Never Mind, Patrick Melrose 1 – Edward St. Aubyn

Never Mind was a book I had heard from many people before but hesitated to read because it was a family drama. When my book club decided to read this, there was nothing to do, so I rolled up my sleeves and started reading Never Mind. As I progressed a little further in the book, I saw that it was not too heavy to read, and the author created incredible characters until I saw a friend from my book club and talked to her about the book. When she asked me if I read the rape scene yet, I froze. I wasn’t expecting a rape scene.

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Before I got to the rape scene, I thought I’d research the author, and I realised that Never Mind is the first book of the Patrick Melrose series, and it tells the story of Edward St Aubyn’s life. As you can guess, Aubyn was raped many times by his father as a child. After this short research, I continued to readNever Mind, and when I saw how the author described such a terrible thing, I was again amazed by the author, his writing and literature.

Never Mind, Patrick Melrose 1 - Edward St. Aubyn

While the author describes his terrible childhood due to his aristocratic parents, who were quite cruel and negligent, in this first book, he focused on drug addiction and his never-ending suicide wish in the other books in the series. The interesting thing is that the author can be funny while narrating his life. What is shared and lived among the characters who consider it a virtue to live by torturing each other is so well out of the author’s hand that you can see that he killed the evil spirits in his past elegantly one by one. I fell in love with Never Mind and finished all the books in Patrick Melrose series in a week.

Considered one of the best contemporary English writers, St. Aubyn is an author not to be missed, in my opinion. The Patrick Melrose series is also adapted for television as a mini-series. Although Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Patrick Melrose, I couldn’t watch it because I find it too dark. Please read the books first starting withNever Mind and then watch the series. Enjoy!

Other books in the Patrick Melrose Series

  1. Never Mind
  2. Bad News
  3. Some Hope
  4. Mother’s Milk
  5. At Last
Never Mind, Patrick Melrose #1 - Edward St. Aubyn

Never Mind, Patrick Melrose 1

Never Mind: Winner of the Betty Trask Award, Never Mind is the first in Edward St Aubyn’s semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, adapted for TV for Sky Atlantic and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as aristocratic addict, Patrick.

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.

Never Mind was originally published, along with Bad News and Some Hope, as part of a three book omnibus , also called Some Hope.

Edward St. Aubyn

Edward St Aubyn (born 14 January 1960) is an English author and journalist. He is the author of eight novels, including notably the semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels. In 2006, Mother’s Milk was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Edward St Aubyn was born in 1960 in London, England, into an upper-class family. He is the son of Roger Geoffrey St Aubyn (1906–1985), a former soldier and a surgeon, and his second wife, Lorna Mackintosh (1929–2005). On his paternal side, he is a great-great grandson of Sir Edward St Aubyn, 1st Baronet, and great-nephew of The 1st Baron St Levan.

On his maternal side, he is a grandson of Captain Alastair William Mackintosh of the Seaforth Highlanders (briefly married to Constance Talmadge 1926–1927), and Lela Emery (later Duchess of Talleyrand). Through the latter he is a great-grandson of American businessman John Josiah Emery, Sr., and a great-nephew of John J. Emery, Jr. and Audrey Emery (wife of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia).

His father was first married to Sophie Helene Freifrau von Puthon of Schloss Mirabell in Salzburg, whom he divorced in 1957. St Aubyn has two half-sisters by his father’s first marriage, and an elder sister, Alexandra. He grew up in London and France, where his family had houses. He has described an unhappy childhood in which he was repeatedly raped by his sexually abusive father from the ages of 5 to 8, with the complicity of his mother.

St Aubyn attended Westminster School and in 1979 went on to read English at Keble College, Oxford. Although at the time a heroin addict, he graduated, but with a pass, the lowest possible class of degree. He entered psychotherapy at the age of 25 and subsequently became a professional writer.

From 1987 to 1990, he was married to the author Nicola Shulman, now The Marchioness of Normanby. St Aubyn has a son, Lucian St Aubyn, by Jane Longman, daughter of Lady Elizabeth Longman and Mark Longman, and a daughter, Eleanor St Aubyn by another previous relationship, and lives in London.

Five of St Aubyn’s novels, Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk, and At Last, form The Patrick Melrose Novels, the first four of which were republished in a single volume in 2012, in anticipation of the fifth. They are based on the author’s own life, growing up in a highly dysfunctional upper-class English family, dealing with abuse at the hands of his father, the deaths of both parents, alcoholism, heroin addiction and recovery, and marriage and parenthood.

The books have been hailed as a powerful exploration of how emotional health can be carved out of childhood adversity. Mother’s Milk was made into a feature film released in 2011. The screenplay was written by St Aubyn and director Gerald Fox. It stars Jack Davenport, Adrian Dunbar, Diana Quick, and Margaret Tyzack in her last performance.

In 2018 a five-part television series, Patrick Melrose was broadcast, a joint production of Showtime and Sky Atlantic. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Patrick Melrose (with the young Patrick played by Sebastian Maltz), with each episode based on a different novel in the series. The series premiered on Showtime on 12 May 2018 to favourable reviews.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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