An Atlantic Magazine Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
"The Melrose Novels are a masterwork for the 21st century, written by one of the great prose stylists in England." (Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones)
For more than 20 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 22-year-old Patrick sets off to collect his father's ashes from New York, where he will spend a drug-crazed 24 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.
©2012 Edward St. Aubyn (P)2013 Pan Macmillan, LTD
I heard about this book on NPR and decided to try it. I am SO GLAD I got the audiobook instead of the print version! This is the fictionalized account of an actual young woman -- a trick rider, horse-whisperer and outlaw -- in the Australian outback in the early years of the 20th century. The heroine was memorable, the landscape descriptions compelling, the plot exciting, and the surprising omniscient narrator superbly voiced by the author herself, in a soft and compelling Aussie accent. The narration made the book come alive!
So...you're telling me I can pay people to read books to me whilst I do other things?
I bought the Picador set of the Patrick Melrose novels on Amazon a year or so ago but only got around to reading the first volume a couple of months ago. I got hooked enough to check if there was an Audible version and...so there was.
If you're considering this download it's important to understand that this series isn't "about" the modern English aristocracy, although the setting--and some of the characters--will definitely please hardcore anglophiles.
What it IS about is one person's struggle to accept and overcome his inheritance-- in every sense of the word.
So if you're looking for a "fun glimpse" into the contemporary English upper classes, this probably isn't your cup of tea.
But if you recognize from the outset the superb quality of this writing--you'll know because you'll be rewinding and bookmarking constantly--you will thoroughly enjoy this exquisite compilation and Patrick Melrose's evolution through life's phases and milestones.
Throughout, St. Aubyn has a delicious--almost Oscar Wildean-- way of distilling profound human realities into snappy literary soundbites; here is a sampling of my favorites:
"At the beginning, there had been talk of using some of [my mother's] money to start a home for alcoholics. In a sense they had succeeded."
"One of the troubles with being an infant was the difficulty of distinguishing incompetence from malice.."
"At his age he either had to join the resistance or become a collaborator with death..."
The only reason I gave the performance 4 stars was because, as mentioned in a previous review, Alex Jennings is perfection when it comes to every English language accent EXCEPT American ones. It truly mars an otherwise flawless performance, and should in no way deter you from downloading the book--just be prepared, if you are American, to cringe when the (thankfully rare) American characters speak!
This is a very well written book, streets ahead of most works dealing with sensitive subjects like this. Unfortunately, that doesn't save it for me. The problem is that the people the author writes about are all tediously boring and uninteresting, and infantile to the point of dementia. It would be fine if these depictions were there as representations of the protagonist's tormentors. The problem is, the book is entirely devoted to them, to the point that one cannot help but think that the protagonist has become one of them and is now just as fascinated by their empty lives as they are. I'm not even a little bit interested in their empty lives, and there wasn't enough of the protagonist as a real person to offset that. As a result, the book was so stultifyingly boring I fond it impossible to stand more than a few hours of the first novel.
The performance of the narrator is adequate, but all the people involved except the protagonist are so monstrously unpleasant that it is also really difficult to listen to.
I heard Edward St. Aubyn's interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross about his semi-autobiographical book series on Patrick Melrose. I thought these books might be interesting since I have never been one of the elite rich and probably never will be. . But, his description of bored rich people soon bored this not so rich person. I won't waste another minute of my life on these books.
I don't think that's possible.
The performance was adequate for the material: He varied voices depending on the character speaking, etc. But his cool, rich, bored voice just didn't interest me.
Don't waste your money.
I have never downloaded a bigger disappointment. This is the worst listening experience I've had in over 15 years! Ugly and utterly boring, I could not get interested in any of these characters.
What genre would that be?
More or less yes
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content