Reading the 20th Century discussion

48 views
Favourite Authors > Edward St. Aubyn

Comments Showing 1-50 of 78 (78 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Edward St Aubyn has long been one of my favourite authors. He is best known for his Patrick Melrose, autobiographical novels. I think they are some of the best novels ever written. I am almost scared to watch a TV adaptation, as I love them so much.

Any other fans?

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/...

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...


message 2: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
A writer who has, so far, passed me by. Sounds intriguing though Susan.


message 3: by Susan (last edited May 11, 2018 12:22PM) (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
I have introduced St Aubyn to some reading friends over the years, Nigeyb. Some have found him too dark and depressing. Others have found him wonderful and full of, very dark, humour.

Never Mind is the very first Patrick Melrose novel.

I am not sure I ever reviewed them, as I read them before I started reviewing. Perhaps I am due a re-read. They are brilliant. I suspect they would appeal to you - not that I want to add to your huge reading list!


message 4: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5699 comments Mod
I found them a bit uneven, the first two being the best - but I loved that mix of harrowing events and dark, dark humour... a bit like Waugh, do we think?


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Oh, yes, I think so.


message 6: by Cordelia (new)

Cordelia (anne21) He is one of my favourites too. Have recently read Dunbar but didn't think it was quite as good as the others. I'm getting a bit sick of Shakespeare rewritings.


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
I think the Melrose novels are the best, but I did like "Dunbar." However, I agree about rewriting Shakespeare, Austen, etc. I think it's a useful hook for unimaginative publishers.


message 8: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I hadn't realised that the Patrick Melrose TV adaptation starts tomorrow (Sunday) on Sky Atlantic @ 9 pm and stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Guardian guide give it a good write up. If I had Sky Atlantic I'd definitely give it a watch.

Get ready for the lowdown on the British upper class. This five-part limited series based on the acclaimed novels by Edward St. Aubyn tracks Patrick from a privileged but deeply traumatic childhood in the South of France through severe substance abuse in his twenties in New York and, ultimately, toward recovery back home in Britain. At once harrowing and hilarious, Oscar® nominee and Emmy® winner Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the troubled titular character.

http://www.sho.com/patrick-melrose




message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Yes. I rarely like TV adaptations, but I may give it a watch. People never look the way you imagine them and I am not sure about condensing the trilogy. I am sure the author is very happy, though, and it may give the books a wider audience.

I discovered these through Mariella Frostrup, who picked a book for a reading group I used to belong to and choose Mother's Milk


message 10: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
You were in a reading group with Mariella Frostrup?! You kept that quiet.


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
It was an online group and Mariella Frostrup was a friend of the woman who started it, so she asked her to choose a book. She wasn't actually in the group, although she kindly introduced the book she picked. It was a good choice - I went back and read the earlier books afterwards.


message 12: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Ah. Thanks for the clarification.


Had you been on personal terms with the wonderful Ms. F, I would have marvelled at your restraint in not casually mentioning it before now.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Why? I would probably tell her off for being so anti-kindle all the time!


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
I just watched the first part of the Patrick Melrose mini-series and I was very impressed. I will admit when I am wrong, and they did a good job. It has made me want to re-read the books, which are just wonderful.


message 15: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Great news. Thanks Susan.


Benedict rarely puts a foot wrong in my experience.

I'll have to find a way to watch this.


message 16: by Nigeyb (last edited May 14, 2018 04:04AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Coincidentally Andy Miller, a co-presenter on the wonderful Backlisted Podcast, is currently reading - and loving - the entire The Patrick Melrose Novels.

He read a section out and, I must confess, he piqued my interest even more.

He then came out with this killer line, which was just an aside....

Edward St. Aubyn is like Anthony Powell written by Irvine Welsh

Woah.

Now I am completely sold.

Thanks Susan. I am not sure when I'll get round to them, but get round to them I most certainly will.

I've also read a couple of rave reviews of the TV series so will have to get my mitts on that too.


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Oh, I think you will love them, Nigeyb. They are splendid, indeed!


message 18: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I am now completely confident that you are quite correct. I look forward to posting about just how much I loved them.


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Good to hear, Nigeyb. I think they'll blow you away.


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Did anyone else watch the first part of Patrick Melrose yet?


message 21: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
If I access I'd have been "in like Flynn".


However I did watch "A Very English Scandal" last night - superb, and very faithful to the book


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Yes, it was excellent, I agree. I am sure Melrose will appear, eventually.


message 23: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I have got the first three books on order at the library though - a bit of waiting list, predictably given the adaptation

Yes, hopefully the TV show will transfer eventually. Atlanta (Sky Atlantic) has just turned up on BBC2 to my great delight.


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Yes, hopefully. My son was a bit gutted the European Final is on BT Sports - you can watch it on YouTube, but TV is certainly more complicated than it was... One thing I didn't realise until my son went off to Uni though, was that, if you have Sky, you can authorise two remote devices - so my son could watch Sky on his XBox through our account. That was useful - personally I usually only watch the news and cookery programmes though :)


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Patrick Melrose Volume 1: Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope Patrick Melrose Volume 1 Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope (Patrick Melrose Novels Vol 1) by Edward St Aubyn

Audible Deal of the Day today: Now a major Sky TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Moving from Provence to New York to Gloucestershire, from the savageries of a childhood with a cruel father and an alcoholic mother to an adulthood fraught with addiction, Patrick Melrose is on a mission to escape himself.

But the drugs don’t make him forget his past, and the glittering parties offer him no redemption....

Searingly funny and deeply humane, Patrick Melrose: The Early Years contains the first three novels in the Patrick Melrose series, Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope. Also available: Patrick Melrose The Later Years, containing the final two novels in the series, Mother’s Milk and At Last.

£2.99 and worth every penny I think.


message 26: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Edward St Aubyn has long been one of my favourite authors. He is best known for his Patrick Melrose, autobiographical novels. I think they are some of the best novels ever written..."

I've just started listening to....

Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn

The first Patrick Melrose novel:

At his mother’s family house in the south of France, Patrick Melrose has the run of a magical garden. Bravely imaginative and self-sufficient, five-year-old Patrick encounters the volatile lives of adults with care. His father, David, rules with considered cruelty, and Eleanor, his mother, has retreated into drink. They are expecting guests for dinner. But this afternoon is unlike the chain of summer days before, and the shocking events that precede the guests’ arrival tear Patrick’s world in two.

I've also got hold of recordings of the TV adaptation - but I'll read the books first




message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Ooh, look forward to hearing your thoughts, Nigeyb :)


message 28: by Nigeyb (last edited Jun 23, 2018 12:27PM) (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
It's certainly a dark, sadistic and cruel world so far Susan. Far more so than I was expecting. I was anticipating amusing debauchery so it's quite a surprise. Whilst Patrick is still only a small child, it's all about his father who is truly a piece of work.


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Yes, a lot of people stop at the first book, which is truly upsetting. Book 2 has a lot more dark humour, but the first book is essential to set the scene. The TV programme linked books 1 and 2 to help make it more accessible.


message 30: by Nigeyb (last edited Jun 24, 2018 02:21AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I can see why Susan. Some sections are truly grim and David Melrose is a sociopathic character with no redeeming features.


Beating and raping your own five year old son is certainly, ahem, pushing the boundaries.

Some sections are quite witty, and I'm going to stick with it as you suggest these aspects come more to the fore as the series develops - and more generally because of your assertion that these are some of the best novels ever written.

It is also very well observed on the upper classes and, in particular, how some people crave acceptance by that group however will never get close because they want it too much. Their palpable desperation following them around like a stale odour.


message 31: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Yes, do try to get to Book 2, which is, I think, the best. Certainly, the TV adaptation uses that far more than the first novel. However, although it is a difficult read, Patrick's father is the reason he is how he is and, understanding that relationship, underpins the whole series.


message 32: by Nigeyb (last edited Jun 24, 2018 03:39AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Thanks Susan - will do.


Never Mind really is a scathing indictment of the English upper classes. Absolutely vicious.

Whilst the sociopathic content still really jars, Edward St. Aubyn's acerbic wit has made me laugh out loud a few times and, overall makes this book very compelling.

Great writing, funny metaphors and vivid language make it all very credible.

Going forward, I'm hoping for more comedy and less horror.


message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
You are making me long for a re-read, Nigeyb...


message 34: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Thanks for inspiring me Susan, I wouldn't be reading it if you hadn't highlighted it, and is already something I'm glad to be reading.

Helpfully, I'm actually listening to it (though do have an e-book copy too) as it was an Audible deal of the day (actually the first three books were included). So I'll probably press on and read all three whilst I'm at it.


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
I might listen to this on Audible (I also picked it up as a deal of the day) after I finish the wonderful Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret which you inspired me to read :)


message 36: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I've finished Never Mind.


Review here....

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


I'm going to press straight on with the second book, Bad News.

Going forward, I'm hoping for more comedy and less horror.


message 37: by Donald (new)

Donald Whiteway | 9 comments This has sort of been on my radar, as I heard there was the television adaptation with Benedict Cumberbatch (you can't go wrong with BC. After HBO's version of Parade's End, I became obsessed with the Ford novels!!!). When I heard the author was Edward St. Aubyn they have become a must read.

A few years ago there was a fascinating profile in The New Yorker about St. Aubyn, which is my only exposure to him. I have to say it is well worth looking for.


message 38: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...

Wast it this one, Donald? I also found this, recent article:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cul...

Both very interesting and I have recently enjoyed Storyville: Reporting Trump's First Year, about the New York Times (BBC2)


message 39: by Donald (new)

Donald Whiteway | 9 comments Susan wrote: "https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...

Wast it this one, Donald? I also found this, recent article:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cul......"


Yes Susan, the 2014 article was the one I had referred to. I also read the new article, which clued me in to who St. Aubyn was: the poor chap in the earlier article.


message 40: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I had no idea these books were so autobiographical. Poor chap, indeed.


The second book is a lot lighter in tone so far, despite opening with a bereavement


message 41: by Nigeyb (last edited Jun 30, 2018 09:45AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I've now finished Bad News (Melrose #2) and, again, I was left feeling slightly disappointed.


As I say in my review, perhaps I have already read too many drug-fuelled books?

It's enjoyable enough but, for those looking for similarly vicarious junkie kicks, I'd prioritise Trainspotting, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Wonderland Avenue: Tales of Glamour and Excess, to name but three.

Click here to read my review

3/5


message 42: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5699 comments Mod
I have to say that while I enjoyed the five Melrose books, I wasn't as bowled over as many friends told me I'd be: this one, Bad News, was my favourite.

There is a hilarious dinner party featuring Princess Margaret in one of the later books but I can't remember which one - they sort of merged in my mind.


message 43: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I'd like to read about that dinner party RC, especially having recently read Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret. Sounds fab. Thanks. I wonder if it made it into the TV adaptation. Anyone know?


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
I have stalled on the TV adaptation I am afraid - not sure why I can never watch more than one episode of anything! I do remember the dinner party, but I loved every book unconditionally.


message 45: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5699 comments Mod
I just checked back over my reviews and the dinner party with the gloriously obnoxious Princess Margaret is in book 3, Some Hope: here's my somewhat qualified review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/2294575621


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Great review, as always, RC.


message 47: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn is my next real world book group choice


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Ah, well at least you have read it. The second book is the best, in my opinion, but I must admit to having loved them all - even though the first is hard to read in parts. I also just love the name Edward St Aubyn...


message 49: by Nigeyb (last edited Nov 21, 2018 09:11AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Nigeyb wrote: "Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn is my next real world book group choice"

Susan wrote: "Ah, well at least you have read it. The second book is the best, in my opinion, but I must admit to having loved them all - even though the first is hard to read in parts."

Very true Susan

I have actually decided to give the third novel a go, so I am underway with Some Hope and, I must admit, so far I am very impressed. It really seems to be coming together.

It's eight years since Patrick Melrose's father died and Patrick, and his best pal Johnny, are now both recovering addicts. I've already chuckled a few times and have a feeling I might enjoy this one more than the previous two books.




message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10655 comments Mod
Good to hear, Nigeyb :)


« previous 1
back to top