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Never Mind (The Patrick Melrose Novels Book 1)

Never Mind (The Patrick Melrose Novels Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Edward St Aubyn
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Product Description


‘The Melrose sequence is now clearly one of the major achievements of contemporary British fiction. Stingingly well-written and exhilaratingly funny’ David Sexton, Evening Standard

'Perhaps the most brilliant English novelist of his generation' Alan Hollinghurst

‘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

‘St Aubyn’s prose has an easy charm that masks a ferocious, searching intellect. One of the finest writers of his generation’ The Times

‘Nothing about the plots can prepare you for the rich, acerbic comedy of St Aubyn’s world – or more surprising – its philosophical density’ Zadie Smith, Harpers

‘Humor, pathos, razor-sharp judgement, pain, joy and everything in between. The Melrose novels are a masterwork for the 21st century, by one of our greatest prose stylists’ Alice Sebold

‘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

‘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

‘I’ve loved Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels. Read them all, now’ David Nicholls

‘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

‘Clearly one of the major achievements of contemporary British fiction. Stingingly well-written and exhilaratingly funny’ David Sexton, Evening Standard

‘Beautifully written, excruciatingly funny and also very tragic’ Mariella Frostrup, Sky Magazine

‘The act of investigative self-repair has all along been the underlying project of these extraordinary novels. It is the source of their urgent emotional intensity, and the determining principle of their construction. For all their brilliant social satire, they are closer to the tight, ritualistic poetic drama of another era than the expansive comic fiction of our own . . . A terrifying, spectacularly entertaining saga’ James Lasdun, Guardian

‘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

‘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

‘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

‘A masterpiece. Edward St Aubyn is a writer of immense gifts’ Patrick McGrath

‘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 humane meditation on lives blighted by the sins of the previous generation. St Aubyn remains among the cream of British novelists’ Sunday Times

‘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

'One of the most amazing reading experiences I've had in a decade.' Michael Chabon, LA Times


'The Melrose sequence is now clearly one of the major achievements of contemporary British fiction. Stingingly well-written and exhilaratingly funny' David Sexton, Evening Standard

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 407 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (12 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447202937
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447202936
  • ASIN: B007NLC7HI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First in the Patrick Melrose Trilogy 12 April 2011
"Never Mind" is the first book in the Patrick Melrose Trilogy. When we first meet Patrick, he is only five years old and is living in the South of France with his father, David, and his mother Eleanor. David Melrose is a vicious, cruel man, a bully and an utter snob. Having married Eleanor for her money, he reduces her to a drunken wreck. Into this unhappy house a group of people are converging for a dinner party and some of these characters appear in other books. Although this is a fairly short novel, it is apparent that Patrick really stands very little chance of emerging unscathed from the brutal neglect he encounters, either emotionally or physically, from the adults around him. As a portrait of the minor aristocracy, it does not paint a pretty picture, and their self belief that they are so superior clashes with their truly awful behaviour. Edward St Aubyn is a masterful author and I doubt that anybody could read this book and not wish to know what happens next. "Bad News" is the second book, taking Patrick into his early twenties. One of the amazing things about these novels is how badly everyone behaves and yet, somehow, the author makes us care about these dreadful people. It is a little like passing a car crash and not being able to look away. You hope, somehow, that disaster will be averted. Perhaps it is because Patrick had no choice in the matter of his birth and somehow, we hope he will survive his parents. The Patrick Melrose books can be read as stand alone novels, but in my opinion, they are best read in order and, to understand Patrick, this portrait of his father is a must read. Enjoy if you have never read it before, it's a wonderful and compelling book. Read more ›
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly brilliant 29 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Alerted to this first Melrose novel by the series' recent conclusion I started here.

Dark doesn't cover it - brilliant characters economically drawn and startling dialogue. A real find.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Bleak and Really Well-Written. 6 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first Edward St Aubyn book I've read, and I could barely put it down; I read it through in two sittings (although it has to be said that its comparatively short.) Its superbly well-written, and throughly enjoyable (and wittily funny at bits) yet there is barely a likeable character in the book. I can hardly wait to read the next book in the "Patrick Melrose" series - which promises to be as entertaining as "Dance to the Music of Time". This first book is all about the characters; not a lot happens yet he still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. Both of Patrick's parents are so awful (in very different ways) that I can't wait to see how he developes.Vile though most of them are, the characters are highly articulate and the language of the book is a joy. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and entertaining...... 15 Nov 2012
Never Mind is the first of the Patrick Melrose novels, originally planned as a trilogy but eventually stretching to six books. Five-year-old Patrick could have been living and idyllic life in Provence. There is an old rambling house, a huge garden and long sunny days. But Patrick is far from happy. His father is bullying and abusive and his mother cowed and alcoholic. They receive a stream of guests, most of whom ignore Patrick. Patrick tries to "do the right thing" as he constantly hopes to deflect the wrath of his father but fate seems to conspire against him. Already at five he is displaying some very unattractive traits.

This is far from being a "misery memoir". Edward St. Aubyn's writing is packed with biting comments and observations. He refers to a local farmer as having "the sullen air of a man who looks forward to strangling poultry." A visiting American, Anne, says: "....why do people spend an evening with people they have spent the day insulting." Patrick's mother supports the Save The Children Fund - very ironic in the light of Patrick's neglect.

The book is filled (mostly) with appalling people who all seem to actively dislike one another. Perhaps we readers find pleasure in the abysmal behaviour and manners of the upper classes? It reminded me in turn of Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell.

Never Mind is an intriguing and entertaining book (despite the darkness of some of the activities). I look forward to the further adventures of Patrick Melrose.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Restrained, hypnotic storytelling 10 May 2012
Something in the nature of this first Patrick Melrose story reminded me of Anthony Powell's "A Dance To The Music of Time." The first in a sequence of novels telling of the ups and downs in Melrose's life, here he is a shy 5 year old boy, already damaged by a weird upbringing at the hands of a bullying, sadistic father, and an alcoholic mother.

If that reads like a recipe for a depressing read, it isn't. Edward St Aubyn brings a cool, detached but pithy style of prose to his story, and he draws out well the bored, desperate lives that his characters lead. Oddly, it's hard to place this opening novel in any particular time period - unless I missed it - so it does give it a slightly vague, timeless location.

The characters are well-drawn if not particularly likeable, but for a series of novels about the life of a particular individual, it's fair to say that Patrick Melrose doesn't feature too prominently in this opener. One senses the atmosphere and sense of foreboding will play out in the later books.

Slim, elegant and very readable, it's certainly an impressive start to a series of books that has become well-regarded. Not an easy read in places - but certainly well-crafted, thoughtful stuff.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 3 days ago by L. R. Eeve
2.0 out of 5 stars What is the fuss all about?
Gave in and bought it after all the hype. Couldn't get into story at all. Really disappointed. Nothing to interest me. Gave up after 40 pages.
Won't try the others!
Published 6 days ago by St George
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars
What an enormous delight to read and re-read all the Patrick Melrose books. Faultlessly written.
Published 18 days ago by polly
2.0 out of 5 stars Awful
Beautifully written awful book about awful people.
Published 22 days ago by anymouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Cant wait to read the rest of these Novels - think there are 5 in the set.
Published 1 month ago by S Billson
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
Many critics have raved about Edward St Aubyn's "Melrose Novels" but I struggled to get half way though this, the first novel in the series. Read more
Published 1 month ago by oldhasbeen
2.0 out of 5 stars An unsatisfactory attempt to follow in the footsteps of Evelyn Waugh.
I give this two stars only because it is, in a technical sense, well written. The prose style is good. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Mimm
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It does not get much better than these novels. Read and learn. Excellent. Addicts will recognise themselves.
Published 2 months ago by Patricia Farr
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed.
I was deeply disappointed with this book. It started well, showing us the repellent and sadistic character of David through the observations of his maid, and the sections written... Read more
Published 2 months ago by bookworm
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