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Bad News (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #2)
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Bad News (The Patrick Melrose Novels #2)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,210 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Set among the vertiginous contrasts of luxury and squalor which characterize New York City, this second volume of a trilogy is a harrowing but often funny portrait of obsessive drug use. It is the sequel to Never Mind, which won a Betty Trask Award.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 18th 1997 by Minerva (first published January 1st 1992)
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Jan 25, 2013 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread.

Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Psalm 53.


I cannot be the only reader of Bad News who by page 20 had already cast the gold-medallist of supercilious contempt Richard E Grant of Withnail and I

as Patrick Melrose, the ghastly rich 22 year old English junkie. As soon as young Melrose stares into the room, his eyes like slits, his pallor
That was one hell of a celebration, Patrick.
This spree of alcohol and drug-fueled self-loathing drags the reader along in a juddering skid through his familiar gutters.
The density of the metaphors is outdone only by the recklessness of the drug use. Both were magnificent.
This is book two in a series and it is not as appealing as book one although it is just as well written and occasionally quite funny. The main character, Patrick Melrose has grown up to be a serious drug addict and much of the book is about his addiction in great detail. I know a lot more about drug taking now than I have ever needed or wanted to know. However it is obviously just a stage in Patrick's life and I expect we will see him as a recovered addict in the next book. I plan on starting it ...more
Alex Sarll
I was only cautiously enthusiastic about the first Patrick Melrose novel - but with the second, I begin to see what St Aubyn is up to. Previously, we met Patrick as a shy, tormented five-year-old; now he's 22 and, not to put too fine a point on it, a total wanker - a selfish, self-pitying specimen, constantly taking one drug to balance out the other drug of which he just took too much while trying to take the edge off...and so forth. Which means that an awful lot of this book features St Aubyn's ...more
Cleanly plotted – Patrick’s gotta get fucked up to enact a disgusting obligation, and get even more fucked up to come down from the performance – but the first half, at least, is slight, or outright boring. The addled Nighttown-ish voices? Please, I whispered, stop. Maybe I let Amis’ Money overcast my reading. Some good bits, a really strong finish in which you see Patrick coming into his own as a disdainful asshole, and overall not so weak as to put me off the series.
From the first Patrick Melrose novel, Never Mind, it was overwhelmingly evident that poor abused Patrick was not going to have a happy life. ‘Bad News’ confirms this with a vengeance. It takes the reader to 1982 and follows Patrick to New York, where he picks up his father’s ashes and goes on a drug binge that he is lucky to survive. Between doses of coke, smack, etc, Patrick attempts small talk with miscellaneous family friends and acquaintances. These interactions are the best part of the book ...more
Well, nuts. I practically lit “Bad News,” the second book of Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series off of the first super innovative, funny, dark, mind-blowing first novel of the series and meh. It turned out be a dud follow up to a book that made me shoot exclamation points from my pores.

In the first book, Patrick Melrose is a 5-year-old daredevil with the first assholic buds forming in his personality. “Never Mind” is a day in the life of his parents, their friends and the kid and the stor
After reading Never Mind a few books ago, I wanted to take a break before beginning Bad News. I loved St. Aubyn's style, wit, and jumps from each character POV though this collection is relatively autobiographical. While Bad News was overripe in some parts and missing aspects I had previously enjoyed in it's predecessor, I still found it very worthwhile and important to the growth of the overall story.

Patrick is 22 now, and arriving in New York City to pick up his Father's ashes. He's a full bl
After being totally enthralled with NEVER MIND, Edward St. Aubyn's first book in THE PETER MELROSE NOVELS, I was underwhelmed with BAD NEWS, Book #2. That's not to say that the writing was any less lyrical or impressive, rather the story about Peter learning of his father's death and traveling to New York to pick up his ashes is one in which I was underwhelmed. Nearly the entirety of the book was trying to figure out Peter's state of lucidity as he binged on alcohol and drugs. Understandably, Pe ...more
The Keith Richards of Upper Class Literature

I avoided reading Edward St Aubyn, despite the many good reviews, because the fabulously wealthy hardly need or deserve any more assistance. And we will always be, at best, 'funny little people' to these superior-despite-being-rubbish-at what-little-work-they-do, cold, servant-abusing, professional heirs - take Emma Soames' morbidly obese, Tory git brother Nicholas Soames MP who persisted in referring to the aspiring socially Martin Amis as a 'scribble
Sam Pryce
One of the best and funniest books I've read recently, and a far superior sequel to its predecessor, 'Never Mind'. We find Patrick in New York, shooting up and snorting, eager to pick up his tyrannical father's ashes. Over the course of a couple of days, Patrick goes deliciously bonkers, filling himself with lavish dinners and copious drugs in a Withnail-esque binge. St Aubyn's prose style is wickedly addictive and occasionally stomach-churning, but always, always hilarious. I want to follow Pat ...more
Bad News is well-written, but it lacks the millefeuille layers of Never Mind. The abuse memoir is often a hackneyed and unintelligent sort of book, so perhaps the first Patrick Melrose book is even more startling for being a very clever example of it.

I was disappointed not to find similar intricacy and structure here - though the narrative form arguably reflects Patrick's self-absorption. The literary junkie-novel already has a grubbily illustrious history; I felt that St Aubyn's interiority, v
Mark Ellis
Second in the Melrose series. Not as enjoyable as the first although again beautifully written and funny. The now grown up hero visits 1980s New York to recover his dead father's ashes and spends pretty much all of his time looking for or consuming a variety of drugs. There's only so much I can read about people shooting up. Disappointing but will certainly continue with the series.
The second of Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels, "Bad News" is a harrowing read as Patrick, now in his early twenties, flies to New York to claim his abusive father's ashes and spends 24 hours careering from one drug-addicted episode to another. Aubyn's depiction of heroin-addled Patrick and what he endures for a fix makes for hard reading at times, but his use of language is so sharp and crisp, and the control he exhibits in conveying Patrick's changing states of mind is exciting. Parti ...more
This is the second of the Patrick Melrose series, the fifth of which has recently been published. I thought the first was very good and showed a great deal of promise for the series, which follows the life of the title character.

This book was a disappointment. Patrick, a 5-year old in the first novel, is now in his early '20's and travels to New York to arrange for the cremation of his father, who has just died. Unfortunately, the book is, essentially, one long, unpleasant tour through Patrick's
Tiffany Reisz
Dazzling. I've never enjoyed a drug addiction novel so much. Takes real talent to make such an unremittingly grim subject so fun to read about. Patrick's descent into drug-induced psychosis is one of the more impressive displays of writing bravado I've ever read.
Michele Weiner
Part two of the Patrick Melrose novels. Patrick is 22 years old and a hopeless drug addict. This entire book takes place during a quick visit to New York City, where Patrick is collecting the body of his father, who died on a trip to the US. Patrick is both attracted to and repelled by his father, and embarrasses himself repeatedly as he attempts to maintain some sort of appropriate contact with the world his father inhabited. Another difficult read, as Patrick is close to death most of the time ...more
A crashing disappointment, especially after the marvelous first volume.

This book stands as vivid proof that drug addiction is one of the most lethally tedious subjects in the world (along with writer's block). St. Aubyn has talent to burn, yet even he can't make drug use even remotely interesting.

Young man survives horrific childhood and, unsurprisingly, turns to drugs as a form of self-medication. Man spends what feels like 200 percent of book thinking about drugs, trying to get drugs, using dr
Lucy VanPelt
Benché pubblicato, come tutti gli altri romanzi del ciclo, in volume singolo, questo è il secondo tomo della saga dei Melrose, e come tale è indispensabile leggerlo. In caso contrario la devastazione psichica e fisica del protagonista, e l'odio senza attenuanti nei confronti del padre, anche dopo morto, risultano incomprensibili.
Si può invece bellamente ignorare che trattasi di romanzo (o se si vuole, romanzi) largamente autobiografici, anche se il dubbio a chi lo ignorasse viene di certo, alme
Fohn Jorte
What a tedious second installment in this series. A boring, megalomaniac wandering around throwing his excessive amounts of money around, treating the women in his life like garbage, doing various drugs etc., and ad nauseam. If St. Aubyn set out to make the Patrick character in his novel as detestable as his father in the last book in the series then he definitely succeeded; the 22 year old Patrick is dull, melodramatic, callous, and lacking in any sort of ability to explore his true emotions or ...more
Bad news, indeed, to find that the second installment of Patrick Melrose offers absolutely none of the irresistible yet repellent charms of the original. Gone is the elegant writing and the sharp, patrician wit, along with all pretense at narrative. Instead, we are presented with the 22 year old Patrick in the throes of a wicked drug addiction, which he indulges relentlessly over the course of 240 tedious pages. Addicts, their cups running over with Raw Pain, exceed their self-absorption only in ...more
If anything was needed to put you off drug taking this is it. Lovely observations: "Of course it was wrong to want to change people, but what else could you possibly want to do with them?" and the lose lose situation when love is like a ball in an anguished tennis match, but here the anti-hero refuses to engage "Debbie had once screamed at him in the middle of an argument, 'Do you know what love is, Patrick? Do you have the faintest idea?' And he'd said wearily, 'How many guesses do I get?'"
The second of five Patrick Melrose novels from Edward St. Aubyn. It's dark dark dark, and a represents a rough chapter for poor Patrick, now a flat-out junkie. The disturbing detail involved in writing the needle/vein scenes requires no biographical corollary to know that St. Aubyn has been through this himself. I read the rest of the series consecutively, and the books get better and better thru to the end. Incredible writer, bitterly, hilariously satirical yet grounded and deep on character.
Phew! Just got to the end of this harrowing tale. The second in the Patrick Melrose series, our hero (or rather our anti-hero) is in his early 20s and spends a few days in New York where he is required to pick up his father's ashes to return them to England.

At this age, Patrick is a heroin addict and spends most of his time in NY either buying drugs, shooting up, feeling blissful, or feeling confused, delusional and desperate. St Aubyn paints such a detailed picture of the life of a junkie that
Christopher Roth
I would have a higher opinion of this book if people didn't persist in comparing Edward St. Aubyn to Evelyn Waugh in every book review and back-cover blurb. Sure, St. Aubyn writes mainly about wealthy English people and he has a dark sense of humor and a lovely, effortless prose style, but his prose style isn't nearly Waughian in its quality, and unlike Waugh's these books are too self-involved to have any social satire in them. Maybe I'm being unfair: after all, the book is about a few days in ...more
Didn't like it as much as the first Patrick Melrose novel, Never Mind, but in this one, St. Aubyn gives Irvine Welsh a solid run for his money when it comes to writing about taking drugs. There is no one particularly likeable in this story until maybe end (depends on the reader's generosity, really), but it was worth it to come across sentences like this:

"Marianne sailed towards him across the dim drawing room, its floorboards creaking underfoot, and her body tipped forward at a dangerous angle
Having learned to like the main character, Patrick, in the first book ("Never Mind,") I was dismayed in this book that he treated himself so very badly and made such horrible decisions...yet I still rooted for him. It was one of those books that is painful to read yet un-put-down-able. I am looking forward to the next two in the series. I feel like I've left Patrick in a bad place.
Perhaps the best thing about the Patrick Melrose novels is I get credit for 2 books (so far) but they only add up to 297 pages. Watch out Steve and Elaine - I am coming after you! Patrick is now 22 and gone to New York City to cremate his awful father. Patrick appears to be less vicious than his father, but completely depraved and narcissistic. Most of the book is him running around NYC trying to score some drugs, and although lyrical, the endless descriptions of shooting up drugs got old. I had ...more
Sandy Wood
I'm not sure why I forged on to book 2 after hating book 1. I suppose it is because I think the author is really talented and maybe a different plot could bring me into the fold. Unfortunately, I still hated it as book 2 focused on confused emotions and impressions of Patrick as a full blown Heroin and Coke addict. Horrible people and themes can't be salvaged by good writing for me!

The books are just short enough and my copy contains all three in a trilogy that I'll probably drudge through book
Chris Gager
Everything you might want to know about a rage-and-confusion fuelled odyssey through NYC by a wealthy 22 year-old English drug addict. Very well written of course but I suppose some are turned off by the "content". More extended review under "The Patrick Melrose Novels".
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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
More about Edward St. Aubyn...

Other Books in the Series

The Patrick Melrose Novels (5 books)
  • Never Mind (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #1)
  • Some Hope (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #3)
  • Mother's Milk
  • At Last
The Patrick Melrose Novels Never Mind (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #1) Mother's Milk At Last Lost for Words

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