Updated: Oct 8, 2020
by Edward St. Aubyn
I read this, the second in the Patrick Melrose novels, extremely quickly. In a way to simply to get it over with and in another way because I simply could not put it down. It is brutal, horrible and compelling. I found parts of it almost too painful and difficult. I read small chunks of the chapters with a hand shadowing my face and had to put it down at quick intervals and breathe but then picked it up almost as quickly as I put it down. It is that frank and that raw and due to some past personal issues, it was more than a little uncomfortable.
That said: it's brilliant! Although, I will say what I did about the first novel - the subject matter is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint-hearted. The squalid and overwhelming physical / mental degradation of Melrose during his ruthless drug binges (and this novel is pretty much one long drug binge) requires a strong reading stomach. You have been warned.