The Patrick Melrose novels - Edward St Aubyn
I finished this set of five wonderfully written novels a few weeks ago. But I’ve had to leave a gap before writing about them because I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to crawl back out of protagonist Patrick Melrose’s (aka St Aubyn’s) mind, disturbed and beautifully wrought as it is.
The prose is stunning, particularly in Never Mind, which conjures up the heat of summer gardens and the haze of rotting figs so vividly it could have been your own childhood, except for the blank darkness that descends after a moment - one of many - of total, brutal cruelty.
The further four books see Patrick trying to come to terms with that summer and its repercussions, and it’s such an onslaught of grief, pain, anger and guilt, that, however perfectly written, sometimes you just want to put the books down and run.