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Bad News (The Patrick Melrose Novels #2)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,814 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
In Bad News, the second installment in Edward St. Aubyn’s wonderful, wry and profound series, The Patrick Melrose Cycle, Patrick, now in his twenties, is traveling to New York to collect the ashes of his recently deceased father. Deep in the grasp of a crippling drug addiction, he spends most of his time searching for a fix, alternately suffering from withdrawals, hallucin ...more
ebook, 184 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Picador (first published January 1st 1992)
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Paul Bryant
Jan 25, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 17, 2015 Helle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(3.5 stars) Edward St Aubyn is a really clever man. He has managed to write a novel whose protagonist is a selfish, tragic, upper-class drug addict and whose content I disliked throughout nearly the entire book. Yet, I am helplessly drawn to this series about Patrick Melrose because St Aubyn just writes so damn well:

The four Valiums he had stolen from Kay had helped him face breakfast, but now he could feel the onset of withdrawal, like a litter of drowning kittens in the sack of his stomach.

Jan 21, 2016 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, favorites
Lovely, lovely writing...

St. Aubyn's main character, Patrick Melrose, is almost impossible to like, and yet his humour and cynicism are too infectious, too enlightening to be off-putting in the end. The first Melrose novel dealt with issues that were simply too horrible. This book, on the other hand, is written in the shade of the first. It is all extremely reminiscent of Restoration theatre, and even more so of John Wilmont, the earl of Rochester. Wilmont's unflinching, unapologetic libertinis
Jun 08, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, british
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.
Feb 28, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Mar 26, 2012 Lori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
("Страх и ненависть в Лас-Вегасе", только без Джонни Деппа.)
Патрик Мелроуз с пакетиком с прахом своего мерзкого отца наперевес пробует разные наркотики в Нью-Йорке.
Очень скучный и однообразный сюжет, но читается, как ни странно, легко.
Feb 20, 2013 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bagatelle, ficciones
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.

It doesn't have the 'not quite of this world' nightmare fairytale feel of the first book. And, perhaps inevitably given that it is narrated (almost) entirely from the point of view of Patrick Melrose, who is no longer the five year old to whom bad things happen, but a fairly insufferable self-absorbed heroin addict, it does feel very insular by comparison.

And I think I've read enough novels about drug addiction. There were moments, such as the fugue-dream-nightmares Patrick experiences that
Jan 06, 2013 christa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the first book in this series (which I read three years ago?) this was beautiful and funny but also vaguely nauseating. If Never Mind was about the dissipation of Patrick's parents, Bad News is an ode to a (celebratory? mournful? there was nothing better to do?) three day heroin binge on the eve of his father's death. A friend of mine once described Aubyn's writing as very "self-conscious," and part of the book's appeal is how thoughtfully its words are chosen (once he describes heroin as " ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Brett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You know what's more boring to someone than telling them about your dreams? Telling a recovered addict about the details of one of your binges. OK I get it - St Aubyn either was one or knows one - it was pretty decent detail though you can never really write down all the shit going on in someone's head who's shooting for the line just short of OD but It's as good as I've seen...but still, where was the clever Britcasm of the first least it was short. On to the next one. And again, ret ...more
Spencer Keasey
Mar 05, 2016 Spencer Keasey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most difficult book I could possibly read right now with just 5 months away from the needle. That said, I am also trying to write about the same subject, and while my demons tend to want to tear everything I put down as some form of melodrama, reading Bad News became a form of comfort. No, I am not alone. Yes, an entire book can be about addiction. And then there are the father issues....Oy. This man can write and can make me connect in the strangest, the most unlikely, and in downright hide ...more
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
Christopher Roth
Apr 29, 2014 Christopher Roth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 12, 2015 Sam Pryce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Joyce
Bad News has strong similarities with the weaker novels of Brett Easton Ellis, in that it's a studiedly unpleasant, occasionally very funny but ultimately monotonous and forgetable depiction of a drug addicted misanthrope. For the same reason there are also parallels with Irvine Welsh, except St Aubyn's smackhead is a self-pitying English aristocrat rather than a violent Scottish sociopath. Irvine Welsh and Brett Easton Ellis are both perfectly decent authors that I've enjoyed reading, so that's ...more
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.
Jul 15, 2012 Momo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2013 Don rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 21, 2014 Tiffany Reisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 26, 2016 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laden with despicable characters, every one of them. And yet, I still like the series. Heard more about shooting up drugs and the thought process/rationalizations of a drug addict then expected. Then again, I knew a minimal amount about the story line prior to beginning. A little bit addicting.
Michele Weiner
Dec 29, 2012 Michele Weiner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2014 Claudia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2014 Lucy VanPelt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, e-book
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
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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 (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #4)
  • At Last (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #5)

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“Surely: the adverb of a man without an argument.” 16 likes
“Try as one might to live on the edge, thought Patrick, getting into the other lift, there was no point in competing with people who believed what they saw on television.” 5 likes
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