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Patrick Melrose: The Novels (The Patrick Melrose Novels) Paperback – May 8, 2018
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“Like Waugh, St. Aubyn writes with exquisite control and a brilliant comic touch…Patrick often seems like a Philip Roth hero transplanted into a world of English privilege…The Patrick Melrose Series forms an exhaustive study of cruelty: its varieties, its motivations, its consequences, its moral implications…At Last is an intelligent and surprising novel, a fitting conclusion to the one of the best fictional cycles in contemporary fiction.” ―The Boston Globe
“Implausibly brilliant speech…The striking gap between, on the one hand, the elegant polish of the narration, the silver rustle of these exquisite sentences, the poised narrowness of the social satire and, on the other hand, the screaming pain of the family violence inflicted on Patrick makes these books some of the strangest of contemporary novels …This prose, whose repressed English control is admired by everyone from Alan Hollinghurst to Will Self, is drawn inexorably back to a fearful instability, to the nakedness of infancy.” ―James Wood, The New Yorker
“Gorgeous, golden prose…St. Aubyn is utterly fearless when faced with the task of unpacking and anatomizing the inner lives of characters. No emotion is so subtle and fleeting he can't convey it, or so terrifying or shameful that he can't face it.” ―Lev Grossman, Time
“Parental death, heroin, childhood rape, emotional frigidity, suicide, alcoholism…nothing about the plots can prepare you for the rich, acerbic comedy of St. Aubyn's world---or more surprising---its philosophical density.” ―Zadie Smith, Harper's Magazine
“I read the five Patrick Melrose novels in five days. When I finished, I read them again.” ―Ann Patchett, The Guardian
“Extraordinary…acidic humor, stiletto-sharp.” ―Francine Prose
“Intoxicatingly witty.” ―The New York Review of Books
“Why did it take me so long to fall in love with the brilliant novels of Edward St. Aubyn?” ―Brett Easton Ellis
“The most brilliant English novelist of his generation.” ―Alan Hollinghurst
“Our purest living prose stylist.” ―The Guardian (London)
“A smoldering portrait of a class largely banished from fiction.” ―James Lasdun
“Exquisitely harrowing entertainment.” ―Sam Lipsyte
“A spectacularly toxic confection.” ―The Village Voice
“Dialogue as amusing as Waugh's and narrative even more deft than Graham Greene's.” ―Edmund White
“A staggeringly good prose stylist.” ―The Times (London)
“One of the preeminent writers of his generation.” ―Will Self
“Perversely funny.” ―People
About the Author
- Publisher : Picador; Media tie-in edition (May 8, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 880 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250305667
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250305664
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.72 x 1.64 x 8.19 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #432,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I struggle to rate this series because there were so many good things about this series, I loved Patrick's sarcasm and his humor and I loved the philosophy and the depth so much of this was written in. This captured so much about humanity and life. It was lovely. At the same time this also had a lot of parts I felt dragged a bit for me and so many characters that were terribly shallow that I didn't care for. This was a definitely an above average read for me but I also can't say it is a personal favorite.
The summaries of the books are as follows:
NEVERMIND: This is the first book in the series and takes place when Patrick is 5 years old. We first meet his father and mother before we meet the carefree Patrick who is playing by the well. We quickly see that his father is cruel and abusive and his mother is completely uninvolved as she too is victimized by Patrick's father.
This was a really good introduction to Patrick's childhood and the people that surrounded him. Mostly toxic people, the books introduced several couples. The most confusing thing about this is that they didn't always tell me who these people were in relation to the Melrose family until later on. It sometimes felt they were on a tangent and I didn't know where it was headed. Overall a really good start to the series.
BADNEWS: We meet back up with Patrick when he is in his early twenties, just after he has discovered his father has died. He travels to the states in a herione induced stupor to retrieve his father's body. Patrick seems okay with his father's death because he had the abused that was inflicted upon him during his childhood.
This was the first episode in the showtime series and the one we have been seeing the most promos for. This made us realize early on the damage that was done to an innocent child as Patrick tries to self medicate by popping pills and shooting up cocaine and heroine. This was the most entertaining of the stories and my favorite one of the bunch.
SOME HOPE: We meet Patrick again in his thirties, as a recovering drug addict who is still trying to find alternate ways to heal from his past. This story takes us to a social gathering with other English high society members.
This story went deeper into some of the dynamics of the English high society and we start to see patterns emerge that are common conduct to others in this realm.
MOTHER'S MILK: This time we are introduced to the story by Robert, Patrick's son. He is an articulate and observant child who delves in to what I mean to be connected to a mother. This becomes a sort of philosophy all it own and we see where Patrick falls on this continum. Patrick, never having had a strong bond with his mother, feels both the pull of his wife to his children and his desire to be a good father and offer them the things he never had. His relationship with his wife is strained by this especially by the second son, Thomas who forms a closers bond.
This is the longest book of the series, and while it is important to see who Patrick is in relation to his mother, it was tedious read as there was so many details I felt had been brushed over before.
AT LAST: Patrick is now in his late thirties and is attending a funeral. This was a suitable wrap up for the series as we get to re-meet many people we have already met in previous stories.
While I enjoyed this addition it was some more review to things we had touched upon before.
Top reviews from other countries
Offsetting the disturbing events, especially in the first two books, is St. Aubyn's prose which is stylish and stylised, cutting and caustic, a way of holding emotions at bay and yet capturing them between the lines on the page. Dark, for sure, but also rich, sophisticated and, in places, deadly cuttingly funny.
(The paperback which contains all 5 novels is a bit cumbersome to carry around, maybe best on the Kindle)