My friend Liz From the Bookstore also recommended this series of novels to me, and she prefaced her recommendation with a quote from one of her friends who had read the five novel series. It's like getting a barbed wire enema while drinking a glass of champagne, is how he described it, and doesn't that entice you to read it? Well, call me weird, but I was intrigued and bought the first four which are bound together as one, titled The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn. I imagine a glass of champagne would be a suitable accompaniment because the book is witty, sharp, edgy and very sexy. It's also perverse at times, so perverse that I felt as uncomfortable as if I were getting a barbed wire enema, but the writing kept me going and I couldn't put it down. I'd describe it as a cross between Jane Austen and --- hmmmmmm. I don't know whom. The novels are like Austen's in their description of manners, of the intrigues of the contemporary bourgeoisie, but the main character is a degenerate drug addict with a traumatic past and I've never read anything like the series, exactly, before. I actually laughed out loud a few times while reading them and other times wanted to cover my eyes.
I'm not sure you're going to run out and buy these books, what with this strange and tortured review, but if you're at all like me, a woman with a soft exterior and a convoluted interior life, you'll like them. Trust me, like I did Liz.
But that’s what charm is: being malicious about everybody except the person you are with, who then glows with the privilege of exemption.
Edward St. Aubyn, The Patrick Melrose Novels