The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn
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The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels

(Patrick Melrose #1-5)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,830 ratings  ·  237 reviews

For the first time, all five books in the Patrick Melrose series are collected in a single edition:






Acclaimed for their searing wit and their deep humanity, this magnificent cycle of novels - in which Patrick Melrose battles to survive the savageries of his chil

Kindle Edition, 880 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Picador
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 ·  1,830 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stela-eða-láni
Laughter would be bereaved if snobbery died.
Peter Ustinov

This pentalogy of semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St. Aubyn, published between 1992 and 2011, subtly shames modern British aristocracy and ultimately devastates, in a manner only possible from one of its own. The collection examines the enduring damage from child rape/abuse, including, typically, a lifelong problem with substance abuse and addiction.

A short synopsis of each of the 5 novels herein (in order of publication):

Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Each of these novels is like a high-end entrée: exquisite and varied in flavor, yet unable on its own to satisfy the appetite. But together they provide complete satiation and not a hint of surfeit. St. Aubyn's sharp and justly-lauded prose is addicting; he manages to craft a story of the leading man least-deserving of your sympathy into something not only bleak and funny but oddly moving and genuine. One of the most enjoyable experiences I've had since reading Proust, who receives his fair shar ...more
Lee Klein
An unprecedented reading experience: 5-4-3-2-1. A tetralogy descending from audacious LOL greatness to who cares I think I'm gonna skim it. Of course I've read novels that started really strong and fizzled but never have they fizzled so evenly, their fizzle delineated by individually published volumes collected for the first time in a beautiful paperback with deckled edges and French flaps. The fizzle in my reading pleasure/engagement/interest I suppose matches the Melrose family's financial dec ...more
The miniseries with Benedict Cumberbatch > the books

1. Never mind: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
2. Bad news: ⭐⭐⭐
3. Some hope: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
4. Mother's milk: ⭐⭐
5. At last: ⭐⭐⭐

⭐⭐⭐.5 stars
0.5 because Patrick Melrose is one of my favourite characters ever and his growth brings tears to my eyes.
May 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
I select books to read in a lot of different ways. Sometimes, I read a review that intrigues me; other times, from a friend's recommendation; occasionally, it's for the simply expedient reason that the book was on sale and looked interesting.

I have no idea why I selected this book. Even after going back to read reviews, some of which were complimentary.

This is actually a compilation of 5 shorter books, and if you have 27 hours of your life you care nothing about, devote them to the audio rendi
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whoa and wow. I really enjoyed this - and having all five books collected together is probably what made this a 5-star experience. The writing is fantastic - St Aubyn can put words together so well (the only downside to reading with my ears is that I have ZERO examples to share). And I really came to care about - and love - the cast of characters. Even Patrick (but not his father, I'm still undecided about his mother and Robert might be my favorite).

I decided to read the books when I read that
Robert Lukins
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Really one of the great novel series; so acidic, concentrated, empathetic; not a word out of place.
❤Marie Gentilcore
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, audiobook, 2018
This collection contains all five Patrick Melrose novels. The first book in the series is “Never Mind”, and I just about gave up on it during chapter 2 because these characters are awful people especially patriarch David Melrose and even five-year old Patrick. But, I am glad I stuck it out because the writing is witty and clever and these unlikable characters are interesting.

The second book is “Bad News.” HBO filmed a 5-part Patrick Melrose series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and this is where
“He sometimes had to remind himself that he wasn't an infant any more, to argue that there were real children in the house, not yet horror-trained; he sometimes had to give himself a good talking-to. Nevertheless, he waited in vain for the maturing effects of parenthood. Being surrounded by children only brought him closer to his own childishness. He felt like a man who dreads leaving harbour, knowing that under the deck of his impressive yacht there is only a dirty little twin-stroke engine: fe ...more
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read these a year or two ago and never marked them as such on GR. The third and fourth novels never quite had the emotional gut punch of the first two for me, but as an overall project and experience of reading I can't recommend these strong enough. The second novel especially, which takes in NYC, is equal parts emotionally harrowing and laugh out loud funny. Aubyn manages to expertly combine horribly emotional life events with searing wit and unbelievable honesty. I honestly am still impressed ...more
Snow White
Interesting epos about the consequences of having a psychopath as a parent, and at the same time a razor-sharp dissection of the English upper class. The 5 books St Aubyn wrote on the topic were bundled in this omnibus and this format fits them very well, since every book portrays a different chapter in the main character's life and healing process.

Sometimes funny, often harrowing, but it is cynicism in which St Aubyn shows his true mastery, to a point where I almost felt these books were like
Teri Reck
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read--very, very cerebral, in some ways too much so. Sometimes I wanted to shout, Stop thinking so much and just live! At first, I thought that it was very male, but then there was a female character trying to be the perfect mother whose thoughts and feelings were spot on. In some ways, depressing, but in others, not so much, as people seem to carry on despite adversity and even some willful self destruction. Lots of self analysis as characters try to come to grips with everything ...more
Never Mind: 2.5 ⭐
Bad News: 3.5 ⭐
Some Hope: 3.75 ⭐
Mother’s Milk: 2.5 ⭐
At Last: 2.5 ⭐
Alexis Hall
This is five books, by the way. FIVE. Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk, At Last. And they are so magnificently awful that I actually took a break from reading altogether after I finished the fifth one.

So: Edward St Aubyn is a rich-ish, upper-class English bloke whose father raped him when he was five-years-old. His fictional alter-ego, Patrick Melrose, shares this history and the five novels cover Patrick’s life from the time of his father’s abuse to the death of his mother. What p
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Move Over, Evelyn Waugh

In the first half of the 20th century, an English writer called Evelyn Waugh simultaneously predicted and chronicled the demise of elite British society in novels such as Decline and Fall, A Handful of Dust, and Brideshead Revisited. With his Patrick Melrose novels, Edward St Aubyn proves himself to be Waugh’s spiritual and literary offspring. All five books interlock seamlessly with the ones that surround them; all function better as one longer book than as stand-alone st
Kevan Dale
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a tremendous reading experience, thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Edward St. Aubyn created one of the most fascinating characters I've ever encountered in Patrick Melrose (and one of the all time great villains in his father David Melrose), and the emotional journey he takes him on is piercingly insightful, tragic, hilarious, and finally redemptive.

What could he do but become a machine for turning terror into contempt? How could he relax his guard when beams of neurotic energy, l
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
These books are brilliant. And I don’t use that word very often. By turns bitingly funny yet heartbreaking and poignant, Patrick Melrose’s story is told in gorgeous prose. The writing is flawless. It’s rare to find books that are this profound and well-written. I understand that they are autobiographical, and it shows. No one could have written an account of childhood trauma and drug addiction that is this telling and profound without having experienced it firsthand. Patrick is certainly a flawe ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Mean people being horrible to each other. Perhaps one book at a time every couple years would be tolerable, but all in one piece it becomes tiresome. I read about half and got fed up.
Eric Sutton
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay. I'll try my best to deduce this five-part tale of privilege, aristocracy, and debauchery. Patrick Melrose features as our primary character, but the stories are of his world: the abuse, fall from grace, grapples with money and lineage, attempts at redemption. It is a story of the collapse of the moneyed class, mostly due to their own hubris, but also because of changes they are unwilling to accept. Ugliness ensues when clinging to a life that's passed us by.

Never Mind: The first book in th
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a ride!
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely fabulous. One of the top ten books I've ever read. Or maybe top 20 in my life. He gets under the skin of these very troubling characters in phenomenal ways. ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: some-favorites
5-star books leave me inarticulate, so I'll just say this book is everything. ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Gorgeous. Tragic. Exhilarating. Five of the best books I've ever read. ...more
Malcolm Watson
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A long and, for me, a difficult read. I found it had too much detail and was confusing by jumping backwards and forwards. However, I felt at the end I knew Patrick well.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved this book at times and at times was bored out of my mind. The writing was a bit too long winded for me but the dialogue was well written and the story and characters very interesting.
Cindy Knoke
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Powerful, brilliant, devastating and funny. St. Aubyn is superbly talented.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
St Aubyn's narrative cycle of pain, based upon his own life as an aristo spawn in modern Britain and environs (France, New York), provides much beauty even as the flawless prose digs deep into the vile psychology and behaviors of the landed gentry. I raced to finish before the televised version starring Benedict Cumberbatch (a satirical name worthy of the book), and the combined experience has been deeply disturbing and infinitely enjoyable. Young Patrick is raped by his father and ignored by hi ...more
Mason Jones
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to a friend's recommendation, I got the Kindle version of this set, and read most of it while traveling in the U.K. -- which is particularly apt, as the core of these books involves upper-crust British families with fading fortunes. From childhood to adulthood, these books follow Patrick Melrose and various family members and "friends" of a sort, and we read everything from abuse by his spectacularly misanthropic father to his drug and alcohol abuse, having children of his own, and coming ...more
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s 2020 and the world is a giant dumpster fire, and things are wrong in all-capital-letter-headlines sorts of ways. So I’m surprised that right now, I loved reading all 700+ pages of these novels with their more subdued desperation, their quieter suffering over the course of generations, their smaller revelations. These novels are what Zadie Smith might have thought about, wryly, when she set about to write a proper scene of British drunkenness in The Autograph Man. But they are no less touchi ...more
Graham Brown
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A profoundly moving and acerbically witty portrayal of the effect that childhood abuse has on a man as he ages through adulthood.

The book chronicles significant chapters of the main character’s, Patrick Melrose, life from childhood (during which the abuse occurs) all the way to his redemption from his guilt laden self-loathing as a middle-aged father of two.

It also heavily features members of the British upper class, showcasing them in a not-so bright light, which results in hilarious and sad e
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Edward St Aubyn was born in London in 1960. He was educated at Westminster school and Keble college, Oxford University. He is the author of six novels, the most recent of which, ‘Mother’s Milk’, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, won the 2007 Prix Femina Etranger and won the 2007 South Bank Show award on literature.

His first novel, ‘Never Mind’ (1992) won the Betty Trask award. This no

Other books in the series

Patrick Melrose (5 books)
  • Never Mind
  • Bad News (Patrick Melrose, #2)
  • Some Hope
  • Mother's Milk
  • At Last

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“Sometimes, when he was lying in bed, a single word like ‘fear’ or ‘infinity’ flicked the roof off the house and sucked him into the night, past the stars that had been bent into bears and ploughs, and into a pure darkness where everything was annihilated except the feeling of annihilation. As the little capsule of his intelligence disintegrated, he went on feeling its burning edges, its fragmenting hull, and when the capsule flew apart he was the bits flying apart, and when the bits turned into atoms he was the flying apart itself, growing stronger instead of fading, like an evil energy defying the running out of everything and feeding on waste, and soon enough the whole of space was a waste-fuelled rush and there was no place in it for a human mind; but there he was, still feeling.” 8 likes
“I was thinking that a life is just the history of what we give our attention to,’ said Patrick. ‘The rest is packaging.” 7 likes
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