Tuesday, 1 May 2018



A few months ago, I read Never Mind - the first novel in Edward St Aubyn's Patrick Melrose series - and I was left reeling by how good a writer he is.
And now I've just finished the second book Bad News - and I'm reeling in quite a different way from this drug-fuelled barrage of awfulness. It is 17 years later and Melrose, now in his twenties, has flown to New York to collect the ashes of the father who abused him as a child. I'm sure it's authentic - it's drawn from life - but if this unbearable, drug-addled tosser were lying dead in the gutter, I can't imagine that any reader would much care. Originally intended as a trilogy, there are now five books in the series; I'm telling myself that this has to be rock bottom because at the rate he's going, I'd give Melrose a life expectancy of six months at the outside.
Shall I attempt the third book? It can't be as black - or as relentless - as this one. I do think that Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be marvellous in the TV series.

8 comments:

Jacqui Fenner-Dixon said...

I was not aware of the Melrose books, which sound pretty grim. However, after reading the linked article, which I found very interesting, I will give them a go. Alas, Mr. Cumberbatch will be on Sky Atlantic and I may have to wait sometime to see his performance.

Mary said...

Oh, it's on Sky - I hadn't realised, Jacqui. The first book is brilliant - and this one, I have to admit is brilliantly written, but far too grim for me. It's a two-day coke/heroin binge, literally vein by vein. I need something more cheerful before I attempt any more!

Jacqui Fenner-Dixon said...

I’ve never been drawn to ‘painful lives’ literature, preferring more uplifting fodder. St. Aubyn is just such a fascinatingly complex character, the fact that he’s still alive is a feat in itself. Thanks for the heads-up on the second book though, I will gird my loins for that one.

Mary said...

I wonder if you could skip book two and just take it that he's been to hell and back without going there yourself?

Jacqui Fenner-Dixon said...

I'd worry about missing something integral to the next book. I couldn't miss out a book in a sequence..too anal!

Veronica Cooke said...

I read 'Mother's Milk'and found it very bleak so haven't bothered with anymore.

I find some books haunt me so don't want to be haunted by horrible events/acts/circumstances. I made the mistake yesterday of clicking on a video on FB and the images were so shocking (adult physical cruelty to a small child) I keep re-seeing them...

Cosy Books said...

Not quite for me either, Mary. A two day binge on cake and tea would be the book for me, but cocaine - not so much.

Mary said...

This one is so not you, Darlene! But I'll join you for that cake binge! If we get a novel out of it, we'll call it The Portuguese Tart.