Patrick Melrose Novels

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The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781447223528
  • Publisher: Macmillan Computer Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/28/2012
  • Series: Patrick Melrose Series
  • Sales rank: 915,558

Meet the Author

Edward St. Aubyn

Edward St. Aubyn was born in London in 1960. He is the author of A Clue to the Exit and On the Edge, and of a series of novels about the Melrose family, the trilogy Some Hope and Mother’s Milk, which was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 10, 2012

    I wonder what it might have been like to read these four novels

    I wonder what it might have been like to read these four novels over the space of some twenty years, as they were written, rather than in a couple of weeks -- essentially as one long novel? I shall never know, of course. This collection was published at the release of the final installment of the Patrick Melrose Story -- AT LAST.

    NEVER MIND is the first book in this wildly ambitious, utterly successful series. It takes place over the course of a twenty-four hour period in which the Oh-so-veddy-uppercrust wee Patrick is five years old, and sexually abused by his narcissistic, savagely cruel father.

    In MOTHER'S MILK, Patrick is 22, and (perhaps not surprisingly) a drug addict heading to NYC to retrieve his father's corpse. The bleakest and perhaps most interior of the novels, it covers a drug-fueled weekend in Manhattan, wherein our hero searches for drugs and behaves rather badly, but not as badly as you might expect, given his family life.

    Eight years later, SOME HOPE finds Patrick attempting to recover from his addictions and confronting his horrific personal history.

    In the last of the four book, MOTHER'S MILK, Patrick is married, although with only mild happiness, and the father of two boys, Robert, and the younger Thomas. In this work, Patrick's mother, who appeared in the first novel as an alarmingly subservient mess of neuroses, has turned into a New Age manipulator intent on betraying her son once again by turning over the family estate to an Irish-hippy con artist.

    The weight of these novels likes not so much in the events themselves -- but in the internal journey of the characters, centering of course on Patrick. St. Aubyn has admitted that writing them has been a form of therapy and contains large elements of autobiography, although he did not admit the sexual abuse was based on personal experience until years after the first novel was published..

    But let's be clear, this is not memoir. It is fictional art of the highest order. The voice is one of the most scathingly witty I've read in years. I couldn't help but think of Oscar Wilde. It is the humor which lifts the book out of the morass of derelict novels out there. Intelligence is burned into every page. No one is spared, not the British 'aristocracy' (whatever that means these days), not the narrator or any other character, not the Americans. . . everyone who appears in these novels is eviscerated, and yet I found them all, in spite of being pedophiles, drug addicts, narcissists and upper class twits -- utterly fascinating.

    St. Aubyn is concerned with consciousness and he is a master at revealing it. (Jane Gardam does the same thing, with less squalor and with a gentler wit, but they echo each other in many ways. I can't think of a North American writer that does this so well.) I can't wait to read AT LAST, and will be very sorry, I'm sure, when it ends.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2012

    Elegant, painfully honest, and worth reading

    In this set of four brief novels (and a final fifth one, 'At Last,' just published), St. Aubyn's autobiographically-based fiction depicts the life of Patrick Melrose from toddlerhood to middle-age. In spare, elegant prose, he also skewers the vapidity and mores of the English upper class. The second novel, 'Bad News,' is the most harrowing of the books, describing in excruciating detail the overwhelming power of heroin addiction, which is Patrick's response to his parents' abuse and neglect. In spite of exploring these 'lower depths,' the tone and mood of the novels, especially the latter ones, achieve a kind of serenity and acceptance of living life on life's terms, and thus the quintet ends on a note of optimism and sense of redemption.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    G Great reading . Quality writing.

    I especially enjoyed the reading experience of reading the second book. It was a really unique world away trip.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Brilliant!

    A scathing, 'listen to this' skewering of British aristocracy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    This takes some patience

    It has some really funny observations, but the character gets tiresome with his quirks and hang-ups. I finished it, but wasn't really satisfied.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Stupendous

    There are five novels in the Patrick Melrose series, made up of the four in this volume and the final book, At Last. Edward St. Aubyn's writing is spare and full of meaning, which made my reading time fly by. Every character is described so well that I knew them on a level that I seldom do when reading fiction. While reading the first story, I was so enraged at what happend to young Patrick I would have thrown the book across the room had I not been reading it on my nook.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    Hard to put down, and the elegaic, though tough and unpleasant &

    Hard to put down, and the elegaic, though tough and unpleasant "Bad News", is a tour de force! And the blurb is true: every page has something that makes you laugh, even out loud from time to time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    This book is great - funny, witty, insightful, sardonic - hope h

    This book is great - funny, witty, insightful, sardonic - hope he continues writing after the final installment is done.

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