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The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk Paperback – Deckle Edge, January 31, 2012


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The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk + At Last: The Final Patrick Melrose Novel + Lost for Words: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312429967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312429966
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This volume introduces American readers to the first four Melrose novels—Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother’s Milk—published in Great Britian from 1992 to 2006. (The fifth book, At Last, is available as a separate volume.) In Never Mind, Patrick is five years old, living in Provence with his incredibly rich American mother, Eleanor, and his sadistic, abusive English father, David. In Bad News, Patrick, now 22, goes to New York to collect David’s ashes, and there he feeds his addiction to various drugs in a spectacular fashion, spending over $10,000 in the course of a single day. If Bad News calls to mind Bright Lights, Big City, Some Hope is more like Wodehouse, with Patrick, now sober, attending a country-house party at which Princess Margaret is also a guest. Mother’s Milk returns to Provence, where Patrick is vacationing with his wife and sons in the house that Eleanor has turned into a New Age wellness center. Mother’s Milk was a Man Booker finalist, making this volume especially welcome for readers who savor literary British fiction. --Mary Ellen Quinn

From Bookforum

A brew of romans a clef set amid a sparklingly decadent upper-crust English background, the novels are a mordant portrait of a class that St. Aubyn loathes but is undeniably his own. In each novel we read a kind of status report on Patrick's progress, one in which his growing desire to come to grips with his legacy and the shadow of maturity does battle with a pathological case of self-loathing, an appetite for sex and self-medication. Bleak as the material may sound, the Melrose novels are modern masterworks of social comedy. —Eric Banks

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Customer Reviews

Looking forward to reading much more from Mr St Aubyn.
Michele P. Olender
I don't mind disliking characters in a book if they're well-drawn.
Fata Morgana
This author has the ability to mesmerize in his eloquent writing.
L. Dakota

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 103 people found the following review helpful By E. Keats on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
While there were many times I almost stopped because it was such a brutal read, now that I'm in the last of this series, Mother's Milk, I just don't want to let go of these voices. Patrick Melose grows from the five year old victim of The Worst Father in the World into the loving, hapless, father of Robert, my favorite child since Jack in Room. Along the way, we meet the most hilariously horrifying characters imaginable. And every now and then I find myself underlining a gorgeous line that is lyrical, satirical, spiritual, nasty, and sometimes all of the above. Where has this writer been all my life? Well, at least I still have one more to go: At Last.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By J. Wilson on March 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Compulsively readable. I feasted on the four "Melrose" books, then purchased "At Last"--the latest "installment." The hero's journey from abused child through self-abusing youth to brutally self-knowing survivor (in "At Last") would be excruciating if it weren't for St. Aubyn's lapidary prose and lacerating wit. Fully captures the terror of being a small child at the mercy of ruthlessly self-absorbed adults and the resulting life-long confusion of having one's deepest emotional attachments warped by parental damage. But also provides hilarious portraits of clueless aristocrats, deranged addicts, deluded do-gooders and unapologetic snobs. I can't think of another author who alternates between breathtaking satire and profound insight as deftly as St. Aubyn. The effect is devastating in both senses of the word.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Biloon on April 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From the very first page, a reader knows he or she is in the presence of an extraordinary writer. Precise, ironic, sardonic at times, highly original phrasing and wording make these books compelling reading. The characters, mostly drawn from the upper classes of English society, are vivid, sharply painted and often funny. The story is bleak and not for the faint hearted, but the rewards are considerable. Certain sentences, descriptions and observations are so acute and highly original that I wanted to write them down for future rereading. The four books should be read in order, as they constitute a continuing story, with the same characters, and references to past events appear throughout. For real readers and not just for book club followers.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tanya T. on March 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I too didn't want it to end, wanted to savor it yet could't help greedily race through it--lost many hours of needed sleep unable to put it down. As the mother of a young boy I almost threw the book across the room when I came across the wretched scene, but am so grateful that I stuck it out. I was incredibly moved and inspired by the protagonist's struggle to be a better man and just how beautifully and humorously the author was able to articulate the human struggle. Will read everything this author ever writes. I should write a much more in-depth and thoughtful review-- this novel certainly deserves it, but I just started "At Last" and can't bear to be away from it. If you have any soul at all, it will devour this book and have such a relief from the insipid.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rusty Unger on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Everything about these books will dazzle you: the shatteringly accurate portrayal of characters who are variously evil, narcissistic, absurdly funny, self-satisfed, selfish, thoughtless, but sometimes kind, innocent and struggling to break through to forgiveness and love. Their hilarious dialogue. The first-person narrator's searing, totally original observations and insights, The utter beauty and originality of the language. St. Aubyn follows a particular boy born in a particular time (60s) among the British gentry as he grows up and moves through London, the south of France New York. From the ramifications of a particularly loathsome form of child abuse, Patrick essentially spends his life trying to transcend the experience, becoming a mega drug addict (as vivid a description of an addiction as you may ever read), a lawyer, a husband and father and finally, a son to the parents who don't deserve him.

It's an astonishing tour de force.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Fata Morgana on March 31, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this set of four novels owing to the good review in the New York TImes. I admire the reviewer and generally agree with her assesments. This time, however, I found all four of the books--although certainly well written and often amusing--disagreeable and wearying in the unrelenting supercilious banter. I don't mind disliking characters in a book if they're well-drawn. But not to care about any of them...not a one...that doesn't make for good reading. Nonetheless, I finished all four, so I must have found something worthwhile.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By George M Woods on September 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd give it four and a half stars if there was that option because this collection of stories is almost perfect. The four stories this book bring together, so obviously autobiographical, chart the life of Patrick Melrose first as a five year old, abused at the hands of his wealthy parents and then episodically through his life as he manifests and tries to understand that upbringing. Though his was clearly more horrific than most there are elements of pathology in all our maturations and the urge to understand universal. But this is not a self help sort of novel but instead a fascinating story of life. As well articulated as this book is is extremely rare. The author's ability to turn a phrase is largely unmatched in contemporary times and more than worth the price of admission. In particular the writing about his drug abuse is so good I would gladly trade a heroin addiction for the ability to write like the author. I found myself simultaneously hurrying through the book so that I could put it down for the night and slowing to savor the polished sentences. The book is a delightful, insightful read.
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