Patrick Boyle

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Martin Levin

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 152

Mainly, [Patrick Boyle's "At Night All Cats Are Grey"] is about drinking and dying, frequently intermingled. An old farmer gets falling-down-stoned at his wife's wake and crawls into the deathbed for his night's repose…. After the death of her husband, a grandmother is revealed to be a secret lush (milk and John Jameson)….

Mr. Boyle's wide range of sensibility also embraces the outdoor world (death again); he can give a universal tinge to the final struggle of a badger, or the aftermath of a storm at sea; laced with bleak assessments of human destiny is a full-bodied Chaucerian humor that can wring a laugh out of man at his sorriest. His awareness of mortality makes him a connoisseur of life and a sobering companion.

Martin Levin, "Reader's Report: 'At Night All Cats Are Grey'," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1969 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), May 25, 1969, p. 48.

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