Mother's Milk

by Edward St. Aubyn

Rating: ****

After reading the first few chapters, I was arguing with myself whether to continue. I had already decided that it would be 2* maybe even 1* on here. The opening chapters with Robert as POV, I found turgid, self-indulgent and unbelievable. It was like hearing Patrick's voice but diluted. There was not enough of a strong difference or indeed, that the voice belonged to a very young child. It did not work for me and worst of all I found it quite boring. But, I persevered hoping that the perspective changes and lo! and behold it does - we have the lion's share from Patrick's POV and, by and large, it's brilliant. I could not put it down and in a way, I think better than the first two. Blistering sarcastic, witty, tragic and funny in equal measure. I few times I did feel like shaking Patrick as there is, in some chapters, a bit too much navel-gazing. I thought using Mary as another alternative POV was good, I did not expect that and it added a new dimension to the narrative as, in the beginning, she was rather hazy and indistinct. I think you would need to read at least the first two books and I suppose, three, I'm not sure it entirely stands alone. Personally, I would have been quite lost without Patrick's backstory.


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