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The Patrick Melrose Novels
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mother's Milk is the fourth of Edward St Aubyn's semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, adapted for TV for Sky Atlantic and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as aristocratic addict, Patrick.
The once illustrious, once wealthy Melroses are in peril. Caught up in the wreckage of broken promises, child-rearing, adultery and assisted suicide, Patrick finds his wife Mary consumed by motherhood, his mother in thrall to a New Age foundation, and his young son Robert understanding far more than he should. But even as the family struggles against the pull of its ever-present past, a new generation brings a new tenderness, and the possibility of change.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`The wit of Wilde, the lightness of Wodehouse and the waspishness of Waugh. A joy' Zadie Smith, Harpers `The main joy of a St Aubyn novel is the exquisite clarity of his prose, the almost uncanny sense he gives that, in language as in mathematical formulae, precision and beauty invariably point to truth . . . Characters in St Aubyn novels are hyper-articulate, and the witty dialogue is here, as ever, one of the chief joys' Suzi Feay, Financial Times `A humane meditation on lives blighted by the sins of the previous generation. St Aubyn remains among the cream of British novelists' Sunday Times 'Irony courses through these pages like adrenaline . . . Patrick's intelligence processes his predicaments into elegant, lucid, dispassionate, near-aphoristic formulations . . . Brimming with witty flair, sardonic perceptiveness and literary finesse' Peter Kemp, Sunday Times `A masterpiece. Edward St Aubyn is a writer of immense gifts' Patrick McGrath `St Aubyn conveys the chaos of emotion, the confusion of heightened sensation, and the daunting contradictions of intellectual endeavour with a force and subtlety that have an exhilarating, almost therapeutic effect' Francis Wyndham, New York Review of Books `The Patrick Melrose novels can be read as the navigational charts of a mariner desperate not to end up in the wretched harbor from which he embarked on a voyage that has led in and out of heroin addiction, alcoholism, marital infidelity and a range of behaviors for which the term `self-destructive' is the mildest of euphemisms. Some of the most perceptive, elegantly written and hilarious novels of our era. . . Remarkable' Francine Prose, New York Times `His prose has an easy charm that masks a ferocious, searching intellect. As a sketcher of character, his wit - whether turned against pointless members of the aristocracy or hopeless crack dealers - is ticklingly wicked. As an analyser of broken minds and tired hearts he is as energetic, careful and creative as the perfect shrink. And when it comes to spinning a good yarn, whether over the grand scale or within a single page of anecdote, he has a natural talent for keeping you on the edge of your seat' Melissa Katsoulis, The Times `St Aubyn puts an entire family under a microscope, laying bare all its painful, unavoidable complexities. At once epic and intimate, appalling and comic, the novels are masterpieces, each and every one' Maggie O'Farrell `Perhaps the most brilliant English novelist of his generation' Alan Hollinghurst `Wonderful caustic wit . . . Perhaps the very sprightliness of the prose - its lapidary concision and moral certitude - represents the cure for which the characters yearn. So much good writing is in itself a form of health' Edmund White, Guardian `I've loved Edward St Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels. Read them all, now' David Nicholls `Blackly comic, superbly written fiction . . . His style is crisp and light; his similes exhilarating in their accuracy . . . St Aubyn writes with luminous tenderness of Patrick's love for his sons' Caroline Moore, Sunday Telegraph `From the very first lines I was completely hooked . . . By turns witty, moving and an intense social comedy, I wept at the end but wouldn't dream of giving away the totally unexpected reason' Antonia Fraser, Sunday Telegraph `St Aubyn is a staggeringly good prose stylist and evidently has a big and open heart' The Times `Mother's Milk has the cerebral excitement and piercing funniness of St Aubyn at his brilliant best' Tatler `The bravura quality of St Aubyn's performance is irresistible. Brilliant' Sunday Telegraph 'The Melrose novels are a masterwork for the twenty-first century' Alice Sebold `The Melrose sequence is now clearly one of the major achievements of contemporary British fiction' Evening Standard `So good - so fantastically well written, profound and humane . . . it is heartstopping' Rachel Cooke, Observer