Read Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn Online


Twenty-two years old and in the grip of a massive addiction, Patrick Melrose is forced to fly to New York to collect his father’s ashes. Over the course of a weekend, Patrick’s remorseless search for drugs on the avenues of Manhattan, haunted by old acquaintances and insistent inner voices, sends him into a nightmarish spiral. Alone in his room at the Pierre Hotel, he pushTwenty-two years old and in the grip of a massive addiction, Patrick Melrose is forced to fly to New York to collect his father’s ashes. Over the course of a weekend, Patrick’s remorseless search for drugs on the avenues of Manhattan, haunted by old acquaintances and insistent inner voices, sends him into a nightmarish spiral. Alone in his room at the Pierre Hotel, he pushes body and mind to the very edge – desperate always to stay one step ahead of his rapidly encroaching past.Bad News was originally published, along with Never Mind and Some Hope, as part of a three book omnibus also called Some Hope....

Title : Bad News
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ISBN : 9780749398729
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Bad News Reviews

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-02-23 08:51

    Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread.Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.Psalm 53.******I cannot be the only reader of Bad News who by page 20 had already cast the gold-medallist of supercilious contempt Richard E Grant of Withnail and Ias Patrick Melrose, the ghastly rich 22 year old English junkie. As soon as young Melrose stares into the room, his eyes like slits, his pallor of the grave, his disdain strong enough to support a family of five, and says "I don't fucking believe it" Richard E Grant's freezing upper-class tones are in your head to the last page. Which is a good thing.Sample Withnail dialogue:Withnail: [on the way to the car] At some point or another I want to stop and get hold of a child. Marwood: What do you want a child for? Withnail: To tutor it in the ways of righteousness, and procure some uncontaminated urine. LaterWithnail: [seeing a road sign reading "ACCIDENT BLACK SPOT. DRIVE WITH EXTREME CARE"] Look at that, accident black spot! These aren't accidents! They're throwing themselves into the road gladly! Throwing themselves into the road to escape all this hideousness!Sample Melrose observation: Patrick looked down the avenue. It was like the opening shot of a documentary on overpopulation. He walked down the street, imagining the severed heads of passers-by rolling in the gutter in his wake.Later at a restaurant :"Would you care for a dessert, sir?" A rather bizarre question. How was he supposed to "care for" a dessert? Did he have to visit it on Sundays? Send it a Christmas card?This is a black hole junkie memoir presented as a novel, three days in the life, where Patrick's dad has died in New York and he has to go and collect the body and get it cremated. Patrick has had a difficult relationship with his father. He's lugging a box full of his father's ashes around New York and a thought suddenly strikes him:Patrick realised that it was the first time he had been alone with his father for more than ten minutes without being buggered, hit or insulted.These early experiences have soured his demeanor:He hated happy families with their mutual encouragement, and their demonstrative affection, and the impression they gave of valuing each other more than other people. It was utterly disgusting.Patrick is always alone, especially when he's with people. There is no other in this novel. Only I. It's the Story of I, the Story of an I, a junkie I, the delirious whirl of fixes and highs and rushes and comedowns, and hold on, aren't we bored of all that? But great writing is never the what, only the how. Not what you are talking about, but how. As I read this deliciously disgusting stuff a song sang itself in my ear : I want to tell you. My head is filled with things to say. But when you're near, all those things they seem to. Slip away. Actually that's the precise opposite of Patrick. He doesn't want to tell anyone. He wishes, like a previous champion hater, that the human race had only one neck and he had his hands round it. Except he'd never do that, he'd be nodding out in a bath and nearly drowning. There would be someone unconscious in the bedroom but he wouldn't remember who it was or that they were there.Patrick is so rich he has three Faberge eggs with his crispy bacon, he flies to New York on Concorde, he shacks up at a five star hotel and he goes scoring in Alphabet City just for some fun colour contrast. Cue missed main vein, horrific black arm bulging, fever in the scum brown bowl, sort of thing. Patrick the dreadful junkie considers himself superior to some others he knows:At least he wasn't fixing in his groin. Gouging around unsuccessfully among those elusive veins could make one question the whole intravenous method of absorbing drugs.Yes, I imagine it would. There are way too many memoirs of chemical misbehaviour already in print, tiresome tales of debauch, debouch and degradation and who needs another? – my own picks to click would beWonderland Avenue by Danny Sugerman (the shower scene which has more blood than the one in Hitchcock's Psycho is indelible, my dears, indelible)Junky by Billy BurroughsTrainspotting by Irvine Welsh – stop what you're doing and read that one next! You already did? Okay!Fear and Lothing in Las Vegas by Hunter S ThompsonAll comedies, all very funny, you have to laugh. And all sort of true. So, I can't sell you Bad News as anything other than another fierce example of why many thoughtful people have concluded that the only decent thing left for the human race to do is to get off Planet Earth now, just leave, don't look back, give the place back to the voles and the meerkats and the manatees and the pottos and the aardvarks and the Tasmanian devils and the golden tamarins and the trapdoor spiders and all those creatures not cursed with the self-consciousness which is the glory and the horror of humans and which makes a Dachau for every cathedral and a Tuol Sleng for every symphony, the it seems to me inseparable glory and horror, to think you can have one without the other is utopian.I knock a star off for a long passage which is a blatant steal from the Circe chapter of Ulysses and for some really crass caricatures of rich Americans, come on St Aubyn, you don't need to do that, but otherwise, if you like the blackest of comedy, yes.Onward to the third Melrose novel.

  • Helle
    2019-02-16 14:45

    (3.5 stars) Edward St Aubyn is a really clever man. He has managed to write a novel whose protagonist is a selfish, tragic, upper-class drug addict and whose content I disliked throughout nearly the entire book. Yet, I am helplessly drawn to this series about Patrick Melrose because St Aubyn just writes so damn well:The four Valiums he had stolen from Kay had helped him face breakfast, but now he could feel the onset of withdrawal, like a litter of drowning kittens in the sack of his stomach.Bad News is the second book in the series about Patrick Melrose, who is now a grown man. His life hasn’t exactly picked up since we left him in Never Mind. He receives some ‘bad news’ at the beginning of this novel – his father is dead – and he travels to New York to collect his father’s remains. Thus begins his descent into his own private hell, in which his constant focus is where to get his next fix from, how best to combine cocaine and smack, when to pop in a Quaalude to soften the blow, and how to get through normal events like lunch with a friend without collapsing or offending people when he side-steps their unwelcome commiserations. The extreme, not to say versatile, drug addiction reminded me of The Goldfinch (though that is newer), and Patrick even has a foreign junkie friend who speaks with an accent (like Boris in The Goldfinch). Thematically, the novel also reminded me of some of Alan Hollinghurst’s novels, the way the protagonists float through their lives, addicted to drugs or sex, without a firm hold on the world.Once again, the caustic wit that St Aubyn delivers so assuredly, though in smaller doses than in # 1 (the drugs claim rather a lot of space here), is worthy of Waugh or Wilde, as are his constant tone of amused contempt and self-loathing irony (Patrick Melrose, though fictitious, is by all accounts St Aubyn’s alter ego). Patrick is a suicidal junkie who is not only scornful of most people who inadvertently cross his path but also so addicted to drugs that he thinks he may be in love with them. He has made a miserable island of his life:He continually longed for an uncontaminated solitude, and when he got it he longed for it to stop.But then all solutions were temporary, even death, and nothing gave him more faith in the existence of an afterlife than the inexorable sarcasm of Fate. (…) Who could guess what exquisite torments lay ahead in the holiday camps of eternity?A whole chapter in the middle is devoted to Patrick’s insane hallucinations after a particularly successful fix. A cacophony of voices have an outrageous and surreal discussion in which nothing makes sense, yet it is somehow absurdly funny. A small sample:Television (snivelling and shivering): ‘Turn me on, man. Gimme me a turn-on.’ Mr. President: ‘Ask not what your television can do for you, but what you can do for your television.’Ecstatic populace: ‘Hooray! Hooray!’Mr. President: ‘We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship…’Von Trapp Family Singers (ecstatically): ‘Climb every mountain!’Despite the awe-inspiring prose and the clear evidence of St Aubyn’s intellect and wit (which I simply adore), I felt weighed down by the sheer extent of Patrick’s drug abuse and his morbid take on life. It is hardly surprising given his upbringing (viz. Never Mind), and it felt utterly real, but I did not love this novel as I did the first one. (I hope things look up for him in the books to come. I’m hopeful that they do as the next one is called Some Hope). With every situation – and he was always getting himself into situations – he saw the choices stretching out crazily, like the broken blood vessels of tired eyes. And with every action he heard the death cries of all the things he had not done.

  • Roman Clodia
    2019-03-08 14:42

    The tragedy of old age when a man is too weak to hit his own child. No wonder he had died.More bitter, more scabrous than Never Mind, this second of the Melrose novels is set 17 years later: it's now 1982 and Patrick is both independently-wealthy and a confirmed junkie. A trip to New York to collect his father's ashes is the context for a drug-fuelled orgy of self-loathing, and risky, quasi-suicidal behaviour. What lifts the book from the gutter where Patrick, just about metaphorically, revels is the marvellously raw and visceral depiction of the highs and lows of shooting up, and the intelligent awareness of his consciousness. Organised with references to King Lear (' 'Let me not go mad,' shouted Patrick in a voice that started like his own, but became more like John Gielgud's with the last two words') and the Odyssey, with the references to Ithaca, homecoming and a funny/nausea-inducing 'pig' episode. Given the title of the next volume, Some Hope, I'm assuming this is the nadir, Patrick Melrose's descent into the underworld.Short enough to rocket through, this is dark and blackly - what? comic is too simple a word and doesn't do justice to the layers of self-knowledge and self-contempt that, nevertheless, cannot quite dampen the shaky yet knowing, sardonic, deeply ironic voice of Patrick Melrose.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-17 14:38

    That was one hell of a celebration, Patrick. This spree of alcohol and drug-fueled self-loathing drags the reader along in a juddering skid through his familiar gutters.The density of the metaphors is outdone only by the recklessness of the drug use. Both were magnificent.

  • Anna
    2019-02-24 08:49

    From the first Patrick Melrose novel, Never Mind, it was overwhelmingly evident that poor abused Patrick was not going to have a happy life. ‘Bad News’ confirms this with a vengeance. It takes the reader to 1982 and follows Patrick to New York, where he picks up his father’s ashes and goes on a drug binge that he is lucky to survive. Between doses of coke, smack, etc, Patrick attempts small talk with miscellaneous family friends and acquaintances. These interactions are the best part of the book, as St Aubyn has an incredible talent for evoking social nuance. Whilst mouthing platitudes about his father, the acquaintances studiously ignore the evidence that Patrick is a physical wreck, drug addict, and abuse victim. An exemplary incidence of this occurs in this exchange between Patrick and a certain Mr. Banks:“I don’t think that people noo so much about how to bring up kids in those days. A lot of parents in your fawther’s generation just didn’t know how to express their love.”“Cruelty is the opposite of love,” said Patrick, “not just some inarticulate version of it.”‘Bad News’ is as viciously well-written as Never Mind and Patrick’s spiral of self-destruction is painful to read. I was reminded somewhat of The Goldfinch, although Patrick’s substance abuse seems more extreme and hopeless. Theo Decker at least had friends to reach out to, whereas Patrick appears unmoored and alienated from everyone who isn’t actively selling him drugs. If I hadn’t known that there were several more novels in Patrick Melrose series, I would have expected him to be dead of an overdose before the end of this book.

  • Jessica Woodbury
    2019-03-14 14:46

    Good God there's a lot of drugs in this book.I get that the brief adventures of a serious drug addict trying to cope with unspeakable emotion is basically a genre in and of itself, but it's never really been my cup of tea. Since I started this book right after NEVER MIND, I began with a lot of sympathy towards Patrick, who's clearly been traumatized for years by his parents and has never learned any kind of coping mechanisms that don't involve substance abuse. But by the end of this book it was getting hard to feel any kind of sympathy for him. Patrick's detachment is almost complete, his addiction is unspeakably deep. There is virtually nothing else in the book besides his addiction. It was tolerable because St. Aubyn remains a fantastic writer, making this more visceral than most drug novels, and because I assume this is just one piece of the larger story of Patrick's life in the books to come. At least, I hope so.

  • Leseparatist
    2019-03-13 09:36

    As delightfully witty and terrible and mean and funny as the previous volume. The barrage of awfulness that is the inside of the protagonist's mind could become a little tiring, but it was always so on purpose. We follow a person who is deeply broken, sexist and racist and fatmisic (phobic really doesn't begin to describe him), and it's impossible not to feel some empathy while the book mocks him ruthlessly. There's a scene near the end where Patrick, quite high at the time, uses a variety of psychic techniques in an effort to seduce a girl without speaking to her that made me laugh out loud at its conclusion. And at the same time, what a moving, evocative portrayal of coping (or not coping) with trauma, of addiction and obsession and the very real suffering underneath. There's a line Patrick says in response to someone trying to excuse his father's behaviour: "Cruelty is the opposite of love ... not just some inarticulate version of it" that resonated with me. But now I guess I'll take a month or two off before I embark on Some Hope.

  • christa
    2019-02-26 10:05

    Well, nuts. I practically lit “Bad News,” the second book of Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series off of the first super innovative, funny, dark, mind-blowing first novel of the series and meh. It turned out be a dud follow up to a book that made me shoot exclamation points from my pores. In the first book, Patrick Melrose is a 5-year-old daredevil with the first assholic buds forming in his personality. “Never Mind” is a day in the life of his parents, their friends and the kid and the story is told in a way that takes a leisurely stroll from perspective to perspective, in the way you might overhear conversations as you walk through a mall. It is all headed toward a very uncomfortable and terrible dinner party. But before that, Patrick will be the victim in an especially ugly violation and maybe not even fully understand what has happened to him. The second book opens about 20 years later. Patrick Melrose’s wretched father has died and he is on his way to New York City to pick up the ashes. Luckily, he’s flying Concorde because, like a heightened case of his mother in Book One, it takes a careful calibration of drugs to level him out and booze can only sustain him for so long. Once again, the story covers a short span of time. This time the story is mostly internalized as Patrick meets with old family friends, tries to score bunches of drugs, picks up the remains of David Melrose, outwardly expresses that he despised his father but seems to be inwardly circling a more complicated set of emotions, gets suicidal, hallucinates, takes a dangerous amount of drugs, passes out in a bathroom and attempts to cheat on the adoring girlfriend he barely tolerates. The unfortunate thing about reading in 2013 is that there are no end to the addiction memoirs and 80s drug fiction and having this sort of background knowledge lessens the impact this story might have had in the mid-1990s when it was published. Though, as that is still a post-McInerney, post-Ellis era, it must have felt at least kind of tired at the time. Also, St. Aubyn’s skill as a writer with a great eye for details works against him and his drug scenes get bogged down with missed veins, blackened points of needle entry, muddled shoot ups and dropped syringes and if you’ve never considered the dance between Cocaine and Heroin, it’s a little tough to follow. Toward the end of the story, St. Aubyn taps into another strength: His stereo of character voices. Except it doesn’t really work here. It’s too little, too late and comes off as clunky rather than as clever as it was in the first novel. I suppose it would get exhausting to write the same way for each installment of a five-book series, but I kept thinking to myself: “Why can’t you be more like your first book?”Whatever. I’m in now. Moving on to “Some Hope.”

  • Alex Sarll
    2019-03-14 16:02

    I was only cautiously enthusiastic about the first Patrick Melrose novel - but with the second, I begin to see what St Aubyn is up to. Previously, we met Patrick as a shy, tormented five-year-old; now he's 22 and, not to put too fine a point on it, a total wanker - a selfish, self-pitying specimen, constantly taking one drug to balance out the other drug of which he just took too much while trying to take the edge off...and so forth. Which means that an awful lot of this book features St Aubyn's crystal prose applied to syringes, something of a sticking point (no pun intended) for me. But the beauty of it is that we've missed out all those crucial years you'd get in a typical bildungsroman, yet we can still see how the child is the father to the man - and more than that, how the dreadful father is father to the man. In a sense the structure reminds me of comics, static panels where the action is happening unseen in the gutter between them. I'm now looking forward very much to the third book - I just need a break from all the syringes and self-pity before I attempt it.

  • Lori
    2019-03-18 16:03

    After being totally enthralled with NEVER MIND, Edward St. Aubyn's first book in THE PETER MELROSE NOVELS, I was underwhelmed with BAD NEWS, Book #2. That's not to say that the writing was any less lyrical or impressive, rather the story about Peter learning of his father's death and traveling to New York to pick up his ashes is one in which I was underwhelmed. Nearly the entirety of the book was trying to figure out Peter's state of lucidity as he binged on alcohol and drugs. Understandably, Peter has been driven to this point by the difficult nature of trying to play the part of dutiful son and saving face in the midst of haughty society while managing his vile hatred for a man who abused and violated him as a young boy. However, there is little personal discovery or redemption for anyone - including the reader - who endures the self destructive rantings and behavior of a junky for 14 chapters. As I closed the book, all I could help thinking was "I hope Book 3 is more engaging like in Book 1 because I doubt Peter nor I could survive another one like BAD NEWS."

  • Antonomasia
    2019-03-13 11:49

    Bad News is well-written, but it lacks the millefeuille layers of Never Mind. The abuse memoir is often a hackneyed and unintelligent sort of book, so perhaps the first Patrick Melrose book is even more startling for being a very clever example of it. I was disappointed not to find similar intricacy and structure here - though the narrative form arguably reflects Patrick's self-absorption. The literary junkie-novel already has a grubbily illustrious history; I felt that St Aubyn's interiority, vicious wit and clarity still brought something new to it. But on the other hand I've hardly read anything of that subgenre since I was a student so a) I'm no expert on these books and b) a decade and a half has entirely altered my understanding of this particular subject - I have seen and heard enough to be fairly well-informed on the reality though not the fiction.

  • Phrynne
    2019-03-14 12:49

    This is book two in a series and it is not as appealing as book one although it is just as well written and occasionally quite funny. The main character, Patrick Melrose has grown up to be a serious drug addict and much of the book is about his addiction in great detail. I know a lot more about drug taking now than I have ever needed or wanted to know. However it is obviously just a stage in Patrick's life and I expect we will see him as a recovered addict in the next book. I plan on starting it right away - I need to know what happens next!

  • Katerina
    2019-03-11 16:59

    ("Страх и ненависть в Лас-Вегасе", только без Джонни Деппа.)Патрик Мелроуз с пакетиком с прахом своего мерзкого отца наперевес пробует разные наркотики в Нью-Йорке. Очень скучный и однообразный сюжет, но читается, как ни странно, легко.

  • Patrick
    2019-03-18 14:58

    [3.5]It doesn't have the 'not quite of this world' nightmare fairytale feel of the first book. And, perhaps inevitably given that it is narrated (almost) entirely from the point of view of Patrick Melrose, who is no longer the five year old to whom bad things happen, but a fairly insufferable self-absorbed heroin addict, it does feel very insular by comparison.And I think I've read enough novels about drug addiction. There were moments, such as the fugue-dream-nightmares Patrick experiences that made me think he was lifting straight from Trainspotting. Except, of course, he can't have been, because this was actually published the year before. On the other hand, it is, in places, very funny. Another reviewer has drawn a parallel with Withnail and I can kind of see it. I loved his account of his visit to the funeral parlour to pick up his father's ashes:"So you liked being with him in a place he didn't complain about?""Exactly. I couldn't believe my luck, and for a while I expected him to sit up in his coffin, like a vampire at sunset and say, "The service here is intolerable." Then we would have to go to three or four other funeral parlours. Mind you, thew servicewas intolerable. They sent me to the wrong corpse."Or his musing to himself at a dinner-date going awry:"Would you care for a dessert, sir?"At last, a real person with a real question, albeit a rather bizarre question. How was he supposed to 'care for' a dessert? Did he have to visit it on Sundays? Send it a Christmas card? Did he have to feed it?

  • Mark Joyce
    2019-03-06 08:43

    Bad News has strong similarities with the weaker novels of Brett Easton Ellis, in that it's a studiedly unpleasant, occasionally very funny but ultimately monotonous and forgetable depiction of a drug addicted misanthrope. For the same reason there are also parallels with Irvine Welsh, except St Aubyn's smackhead is a self-pitying English aristocrat rather than a violent Scottish sociopath. Irvine Welsh and Brett Easton Ellis are both perfectly decent authors that I've enjoyed reading, so that's not intended to be a dismissive comparison. However, the fawning reviews for the Patrick Melrose Novels led me to expect something a lot more substantial and interesting. Two books in and I'm still struggling to see what all the fuss is about.

  • Don
    2019-02-28 14:39

    This is the second of the Patrick Melrose series, the fifth of which has recently been published. I thought the first was very good and showed a great deal of promise for the series, which follows the life of the title character.This book was a disappointment. Patrick, a 5-year old in the first novel, is now in his early '20's and travels to New York to arrange for the cremation of his father, who has just died. Unfortunately, the book is, essentially, one long, unpleasant tour through Patrick's drug use--primarily heroin and coke, but also quaaludes, alcohol, uppers and downers. Although the book is fairly short--only about 150 pages--the long, detailed descriptions of his drug ingestion and reaction make it seem much longer and, frankly, convey more information that I really needed or wanted.

  • Ben Loory
    2019-02-16 13:57

    the first book was building the cannon; this book is the guy getting shot out of the cannon with forty thousand syringes stuck into him.

  • Beth Bonini
    2019-03-03 12:57

    In a nutshell: 22 year old Patrick Melrose travels on the Concorde from London to New York City to collect his father's ashes. He stays at the Pierre, he dabbles in squalor, he blows 10,000 dollars in three days on an epic bender, and he teeters on the edge of total mental and physical collapse. Paternal loathing and self-loathing vie for dominance in this meltdown by heroin, cocaine, speed, qualudes and alcohol. While I admired the vivid writing, I couldn't bear the graphic descriptions of the drug use. I was certainly persuaded of its authenticity, though. 3 stars is a compromise between how much I enjoyed it (not at all) and how much I admired it. I'm not at all put off from finishing the Patrick Melrose quintet, but I hope this is the protagonist at rock bottom.

  • Mark
    2019-03-16 13:44

    The Keith Richards of Upper Class LiteratureI avoided reading Edward St Aubyn, despite the many good reviews, because the fabulously wealthy hardly need or deserve any more assistance. And we will always be, at best, 'funny little people' to these superior-despite-being-rubbish-at what-little-work-they-do, cold, servant-abusing, professional heirs - take Emma Soames' morbidly obese, Tory git brother Nicholas Soames MP who persisted in referring to the aspiring socially Martin Amis as a 'scribbler', and no doubt much worse during various drunken dinners somewhere horrible in the countryside. However, I should have read St Aubyn sooner, as it turns out wealth is just as awful as the grim, grinding poverty down here.While some literary perverts will be more impressed with the smooth, flowing sentences I was most comforted by a glimpse into a world of excess that only Keith Richards could hope to emulate. There really is nothing to envy. You don't want to go there.There's wit allied to fresh wisdom: 'Short term memory loss is the Dr Moriarty of Drug Abuse'. I had thought this was just a problem for attempting to get through the rest of your life, but it does indeed sabotage the up time as well, as many of the blissed out trance states will be forgotten, even while they're happening, (not to mention the usual potentially fatal conflagrations, torched relationships, family meltdowns, career cul de sacs.)Tolerance? Even Patrick can't get enough gear, and his family have been rich since the Norman conquest. I once thought, looking at fifteen grammes of divinely sparkly ketamine, for my sole, undisturbed, non-stop use, "Yes, fantastic. But it will gone in three days." So it's comforting to learn from Bad News, the second Patrick Melrose novel, that there are endless ways in which to be dissatisfied with the staggering amounts of heroin and cocaine he has for intravenous injection. (In addition to the numerous failings of the finest hotels and restaurants also being 'intolerable'.) Twelve grammes of variously mixed speedballs vanish in a few days, plus assorted pills and bottles of spirits which are rendered undrinkable, by the tragic unavailability of ice. (but quickly dispatched anyway,) All this at twenty one years old.Too high, not high enough, missed the vein, am I dying?, will these street dealers kill me?, unavailability of syringes or their malfunction. However mundane your hobby is - as mine are, fetishism, extreme ketamine binges, Scrabble, chess, posting on a Martin Amis website, - it has to be better than this. Ten grand a week cheaper anyway.Even if you're rich you still have to negotiate 'straights', including passing cops, will they notice trickles of blood, sweat-drenched pallour, no appetite, unexplained absences, twitching limbs, a malfunctioning eye disguised by a patch? Although no one will complain, if your clothes are expensive enough, you really might as well buy a pair of trainers and go jogging. An endorphin habit and dodgy bones in your old age, anything, has to be better than this. It's supposed to be an error conflating the writer and narrator but there would be no point inventing this character unless you had some especially scary ghosts in the machine. I especially liked the Manhattan mortuary not bothering to apologize for introducing the protagonist to the wrong cadaver. Seems real, anyway.Someone should make immensely rich film guru Robert McKee read this (he's never written a produced script, of course.) The author of industry bible Story will probably drop dead somewhere during the streams of multi voice inner consciousness, well after the non appearance of a second act plot point. We may not be overwhelmed with conflict and Story but we are most certainly entertained. And I do like lived experience sculpted into art, tragedy plus time making humour. Plus the author is a humble, unassuming chap who has yet to demand immortality. Unlike Martin Amis. You can see why people like him. this marathon blurt, by my own recent, blocked, standards, I collapsed on the couch to solace decades of public and private failure with Oliver James's They F*** You Up - How To Survive Family Life, I was pleased to see 'Teddy St Aubyn' thanked in its acknowledgements. Whether this is synchronicity or a very slow burn media saturation I can't wait to get to St Aubyn's non Patrick Melrose new age satires, now I have to collect the set._________________"Manic Depression. The Mike Tyson of mental diseases." Martin Amis Night Train.....................................Incidentally, I shouldn't have been cheered that John Cleese is on his third divorce, after he once wrote about how to survive family and marriage, with a shrink, from a pro therapy viewpoint. Even the occasionally triumphalist Cleese shouldn't have had to hand over £12million, and a £600.000 yearly alimony. Absolutely no one should. I suppose the lesson is Don't Marry Americans, even if they are psychotherapists and you believe in this peculiar 20th century superstition. Surely this latest failure and Woody Allen's various dysfunctional families are (very expensive) proof that it's quicker, and cheaper, to stupefy yourself with alcohol? Or am I missing something?

  • Bekka
    2019-03-08 16:57

    Enjoyed this one a lot more than the first one, it felt like more was going on, and seeing inside Patrick's head the whole way through was fascinating, especially as he hallucinated. Have to say though, I wouldn't recommend this if you have a needle phobia, I have a severe one and the amount of talk about injecting into veins freaked me out a lot more than I thought possible. Other than that though, thoroughly enjoyed it, onto the next one!

  • Bookshire Cat
    2019-02-25 16:45

    Well, this was much better than the first part. It's kinda weird to say that about a depressing drug rollercoaster but I found the writing much more elegant and the Patrick's point of view was really interesting. I wonder how it is possible to write about drugs in a way that is disgusting and apealing at the same time. Looking forward to the next part.

  • Maria
    2019-03-18 14:47

    Patrick goes to New York to pick up his fathers ashes. Patrick is an addict and does a lot of drugs. After two days, Patrick goes back to the airport. This book really disappointed me: maybe 10 pages story and then 238 about drugs and it's consequential hallucinations.

  • Christopher Roth
    2019-02-18 08:55

    I would have a higher opinion of this book if people didn't persist in comparing Edward St. Aubyn to Evelyn Waugh in every book review and back-cover blurb. Sure, St. Aubyn writes mainly about wealthy English people and he has a dark sense of humor and a lovely, effortless prose style, but his prose style isn't nearly Waughian in its quality, and unlike Waugh's these books are too self-involved to have any social satire in them. Maybe I'm being unfair: after all, the book is about a few days in the life of a hardcore heroin addict, so how much social commentary can you fit into a book whose plot consists in waiting on street corners for a dealer, trying to find a vein that still works, and then throwing up and passing out in a bathroom stall (but in a really REALLY nice restaurant!)? Also, the rationale for WHY Melrose is a drug addict is not left to the imagination; we're told again and again that it's all because his pa buggered him. This is something that Waugh would never never never have done: decided that someone's boorishness and insufferability were due to some trauma in childhood that is not his or her fault. No, that is a perfectly AMERICAN strategy for embellishing character in fiction (and I don't mean that as a compliment), and it is, on a literary level, a cop-out. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed this novel utterly, and I'll read the next one, too, though I may stop with that one if it involves Melrose joining N.A. and then tearfully telling his therapist WHY he's such an asshole and then becoming NICE. The one thing that's GOOD about English fiction is that flawed characters aren't constantly being redeemed and forgiven. Let's hope Patrick Melrose won't be either.

  • Linda
    2019-02-24 09:53

    Like the first book in this series (which I read three years ago?) this was beautiful and funny but also vaguely nauseating. If Never Mind was about the dissipation of Patrick's parents, Bad News is an ode to a (celebratory? mournful? there was nothing better to do?) three day heroin binge on the eve of his father's death. A friend of mine once described Aubyn's writing as very "self-conscious," and part of the book's appeal is how thoughtfully its words are chosen (once he describes heroin as "as soft and rich as the throat of a wood pigeon") and its careful lack of tiresome sentimentality. However, beneath it all, there's an undercurrent of Patrick pretending his abusive father doesn't affect him anymore and trying to avoid thinking about him in the embrace of drugs (which make things better before making them infinitely worse via a greek chorus of cliche characters and archetypes that clatter around his head). This is not a self-indulgent book though, Aubyn is unsympathetic to his author stand-in Patrick and his writing is funny in a brittle way that often slips into the absurd (Patrick's drug dealer is a frenchman who spent ten years in a mental hospital thinking he was an egg).

  • Momo
    2019-03-10 13:53

    The second of Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels, "Bad News" is a harrowing read as Patrick, now in his early twenties, flies to New York to claim his abusive father's ashes and spends 24 hours careering from one drug-addicted episode to another. Aubyn's depiction of heroin-addled Patrick and what he endures for a fix makes for hard reading at times, but his use of language is so sharp and crisp, and the control he exhibits in conveying Patrick's changing states of mind is exciting. Particularly virtuosic is the delirious symphony of voices he crowds into Patrick's brain as the young man tries to sleep and pass time before he can shoot up again. Perhaps even more skillful is Aubyn's ability to make us (or at least me) continue to care about Patrick, in spite of the repulsive way he treats himself and views others as a means of surviving his past.

  • Michele Weiner
    2019-03-17 10:42

    Part two of the Patrick Melrose novels. Patrick is 22 years old and a hopeless drug addict. This entire book takes place during a quick visit to New York City, where Patrick is collecting the body of his father, who died on a trip to the US. Patrick is both attracted to and repelled by his father, and embarrasses himself repeatedly as he attempts to maintain some sort of appropriate contact with the world his father inhabited. Another difficult read, as Patrick is close to death most of the time. Like watching a train wreck, but very well-written. I am wondering what on earth could intervene to keep Patrick alive long enough for the series to continue, which I know it does.

  • Brett
    2019-03-17 11:39

    You know what's more boring to someone than telling them about your dreams? Telling a recovered addict about the details of one of your binges. OK I get it - St Aubyn either was one or knows one - it was pretty decent detail though you can never really write down all the shit going on in someone's head who's shooting for the line just short of OD but It's as good as I've seen...but still, where was the clever Britcasm of the first least it was short. On to the next one. And again, retrieving your fathers ashes from New York, scoring and shooting drugs and getting on a plane home does not a novel make.

  • Spencer Keasey
    2019-03-17 10:03

    The most difficult book I could possibly read right now with just 5 months away from the needle. That said, I am also trying to write about the same subject, and while my demons tend to want to tear everything I put down as some form of melodrama, reading Bad News became a form of comfort. No, I am not alone. Yes, an entire book can be about addiction. And then there are the father issues....Oy. This man can write and can make me connect in the strangest, the most unlikely, and in downright hideous ways.

  • Samuel
    2019-03-10 11:49

    One of the best and funniest books I've read recently, and a far superior sequel to its predecessor, 'Never Mind'. We find Patrick in New York, shooting up and snorting, eager to pick up his tyrannical father's ashes. Over the course of a couple of days, Patrick goes deliciously bonkers, filling himself with lavish dinners and copious drugs in a Withnail-esque binge. St Aubyn's prose style is wickedly addictive and occasionally stomach-churning, but always, always hilarious. I want to follow Patrick Melrose to the very end, and beyond.

  • James Lark
    2019-03-06 13:39

    Grim. Actually grimmer, if possible, than the first Melrose novel, and certainly more viscerally unpleasant. Yes, there's a deftness to the writing and a dark humour that makes it all horribly readable, but I was pretty weary by the end of it. I have three more of these books on the shelf and I'm reckoning there's no clever unexpected note of optimism waiting at the end of them, just more clever clever wry observations about the futility of everything. Can't wait.