The Patrick Melrose Novels

The Patrick Melrose Novels

Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk

Book - 2012
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

An Atlantic Magazine Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

"The Melrose Novels are a masterwork for the twenty-first century, written by one of the great prose stylists in England." --Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones

For more than twenty years, acclaimed author Edward St. Aubyn has chronicled the life of Patrick Melrose, painting an extraordinary portrait of the beleaguered and self-loathing world of privilege. This single volume collects the first four novels-- Never Mind , Bad News , Some Hope , and Mother's Milk , a Man Booker finalist--to coincide with the publication of At Last , the final installment of this unique novel cycle.

By turns harrowing and hilarious, these beautifully written novels dissect the English upper class as we follow Patrick Melrose's story from child abuse to heroin addiction and recovery. Never Mind , the first novel, unfolds over a day and an evening at the family's chateaux in the south of France, where the sadistic and terrifying figure of David Melrose dominates the lives of his five-year-old son, Patrick, and his rich and unhappy American mother, Eleanor. From abuse to addiction, the second novel, Bad News opens as the twenty-two-year-old Patrick sets off to collect his father's ashes from New York, where he will spend a drug-crazed twenty-four hours. And back in England, the third novel, Some Hope , offers a sober and clean Patrick the possibility of recovery. The fourth novel, the Booker-shortlisted Mother's Milk , returns to the family chateau, where Patrick, now married and a father himself, struggles with child rearing, adultery, his mother's desire for assisted suicide, and the loss of the family home to a New Age foundation.

Edward St. Aubyn offers a window into a world of utter decadence, amorality, greed, snobbery, and cruelty--welcome to the declining British aristocracy.

Publisher: New York : Picador, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312429966
Branch Call Number: STA
Characteristics: 680 p. ;,21 cm

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maipenrai
Sep 06, 2014

**** stars. For more than twenty years, acclaimed author Edward St. Aubyn has chronicled the life of Patrick Melrose, painting an extraordinary portrait of the vicious and self-loathing world of privilege. This single volume collects the first four novels ? "Never Mind", "Bad News", "Some Hope", and "Mother?s Milk", a Man Booker finalist?to coincide with the publication of "At Last", the final installment of this unique novel cycle.
By turns harrowing and ironic, these beautifully written novels dissect the English upper class as we follow Patrick Melrose?s story from child abuse to heroin addiction and recovery. "Never Mind", the first novel, unfolds over a day and an evening at the family?s chateaux in the south of France, where the sadistic and terrifying figure of David Melrose dominates the lives of his five-year-old son, Patrick, and his rich and unhappy American mother, Eleanor. From abuse to addiction, the second novel, "Bad News" opens as the twenty-two-year-old Patrick sets off to collect his father?s ashes from New York, where he will spend a drug-crazed twenty-four hours. Back in England, the third novel, "Some Hope", offers a sober and clean Patrick the possibility of recovery. The fourth novel, the Booker-shortlisted "Mother?s Milk", returns to the family chateau, where Patrick, now married and a father himself, struggles with child rearing, adultery, his mother?s desire for assisted suicide, and the loss of the family home to a New Age foundation. ****** SPOILER ALERT PERHAPS!! Reading all four of these novel in the space of about a week is exhausting and very saddening. The first book creates one of the best descriptions of an amoral, possibly sociopathic character that I have ever read. It captures the total narcissism and lack of empathy required for a adult ( especially a parent ) to torture and abuse a child. There is some "comic" relief in the brutal depiction of the phoniness of the upper crust, but not enough to allay the harrowing experience of seeing the abuse from Patrick's eyes. It is not surprising that in the second novel, "Bad News", Patrick is an addict. It is a painful look at self-destruction and self-hatred. In "Some Hope" we find Patrick "sober" ( one must use this definition loosely ) because sobriety to me connotes healing and insight which does not really capture Patrick's life. The euphemism "dry drunk" comes more to mind. In "Some Hope" Patrick has grown enough emotionally to tell his best friend ( and former dealer ) about his child abuse. His mother Eleanor is so damaged that she has placed her faith and Patrick's inheritance into the hands of a charlatan. "Mother's Milk" is almost as painful as "Never Mind" because Patrick's precocious child attempts to meet the needs of his damaged parent. The effects of abuse go on. Patrick's mother has been abandoned by her guru and wants her son to help her die. Patrick is never "parented". Given this bleak description, why did I keep reading these books and give them 4 stars? First of all, the writing and insight into false society, abuse, and psychological pain are impeccable. St. Aubyn knows that no one ever completely "recovers" from profound child abuse, nor do the children and spouses / lovers of the abused. There is no false note in any of the books. There is, however, tremendous pain. There is some terrific sarcasm and analysis of the banality of the "British Elite", but never enough to balance the pain. I recommend these books highly if you believe the content will not be overwhelming.

d
diggie
Nov 29, 2013

i read them in one furious gulp. But they are not candy, more like a pitcher of gin that was once briefly acquainted with vermouth. They trace the life and diminishing fortunes of a clever would-be playboy, Patrick Melrose, through the addictions and recoveries required by dealing with his nasty nasty family. Breathtakingly clever, heartbreakingly beautiful, like Brideshead Revisited with more drugs and less sappiness.

l
ladiablesse
Aug 11, 2012

St. Aubyn has an amazing capacity to illuminate very dark material with a ruminative style laced with acidic wit. He writes economically, sketching a scene or character with deft, bold strokes immediately capturing recognizable society 'types.'

I found his style immediately accessible and entertaining, the world he described both familiar and exotic, his delineation of family and the peculiar, long-lasting effects of suffering abuse remarkably vivid, affecting, and bracingly real.

boosie22 Jul 10, 2012

Started this book but it was due and could not renew at time. I got up to page 96. (interesting so far but hard to get into)

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