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This is the second in The Patrick Melrose Trilogy, which are available in one volume, The Patrick Melrose Trilogy. Following on from "Never Mind", where Patrick was a child, we catch up with him in "Bad News" in his early twenties. Patrick has to fly to New York to collect his fathers ashes and it is really important to read the first book, in order to know why he feels about his father as he does. This entire book takes place during a weekend trip to New York in which Patrick not only deals with his fathers death, meets varying friends of his father - usually unsuccessfully - and, mostly, worries about drugs. At the beginning of the book he considers no longer taking drugs, however this is more a hopeful than successful wish. Arriving in New York, Patrick is plunged into a desperate desire to obtain and take drugs and every meeting is coloured by his drug taking. This is a very powerful book - I can't think of another so evocative of the complete desire and horror of drug addiction. As Patrick attempts to locate drugs, he is taken to dangerous places, but the need is so great he is unable to control himself. There are episodes of hallucination, withdrawal and suffering it is hard to read. Breathtaking prose and a book you will never forget. The Trilogy is followed by Mother's Milk and the final book will be At Last.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 May 2012
Seventeen years after the events of Never Mind (Melrose Novels 1), Patrick Melrose is a drug addict whose body is 'a battleground strewn with the carnage of internarcotic wars'. The 'bad news' of the title is that Patrick's father has died, and the novel describes three days in Patrick's chaotic life as he travels to New York to collect his father's ashes.

Although "Bad News" contains less cruelty than "Never Mind", the unflinching descriptions of Patrick's drug-taking, despair, and mental turmoil make this a hard book to read. However, once again the writing is beautiful, St Aubyn's characterization is spot on, and amongst (and arising from) the horror of Patrick's situation there is much social comedy.

I can't wait to read Some Hope, the conclusion of the trilogy.
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on 9 June 2012
This is a simply superb follow-up to "Never Mind". Like that book, its peopled by largely unpleasant characters, yet is absolutely compelling. The humour of the first book is evident again here - despite a horribly realistic depiction of drug addiction. This book describes a weekend in New York - much of it spent taking, or trying to get, drugs by the central character, Patrick Melrose. The little boy of the first book is now a troubled young man in his 20s, and the language and writing is again an absolute delight. This guy has talent - and the book is highly addictive. Once I started it I couldn't bear to stop reading, and can't wait to read the third in the series. Bleak but brilliant - and highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 15 May 2012
The second Patrick Melrose novel finds him in New York, to collect the ashes of his dead father. Most of the story is really concerned with Patrick's total addiction to a range of substances, resulting in spiralling descent into drug-fuelled hallucinations, desperate forays to buy more drugs, and mingling with various forms of New York high and low life in the process. It's a heady blend of faces from the old days of Patrick's life, and some new influences as well.

Unusually, Melrose is a character who gains our attention and sympathy, where usually the reverse is true when a writer describes the kind of situations Patrick finds himself in. There is an underlying melancholy to St Aubyn's storytelling, something engaging, sharp and funny that makes this all seem terribly real, and the book is a breezy, entertaining read - no small achievement when considering the main subject of the content.

Impressively, a book written in the early 1990s, and set back in the 1980s, retains a sense of realism and relevance that would elude most writers attempting something like this. A strong second instalment of the rivetting Patrick Melrose saga - and highly recommended.
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This is the second of St. Aubyn's trilogy. Patrick has grown from being an unhappy five year-old into a 22 year-old man who seems set on self-destruction. He is a drug addict - but a wealthy one with an annual income of £100,000. This short book details his trip to New York to pick up the ashes of his now deceased father.

As an addict he is constantly balancing the effects of one drug with another. He has to gauge just the right amount of heroin, cocaine and alcohol to keep himself in a state of near-euphoria but avoiding death. There is no glamour attached to his drug-taking - just a long and desperate search for some ultimate goal of happiness.

But alongside the sadness and misery there is a great deal of humour. Patrick flies out on Concorde with an appalling American sitting next to him. He reflects sardonically that Concorde should include in their advertising that their supersonic flights mean a shorter time spent with tiresome passengers.

The writing is again superb - sharp and witty with a very vicious touch. I would recommend reading Never Mind first in order to get a fuller understanding of Patrick's attitude to his father.

Bleak, brilliant and very readable.
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on 6 June 2012
This is an extraordinary 'novel' where Patrick roams round New York looking for his next few fixes. It's very different because you know at once that it can't really be fiction, so immediate and raw as it is, which made me think about a lot of other fiction and what it loses. It's funny too - he stays so polite verbally, despite his appalling behaviour. I've read all the Melrose novels and enjoyed the series, though this is the best. Not a hint of a Creative Writing course here!
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on 3 August 2014
I loved the first book in this series, and hurried to the second. What a disappointment.
Whilst the first installment had a range of characters, this settles merely for the drug addled ramblings of Patrick on a quick visit to New York to collect his deceased father's remains.
And it is soooooo boring. There is only one character - Patrick - who is so emotionally and morally vacant (even when remotely lucid, between intakes of narcotics) that it is difficult to feel and attachment to him, to give a damn at all.
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on 18 June 2014
This story of Patrick Melrose (book 2 of 5) retrieving the body of his father in New York is revolting. I have no idea how true the endless description of drug buying and using may be, but it filled me with horror. Despite being well out of my comfort zone, the writing is so good that the whole became hypnotic. I hope he (Patrick) cleans himself up before book 3...which I will certainly read.
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on 19 September 2015
I read Never Mind, the first in the Patrick Melrose quintet and had to force myself to complete it - there are so many unlikeable, pretentious characters with no redeeming qualities, and certain scenes just do not seem even remotely believable. I decided not to bother with the rest of the series. However a year later I repented and read Bad News.

Stunning! The writing is brilliant (as it is in Never Mind, to be fair). I kept asking myself how the author could possibly have written so convincingly (I assume - I have no such experience) about Patrick’s drug addiction. Later I read that the work is semi-(?) autobiographical. Wow!

I then moved on to Some Hope and am back to where I started - it does nothing for me and I cannot bring myself to finish it.

As others have written, I think it is necessary to read the first book in the series in order to understand Patrick’s mind-set in Bad News.
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on 26 May 2012
Having sympathised and empathised with the little boy in the first book, this book quite upset me. It is unpleasantly realistic in it's portrayal of a life gone wrong, and sad to reflect how bad parenting can produce someone with some of the parents characteristics. Very well written.
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