Richard Kramer's Reviews > The Patrick Melrose Novels

The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn
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Apr 23, 2012

really liked it
Read from March 29 to April 23, 2012

just started. will report in as situation develops. So far witty and dark. And he has the most perfect aristocratic accent I've ever heard (he has been much interviewed). His writer's voice is equally
elegant. I've read five pages, but I'm smelling a five-star horse here.

update April 23

I smelled wrong. It's four stars, and comfortably so. A technically very assured book, that made me want to imitate certain techniques, which is a very fluid, roving point of view, unique in the way it inhabits a set of individual miseries. This is a pretty joyless world on display here, already doomed and behind redemption in this first of a five book series. In the opener, NEVER MIND (I'll read the rest, too, I'm pretty sure) a little boy is raped by his father. That's the only real "event". Everyone in it is hopelessly lonely, cynical about their own loneliness, using their loneliness aggressively, as a weapon. It is a book about the deepest kind of abandonment. The boy, Patrick, who from what I gather goes on as the grown up main character of the subsequent books, separates from his authentic self on account of this rape and I, will assume, has one fuck of a time reclaiming that self. Do I even want to see the poor kid try? I heard the author interviewed several times, and I heard him say that Patrick does survive, that he finds a wholeness again, and hearing the author say that made me decide to stick with it.

I should say that Saint Aubyn is brilliantly witty, genuinely tragic in his vision, and clearly a master of the world he writes about here. I've never read anything like NEVER MIND. But I may wait for a bit before I move on to BAD NEWS.
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