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Publisher's Summary

Now a five-part limited event series on Showtime, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Blythe Danner.

Edward St. Aubyn has penned one of the most acclaimed series of the decade with the Patrick Melrose Novels. Now you can listen to all five novels in one volume: Never Mind, Bad News, Mother's Milk, Some Hope, and At Last

By turns harrowing and hilarious, this ambitious novel cycle dissects the English upper class. Edward St. Aubyn offers his listener the often darkly funny and self-loathing world of privilege as we follow Patrick Melrose's story of abuse, addiction, and recovery from the age of five into early middle age. The Patrick Melrose novels comprise a modern masterpiece by one of "the most brilliant English novelists of his generation" (Alan Hollinghurst). 

The Patrick Melrose novels as read by Alex Jennings were nominated for a 2015 Audie Award in Literary Fiction. 

©2015 Edward St. Aubyn (P)2013 Pan Macmillan, LTD

Critic Reviews

"...at its best audio offers a complementary or overlapping experience to the actual book. For example Alex Jennings’s readings of the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn are sublime, a sustained performance that also allows the prose to breathe in its own right. And really funny." (The Guardian, quoting author Andy Miller)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Unforgettable Listening Experience!

What made the experience of listening to The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels the most enjoyable?

The reader was incredibly talented. How can one reader be so adept at believably
voicing such a diverse range of ages?

What did you like best about this story?

Patrick Melrose is a fascinating character, and we get to watch his journey from childhood
to middle age. The novels are full of humor and sadness, personal growth and personal
stagnation and destructiveness. Patrick Melrose is an unforgettable character surrounded
by a host of memorable characters of all ages. What a writer, and what a reader!

What about Alex Jennings’s performance did you like?

What's not to like and admire? Alex Jennings captures every nuance possible.

If you could take any character from The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would like to go out to dinner with NIcholas, because of his verbal gymnastics. He is a
hilarious misanthrope.

Any additional comments?

I have recommended this book and this performance to many people, and will continue
to do so! I'm just so glad to have had this listening experience. I would not have
wanted to miss it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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beautifully, brilliantly wrought

I may have to write a much more lengthy and insightful review to capture the ways I love, admire and appreciate this book. But since there's no time for that right now, I would say this book is for anyone who loves language and wit, the thrill, empathy and occasional horror of interior monologues from diverse and well-drawn characters, the slow unfolding of a story from many perspectives, and a frequent urge to write down what feels like profound truths imparted along the way. The performance was perfect as well - Mr Jennings used distinct voices to bring each character to life. Highly recommended!

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Moat Surrounding Both British Nobility and Abuse

I wasn't intrigued enough until I saw this series of novels had been collected in one volume. I'm glad I read this semi-autobiographical pentalogy, published between 1992 and 2011, which delighted me in its subtle shaming of modern-day British aristocracy (in a way only a defiant member can) as much as it troubled in its expert examination of the enduring destruction of child abuse (both physical and mental).

Just to provide a short synopsis of each of the 5 novels herein (in order of publication):

NEVER MIND: Set in a mountain village in southeast France at the summer home of the protagonist Patrick when he was 5 years old. His dreadfully cruel father and meek alcoholic mother host several guests at a dinner party. Includes an incident of the lewd abuse of Patrick.

BAD NEWS: Patrick is now a 25-year-old heroin abuser in New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father over a 24-hour period. Includes probably the most accurate depiction of the mindset of a active drug addict I've ever read.

SOME HOPE: Set back in England a few years later, prior to and at a society party, also takes place over a single day. Patrick is trying to stay clean and shares his secret with his best friend. A mordant observation of the haughty, shallow and cruel nature of the British upper crust. Queen Elizabeth's sister, Prince Margaret, plays a large and largely unflattering role.

MOTHER'S MILK: This novel, unlike the first 3 and the last, all of which are set on a single day, occurs over several years. It's almost as long as the first 3 combined. Patrick's 2 sons are born. For most of it, he's a self-centered cad, drunk and on pain pills. His mother has given away most of Patrick's legacy to a spiritual guide (like Tolle').

AT LAST: Patrick's mom's funeral. St. Aubyn really takes a sardonic whip to aristocracy concentrated in the form of a snot named Nicholas Pratt and his mother's sister. Example: Patrick's uncle comments on the charitable and warm nature of Patrick's mother, "Eleanor was always concerned about other people." "That can be a good thing," Nicholas admitted, "depending on who those other people are."


I'm not sure that I'd give any of the 5 novels 5 stars, but as a collection they are definitely worth the price.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wasn't what I expected.

To be honest, the reason I bought these to listen to is because Benedict Cumberbatch is playing this role this summer.
Once I started, I found myself listening for hours at a time just wanting to listen to "one more chapter". Alex Jennings has a smooth soothing voice that made parts of this book easy to listen to and I found myself rooting for Patrick even when he was at his worst.
My only suggestion would be to put a content warning somewhere. I didn't realize there were mentions of rape & pedophilia so I was completely unprepared in those scenes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 07-31-17

do nothing for a long time in the same place

? did you grow up around people with vast sums of inherited money
? have you rubbed elbows with medicated and bored plutocrats
? does it intrigue you to peel the veneer off the lives of the idle rich

edward st. aubyn has written a great series of books to guide you
he knows this life quite well from long, sad first hand experience
several of the best sections have the feel of a well-written autobiography

wealth, it turns out, is not as useful and reliable as we've been lead to believe
beyond a certain basic level, money seems to generate hollow, feeble souls
st. aubyn reveals all this with wit and humor and a delicious knowing insight

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • susan
  • Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
  • 05-22-17

Never mind the story Alex Jennings is breathtaking

True Story which I would have given up on after the first page ( have no experience with drugs )had Alex not been reading it. His agility with voice and accent is like listening to Les Mis with a cast of one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exellent.

The melrose novels are simply everything,you can ask for. The story reminds one of Proust . They are humorous, deep,intelligent,amazingly interesting. Thanks to St. Aubyn.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Frances
  • Little Rock, Ar, United States
  • 06-08-18

Harrowing but brilliant

The writing is staggering and the narrator’s elegance of diction and perceptive, and precise deeply perceptive descriptions are a wonder. But those very qualities made the early sections with their closely observed scenes of sadism and suffering almost unbearable to read. I’m glad I persisted, but it was tough going.

The reader is good (to my American ear) with his British dialogue, but his American accents were horribly irritating. It would have been better-indeed it would have been fine- if he’d not attempted to mimic Americans. His women were often bad too, but to a lesser degree of distractingness.

But the main points are that the novels are painful and perceptive-and the language is
exquisite.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant but tragic satire of upper class life

Would you consider the audio edition of The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels to be better than the print version?

I would choose the audio every time if read by this wonderful reader.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the wry humour and spot on irony with which he deals with
his tragic story.

What does Alex Jennings bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Alex Jennings was Patrick Melrose to me, capturing the exact tone
and every nuance in this entertaining satirical look at the British upper classes.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

While each short novel could be listened to in one sitting, I needed a break between each to recover and digest the content.

Any additional comments?

We cannot forget the poignant fact that this is a fictional rendering of the author's life and this makes it all the more moving.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Angst and Beyond

So much angst, even though it is deserved. The character cannot get out of the dialogue going on continuously in his head. It is intriguing and somewhat sad.