Genre: fiction about dysfunctional families. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.82. ⭐️Stars from me: 3.5
I just realised that telling you about each of the novels in the series can be a spoiler on its own. I mean, this way you learn that Patrick, a survivor of a horrible childhood and a person with a history of drug addiction, doesn’t die and continues to grow older. Thus, if you want to dive into the novels completely unaware of the story’s direction, you might want to ignore my reviews of the novels completely. I still give out no spoilers in each review, so decide for yourself. Here’s my review of Some Hope, the third novel about Patrick Melrose.
What is it like?
First of all, it’s easier to read. At some point I even checked if I was really reading a Melrose novel because the sentences of the first two books took much longer to unravel. The hallmark sharp writing that reveals people’s essence in just one sentence is still here.
Bridget seldom found the time to see her daughter. She could not forgive her for being a girl…
Johny looked at Amanda and marvelled again at the phenomenon of pretty girls who were not at all sexy.
Obeying the law that people always loathe those they have wronged, Sonny found himself especially allergic to Bridget…
Alexander Politsky, whose extreme Englishness derived from his being Russian, was perhaps the last man in England to use the term ‘old bean’ sincerely.
The humour is still here too.
‘Do you know where we are?’ asked Tom.
‘Sure,’ said Anne. ‘We’re out of our minds.’
Patrick is as quotable as ever.
‘One seldom knows whether perseverance is noble or stupid until it’s too late.’
‘It was a terrible shock to me when I realized I was getting too old to die young anymore.’
‘There’s no point in staying stuck,’ Patrick agreed. ‘But there’s even less point in pretending to be free.’
I could probably quote the whole book to you. I had to restrain myself from sharing all of the quotes so that you can discover the gems for yourself.
What’s wrong with the book, then?
Have you seen all those people in the quotes? There are actually even more of them. They all keep talking all the time! Do you see how awesome Patrick is, how interesting it is to listen to him? Well, there isn’t enough of him in this book. All those strangers keep philosophising at a dinner party, but with all due respect to them, I’m in this for Patrick not for them. That’s why I’m giving the book 3.5 stars. The lack of any action played its role too. One single step that Patrick takes towards hope is really meaningful but not enough for a reader who’s been dragging through tons of strangers’ conversations!
So, is there any hope?
Yes, there definitely is, but don’t hold your breath, it’s just a glimmer of hope.
Will I continue with the series?
I’m already continuing. I’m reading the fourth novel at the moment. I can’t let go of the writing that is so perfect. In his novels Edward St. Aubyn is doing the main thing that I love about literature. He’s cutting to the core with just a few phrases. He’s giving names to the things that you feel were always there but you become fully aware of them only when they acquire form. Edward St. Aubyn achieves this in all the three Patrick Melrose novels that I’ve read so far.