Read Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn Free Online
Book Title: Bad News|
The author of the book: Edward St. Aubyn
ISBN 13: 9781447202950
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 2.22 MB
Edition: Picador USA
Date of issue: April 1st 2012
Reader ratings: 4.8
Loaded: 102 times
Read full description of the books Bad News:
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.
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 I
as 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.
Withnail: [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 be
Wonderland 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 Burroughs
Trainspotting 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 Thompson
All 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.
Read information about the authorEdward St Aubyn was born in London in 1960. He was educated at Westminster school and Keble college, Oxford University. He is the author of six novels, the most recent of which, ‘Mother’s Milk’, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, won the 2007 Prix Femina Etranger and won the 2007 South Bank Show award on literature.
His first novel, ‘Never Mind’ (1992) won the Betty Trask award. This novel, along with ‘Bad News’ (1992) and ‘Some Hope’ (1994) became a trilogy, now collectively published under the title ‘Some Hope’.
His other fiction consists of ‘On the Edge’ (1998) which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and A Clue to the Exit (2000).
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