Mother's Milk

Mother s Milk A New York Times Notable Book Mother s Milk is a brilliantly stylish and witty novel by a master of modern British fiction Widely acclaimed in the United States and the UK Mother s Milk follows the

  • Title: Mother's Milk
  • Author: Edward St. Aubyn
  • ISBN: 9781890447427
  • Page: 242
  • Format: Paperback
  • A New York Times Notable Book, Mother s Milk is a brilliantly stylish and witty novel by a master of modern British fiction Widely acclaimed in the United States and the UK, Mother s Milk follows the Melroses, the same family featured in St Aubyn s trilogy, Some Hope First we meet Robert, who provides an exceptionally droll and convincing account of being born then PatA New York Times Notable Book, Mother s Milk is a brilliantly stylish and witty novel by a master of modern British fiction Widely acclaimed in the United States and the UK, Mother s Milk follows the Melroses, the same family featured in St Aubyn s trilogy, Some Hope First we meet Robert, who provides an exceptionally droll and convincing account of being born then Patrick, a hilariously churlish husband who has been sexually abandoned by his wife in favor of motherhood then Mary, who s consumed by her children and an overwhelming desire not to repeat the mistakes of her own mother All the while, St Aubyn examines the web of false promises that entangles this once illustrious family, whose last vestige of wealth an estate in the South of France is about to be permanently donated by Patrick s mother to a new age foundation The result is captivating and unexpected.

    One thought on “Mother's Milk”

    1. This book challenged the convention of believability in using POV. The book opens with a chapter narrated by a five-year old boy, Robert Melrose thinking and having insights of that of an intelligent adult. At first, it threw me off. Unbelievable. Who did St. Aubyn think he was? Augusten Burroughs? It took me a while before I reopened the book. I said to myself, there must be something in here. This was shortlisted in 2005 Booker Prize and a recent addition to the 1001 Books You Must Read Before [...]

    2. Judging by the reviews (which are usually very reliable), this book seems to have been mis-marketed. Readers complain that the characters are unpleasant (which you should know going in, I admit) and that St. Aubyn is 'too much of a stylist,' which sounds to me like saying a composer is 'too musical' or a basketball player is 'too athletic.' From a straight description, you might think this is akin to, say Gerard Woodward's semi-autobiographical trilogy: addiction, family issues, well-written et [...]

    3. #4 is as hard to rate as the rest, being like them wildly uneven. At least to my taste. In Mother's Milk the characters around Patrick Melrose are no good at all, vague, phoned-in, not-quite-there; boring. But from Patrick's point of view St Aubyn's prose rockets into Cioran-ish heights of nihilist lyricism. The "sardonic harmonies" of the stupid generations are ever more obvious to our extending lifespans and bored, self-devouring domestic over-analysis. Vistas of futility, illuminated further [...]

    4. After what looked like an emotional breakthrough at the end of Some Hope, here we find Patrick embroiled in another - or the same? - bleak emotional landscape. It's now 2000, he's acquired a wife, now pregnant, and a 5-year old son in the break between books and the status of fatherhood leads him, perhaps inevitably, back to his own disturbed childhood: 'I'm not in any serious doubt that everything I'm going through at the moment corresponds with the texture of my infancy in some way'. Widening [...]

    5. This is the first novel I've read by Edward St Aubyn but was captivated by his style and wit. Although Mother's Milk is one of a series of stories, there is no need to have read the predecessors as it stands on its own perfectly. The title refers to the relationships between mothers and their children, and these bonds are analysed and explored throughout the novel.The writer veers between perspectives, writing from the viewpoints of several of the novel's characters. My greatest enjoyment came f [...]

    6. I read Never Mind and had to keep stopping to copy down sentences because I couldn't bear to let them go. St Aubyn lacerates you with the taut-wire strength of his prose and intellect - the book is profoundly beautiful and profoundly shocking. Part of the shock with all of them is one's own complicity. Bad News is a tour de force of writing and experience - that is the emptiest of reviews, so I would just say, go and read it. You feel drowned in someone else's perception. Some Hope made me feel [...]

    7. Whewif you start the St Aubyn (what is the word for 1 after a trilogy?) series at the first book and read through, the character's journey from abuse to drugs to misanthropy to redemption is unlike anything I've ever read. It's on a par with Waugh for meanness and wit and flow - and that's high praise - but unlike Waugh he has a genuine conscience and wants to understand his and his character's processes. The degradation and deep amusement at the worst aspects of everyone in the first four books [...]

    8. Really enjoyed this! It's clever, funny but it loses a star because the author faithfully touches all the familiar moans of British anti-Americanism. Americans are fat and can't fit into aeroplane seats! American food is revolting, and the pizzas not as good as European ones! American TV is mindless! Baseball is boring! Everyone who works in the American service industry pretends to be cheerful! The American approach to health and safety is infantilising! American millionaires are vulgar and ha [...]

    9. He closed his eyes and let the pool-side inferno dissipate. After a few hours of other people, he had to get the pile-up of impressions out of him one way or another; by doing impersonations, or working out how things worked, or just trying to empty his mind. Otherwise the impressions built up to a critical density and he felt as if he was going to explode.Sometimes, when he was lying in bed, a single word like 'fear' or 'infinity' flicked the roof off the house and sucked him up into the night, [...]

    10. Number four in the series and Patrick is married with children. The start of this book is amazing when we meet Patrick's first child, Robert. Really it is all nonsense as no child could possibly be like this but the writing is so beautiful and the ideas so lovely. Robert quickly became my favourite character. I was hoping that Patrick would finally find himself in this book but he has not. Understandable really as there is still one more book to go. Can't wait!

    11. Mother’s Milk, the fourth of five Patrick Melrose novels, opens with a graphic description of the birth of Patrick’s first child: “Why had they pretended to kill him when he was born?”What a brilliant, brilliant novel about the complicated relationship between mothers and their children. Author Maggie O’Farrell describes the Melrose novels as being ‘at once epic and intimate’, and I think this one best covers that range. It’s specifically about the toxic and perpetually disappoin [...]

    12. Edward St. Aubyn's quirky, scathing little novel touches on a resonant subject, which made for a surprisingly delightful and balanced read. The tale is narrated by three members of the Melrose family who are as a whole intellectual, self-centered and empty people. The narration bounces between characters with ease; from precocious 5-year old Robert who opens the book narrating the circumstances of his birth first hand in a bitter voice, to Patrick, the father of the family narrating his dissatis [...]

    13. If you want to sum up Mother's Milk in a few lines, then the first stanza of Philip Larkin's This Be the Verse does a great job:They fuck you up, your mum and dad.They may not mean to, but they do.They fill you with the faults they hadAnd add some extra, just for you.Mother's Milk is ultimately about parenthood but things go much deeper than that. Patrick Melrose is now forty and entering a mid life crisis. He has the responsibility of being a father and considering that he was the product of a [...]

    14. These Patrick Melrose novels are rich and smart. They remind me at times of Philip Roth. This: “’Oh, darling…are you your own worst enemy?’‘I certainly hope so…I dread to think that would happen if somebody else turned out to be better at it than me’.”

    15. The fourth installment in St. Aubyn's Melrose novel takes us to an older Patrick Melrose married and the father of two children. Melrose trys to protect his children from the horrors of his own childhood. He is largely successful in this effort at least as it impacts the children however the Melrose family Patrick and his wife Mary suffer greatly as their marriage flounders and Patrickreintroduces himself to alcohol abuse and infidelity. Patrick further wrestles with his love hate ,mostly hate r [...]

    16. Loved this. It's on the Booker Prize shortlist; it had the longest odds when I first looked but now I've read it the odds have shortened. At least that's how it looks from here.Fabulous family story dealing, as the title implies, with mothers; the beginnings and the ends of lives, and the complications in between. Fabulously readable from the first page. I liked the changing viewpoints, long sections to start with and then muddling up as the story got more involved. I didn't like some of the cha [...]

    17. The Patrick Melrose novels have reached the Next Generation: Patrick is married with two sons and has replaced his illegal drug problem with a prescription drug and alcohol problem. He seems much more functional than twenty years before in Bad News, but less so than in Some Hope due to family pressures. The point of view frequently shifts to his son Robert, a precocious and unsettling child who seems like exactly the sort of boy Patrick would father. Covering a longer period than previous instal [...]

    18. Mother's Milk was actually the first of the Melrose sequence of novels that I read, but I have come back to it now after reading the first three of Edward St Aubyn's five novel sequence.I enjoyed it the first time, but it has much more depth and resonance once you have read the first three Melrose books. The key to understanding Patrick Melrose is in Volume 1. Without knowing about his traumatic childhood and the horrifying incident at the centre of the first book, it would be too easy to see hi [...]

    19. This book is at times rather wickedly funny in its derision towards upper class parents and their cluelessness. At the same time, there's a bit too much self pitying amongst the middle class who don't seem to realize how well off they still are in comparison to most of the parents in the world at large. It's a rather sad statement on inheritance and euthanasia as well. The relationships are all strained and the plot events are at times a little too predictable. Still, there are some really funny [...]

    20. Welp, four down, one to go. I honestly don't see myself rushing out to read "At Last", the fifth and final novel of the Patrick Melrose cycle. Tis a shame, I was quite looking forward to these books. John Updike's Rabbit series is a touchstone for me, and the idea of a somewhat similar series, but one that follows a contemporary man from childhood to middle age, was immensely appealing. What I could not ever entirely get past, though, was how awful EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THESE FUCKING BOOKS is. [...]

    21. IMHO, top-notch writing. His sentences and descriptions are often a joy to read. An odd balance of dry, acidic, sardonic humor and genuine compassion. Book Description:"A New York Times Notable Book, Mother’s Milk is a brilliantly stylish and witty novel by a master of modern British fiction. Widely acclaimed in the United States and the UK, Mother’s Milk follows the Melroses, the same family featured in St. Aubyn’s trilogy, Some Hope. First we meet Robert, who provides an exceptionally dr [...]

    22. You know how sometimes people complain about unremittingly dour contemporary novels where all the characters are unlikable assholes? Well, this one's really good! Rather than tacking away from the cynicism with heartwarming flashes of goodness (gag), Aubyn jibes, as it were, pointing the helm directly into the maelstrom of misanthropy, and the result is guaranteed to make your family look good in comparison. This book is a very banal, rather pastoral look at family of narcissists. It's probably [...]

    23. A book that i'm most glad to have finished reading. From the beginning, I was very confused of the characters and their situations and there was still a lack of clarity even towards the end. The story wasn't intriguing and it felt as though I was just skimming through the story - I didn't feel connected to it and I didn't get absorbed in it at all, feeling nothing towards the several characters. The age and maturity of Robert did not seem right at all It did improve about half way through, but i [...]

    24. Didn't like this at all. Not read the others in the saga, but don't think that's why i didn't like it.Basically, Main character's mother is not going to leave him the country house in France. Well, we all know how that feels, don't we? Mummy, my champagne's warm.Also fouund St Aubyn to be too muuch of a stylist for me, and his subject of upper middle class, middle age doubt too interior and I didn't connect.

    25. I think this may actually be my *least* favorite Patrick Melrose novel so far, which was unexpected. (Especially since I didn't really connect with the drug-binge of book 2, but at least I respected it.) I admit I struggle with books that involve overly precocious children or that get the details of ages/milestones wrong. It's a pet peeve that shouldn't bother me that much, but this book kept triggering it over and over again. 5-year-olds that talk like adults, toddlers that talk like 10-year-ol [...]

    26. Om mødre.Har holdt på med denne boka så lenge at det føles som om det er jeg som har skrevet den. Ingenting fornuftig å si. Firer fordi den både gir Booker og 1001 kryss og har noen veldig treffende ovenfranedbeskrivelser av Amerika og amerikanere.Framifra serie, blir rart å starte på femmern.

    27. This is an engaging book - a finalist for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. It is a witty examination of all the sins and foibles of parenting, as depicted by three generations centered on Patrick Melrose, an acerbic barrister and family man. The story covers an incredible variety of hurts and injustices perpetrated on children by parents. With agonizing deliberation and certainty, Patrick's mother sells out the family fortune to a half-baked charity managed by a quack shaman, in a manner which require [...]

    28. A perfectly decent novel, but not a Patrick Melrose novel. There simply doesn't feel to be enough of Patrick in it - that amazing, addictive voice from the first 3 books feels distant or diluted in Mother's Milk. The plot is reasonable, but it doesn't have the strength of the earlier books - we don't get inside Patrick's head enough, a lot has happened (dealt with childhood events revealed in the previous book, married, had kids) and yet we don't know how any of this affected the man we've got t [...]

    29. Just as I wasn't entirely convinced by the first Patrick Melrose book, so with the first section here, again narrated from a child's viewpoint. And done so very well, at that - but more seemed lost than gained by making that child Patrick's son, adding on a volume to a trilogy that had worked perfectly well as it was. But then, as before, we jump forward in time, and change perspective to Patrick, now a father of two and an absolute wreck, and everything clicks into place. I found Some Hope's re [...]

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