Literary Box Sets- Edward St Aubyn

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is now upon us and the salad days of Summer have been replaced by the cool October evenings. It’s an ideal time to stock up on book supplies to fill the long evenings by the fire. I’ve never been a great beach reader, all that greasy suncream staining my precious tomes and the inability to find a comfortable angle to read poolside that allows both sunbathing and reading without being blinded by the light. Stretching out on Winter afternoons by the fire is much more my thing and I tend to devour books over these months. It’s great to discover a new author with a vast canon of books to explore and read through them like the literary equivalent of the Boxset. To those of you who are seeking such an author I can thoroughly recommend Edward St Aubyn and his novels about Patrick Melrose, the protagonist of what is now a quintet of novels devoted to the Melrose family. They follow the life of Patrick Melrose through sexual abuse at the hands of his violent, alcoholic, father David through to his life as a wasted young man, shooting up in Manhattan. The first of these novels all have two word titles: ” Never Mind,” Bad News,”Some Hope,” and ” Mother’s Milk.” If you think it all sounds rather bleak, then think again. Reviewers have likened his prose to that of Evelyn Waugh and Oscar Wilde and his character depictions are some of the most insightful and amusing in contemporary literature. A sketch of an ex girlfriend from “At Last” his most recent novel includes the following lines.
She made rather haphazard impersonations of someone who has relationships with others. Based on the gossip of her courtiers, a diet of Hollywood movies and the projection of her own cunning calculations, these guesses might be sentimental or nasty, but were always vulgar and melodramatic.
St Aubyn’s books will bring you on a journey and will never fail to enchant and entertain despite the sometimes disturbing subject matter by the sheer brilliance of the prose style.
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