sourire s'il vous plaît Patience passe le temps en pensant à autre chose les menus de la semaine la sortie au parc avec ses trois adorables filles Mais un jour deux événements viennent bouleverser sa vie alors u'elle apprend ue son mari entretient une liaison Patience rencontre le beau Philip et ne tarde pas à découvrir les joies de la chair dans une fulgurante révélation ue faire Ne pourrait elle s'arranger avec son époux tenir son rôle d'épouse le jour et d'amante la nuit pendant ue lui même vaue à ses occupations Si seulement tout cela ne la condamnait pas au Péché Si elle veut vivre pleinement cet amour naissant et passionnel Patience devra affronter mille difficultés et de terribles – mais réjouissants – affres de conscience

  • 268 pages
  • Patience
  • John Coates
  • French
  • 08 July 2014