On an Edward St Aubyn bender

Edward St Aubyn novelsImagine that you hear a rich and beautiful voice in the next room. The speaker is articulate, uses apt similes and metaphors, and entertains with a sardonic wit. You move closer the better to appreciate the performance. You realise that the story the beautiful voice is telling is a dark one, featuring rich but dysfunctional and miserable people. Some of the events circle around a loathsome man who is a sadist. The other characters include alcoholics and prescription drug addicts, social climbers, an abused child and wife, a neglectful mother. Your dilemma is this: do you endure the mordant tale for the sake of the skill with which it is told?

While I don’t agree with the hyperventilating comparisons to Wilde and Waugh, I devoured Never Mind in a day and resolved to get the rest of the Edward St Aubyn ‘Melrose’ novels as soon as the shops opened. It was a bit like resolving to go ahead with a relationship despite discovering that your new-found partner has nasty relatives. I never would have chosen to read about such unpleasant, ludicrously rich and snobby people if I hadn’t heard what a fine writer St Aubyn was. Despite the darkness, I’m glad I did.

I’m now reading Bad News and have the remaining ‘Melrose’ novels close to hand. My eyes keep flicking to them like a junkie triple-checking his pockets for that last gram. The terrible part is that the closer I get to the next book, the closer I get to the end of the supply.

© JD Ellevsen

If you liked this post, you might also like That VoiceDisneyland of Death (The Loved One), and How to win the Booker prize (or at least get shortlisted)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s