Mother's Milk (READ)

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Something in here This was shortlisted in 2005 booker prize and a recent addition to the Prize and a recent addition to the Books You Must Read Before You Die So there must be something hereI am glad I persevered This is a strangely beautiful bookIt s about the effect of mothers to their children All mothers are human being and they are different from each other There are two types of mothers here the one who gives everything away and the one who keeps everything to herself In the center of these mothers is the Melrose family The father Patrick is the son of the mother who gives everything away This mother is even thinking of giving *their house to a shaman whose spirituality has affected the her in her dying days Patrick hates his * house to a shaman whose spirituality has affected the her in her dying days Patrick hates his so he channels that hate to his wife Mary by having a mistress Mary in turn retreats and distances herself from Patrick by focusing her full attention to his sons the 5 o Robert and the newly born Thomas The other mother is Mary s this is the mother that keeps everything to herself and Mary also hates her so she makes sure to be the opposite a very loving mother to her sons despite being a distant wifeThe plot is not really new In fact I prefer the emotion and the style of a similar book the one I read and enjoyed last The Watchmakers Lady year Siri Hustvedt s What I Loved However there is no death here so there is no earth shattering event that turns the world of the characters upside down Everything seems to be hinged in subtlety and the selling proposition is really on how clever small children can be compared to their parents Those narration of the 5o Robert is something that should be the reason why this book is a must read In real life according to Wiki the author of this book Edward St Aubyn was raped by a male relative when he was a child Prior to this novel he wrote an autobiographical trilogy Some Hope where he wrote the details on this rape experience That book is said to be written with strong paternal viewpoint This book Mother s Milk balances the view as it has strong maternal viewpointI think the reason why St Aubyn gave strong intellectual adult viewpoint to the 5 o Robert was to show that a small boy can have the awareness of an adult and that any child maltreatment or molestation has a strong effect to the life and personality of a person Those sad experiences will stay with the wrong child as long as he or she lives If are a writer and ou d like to see a strange because it challenges conventions use of POV give this book a try Judging by the goodreads reviews which are usually very reliable this book seems to have been mis marketed Readers complain that the characters are unpleasant which Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood you should know going in I admit and that St Aubyn is too much of a stylist which sounds to me like saying a composer is too musical or a basketball player is too athletic From a straight descriptionou might think this is akin to say Gerard Woodward s semi autobiographical trilogy addiction family issues well written etc From the blurbs とんび you might think it s a soap opera Sam Lipsyte couldn t do better than harrowing entertainment I guess it s entertainment ifou assume that serious art is only produced in American MFA programs So prospective reader know that St Aubyn s work is a salad and that the ingredients are Proust s essayistic novel form As with Proust The Concubine you have to read carefully Wilde s utterly unrealisticet brilliant dialogue As with Wilde he s sometimes too clever for his own good Waugh s ambivalent upper class satire Richard Yates beautifully styled misanthropy As with Yates it can all get a little tiring This is not to say he s the next Proust or Wilde of course But he s at least on a level with Yates This novel is beautifully and intelligently crafted The opening section told through the eyes of a 5 Surfing: The World's Best Surf Breaks and Techniques (World Sports Guide) year old should be ridiculously uirky but is one of the best thirty or so pages published so far this century in English St Aubyn clearly knows that the whole thing could be disastrous and plays around with this fact The shifting points of view throughout the novel are uite knowing as well St Aubyn refuses to insult his readers intelligence by dumbing his work down and using old moves from the realism rulebook At the same time he holds on to what is valuable in the realistic tradition a respect for the world outside of literature the great potential of ironic narration and the ability to put his readers into perspectives they ordinarily would not take up In short an almost ideal blend of self reflection social thought and artistry The prose is so clear that it s often too easy to read takeour time and try to understand exactly what s going on It helps to have read the other books in the series but it s probably not necessary If The Infernal you know this stuff going inou ll hopefully get out of the book than some reviewers seem to have done. Mother All the while St Aubyn examines the web of false promises that entangles this once illustrious family whose last vestige of wealth an estate in the South of France is about to be permanently donated by Patrick’s mother to a new age foundation The result is captivating and unexpecte. R the promised catharsis of the last book35 stars Number Four In The Series And Patrick Is Married With Children in the series and Patrick is married with children start of this book is amazing when we meet Patrick s first child Robert Really it is all nonsense as no child could possibly be like this but the writing is so beautiful and the ideas so lovely Robert uickly became my favourite character I was hoping that Patrick would finally find himself in this book but he has not Understandable really as there is still one book to go Can t wait Whewif ou start the St Aubyn what is the word for 1 after a wait Whewif ou start the St Aubyn what is the word for 1 after a series at the first book and read through the character s journey from abuse to drugs to misanthropy to redemption is unlike anything I ve ever read It s on a par with Waugh for meanness and wit and flow and that s high praise but unlike Waugh he has a genuine conscience and wants to understand his and his character s processes The degradation and deep amusement at the worst aspects of everyone in the first four books make the coming to peace of this one credible It s very moving and true and not at all sentimental At times this volume gets a little expositorythere are moments in all the books including this one where ou have to put our finger between the pages and hold Heart of the Night Secret Agent Series your head down becauseou re laughing to hard to read a thingin time when I ve recovered I ll go back and read all four with care Can t recommend these enough I read Never Mind and had to keep stopping to copy down sentences because I couldn t bear to let them go St Aubyn lacerates ou with the taut wire strength of his prose and intellect the book is profoundly beautiful and profoundly shocking Part of the shock with all of them is one s own complicity Bad News is a tour de force of writing and experience that is the emptiest of reviews so I would just say go and read it You feel drowned in someone else s perception Some Hope made me feel like killing myself Think Evelyn Waugh without anyone having the thinnest shred of redemptive goodness Mother s Milk If ou think of giving up before this one don t Someone said to me that A Bush Calendar you thinkou read the others for themselves until ou come to this one and see that all the others are for this one I think that s true This one is the pinnacle This isn t a series it s an ascent Edward St Aubyn After what looked like an emotional breakthrough at the end of Some Hope here we find Patrick embroiled in another or the same bleak emotional landscape It s now 2000 he s acuired a wife now pregnant and a 5 ear old son in the break between books and the status of fatherhood leads him perhaps inevitably back to his own disturbed childhood I m not in any serious doubt that everything I m going through at the moment corresponds with the texture of my infancy in some way Widening out the perspective beyond Patrick himself we are also in the heads of the self consciously precocious children let go of expectations of realism here and go with it and Patrick s wife Mary If he s struggling with how to be a father her experience of motherhood is a fitting parallelview spoiler this time her erotic life was subsumed with Thomas Her relationship with Patrick was dead hide spoiler Another five star read from Edward St AubynIt is as a cumulative experience that these Patrick Melrose novels work best There s little point just reading one as the experience only really makes sense if 50 Years of Silence you treat the five short Patrick Melrose novels as one long book Mother s Milk along with the rest of the Patrick Melrose novels shares a clear lineage to both Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh which asou don t need me to tell Vide et plein you is a very positive thingIn Mother s Milk we jump ahead to 200001 Patrick is now married with twooung children Having skewered the English aristocracy drug taking and luxury s disappointment here Edward St Aubyn trains his unerring coruscating laser on bour 4 is as hard to rate as the rest being like them wildly uneven At least to my taste In Mother s Milk the characters around Patrick Melrose are no good at all vague phoned in not uite there boring But from Patrick s point of view St Aubyn s prose rockets into Cioran ish heights of nihilist lyricism The sardonic harmonies of the stupid generations are ever obvious to our extending lifespans and bored self devouring domestic over analysis Vistas of futility illuminated further and further behind Aren t The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race you reading rather too much into those two words What else is ther This book challenged the convention of believability in using POV The book opens with a chapter narrated by a fiveear old boy Robert Melrose thinking and having insights of that of an intelligent adult At first it threw me off Unbelievable Who did St Aubyn think he was Augusten Burroughs It took me a while before I reopened the book I said to myself there must be. Ho provides an exceptionally droll and convincing account of being born; then Patrick a hilariously churlish husband who has been sexually abandoned by his wife in favor of motherhood; then Mary who’s consumed by her children and an overwhelming desire not to repeat the mistakes of her own. Really enjoyed this It s clever funny but it loses a star because the author faithfully touches all the familiar moans of British anti Americanism Americans are fat and can t fit all the familiar moans of British anti Americanism Americans are fat and can t fit aeroplane seats American food is revolting and the pizzas not as good as European ones American TV is mindless Baseball is boring Everyone who works in the American service industry pretends

to be cheerful 
be cheerful American approach to health and safety is infantilising American millionaires are vulgar and have vulgar gardens Americans support a nuclear Israel Americans are always suing each other over the littlest inconveniences American hotels have machines that ejaculate ice cubes I m not sure why this last one is bad They ll love it in The New Statesman our water tank burst and flooded the apartment downstairs Our neighbours are suing us so we re suing the plumbers who only put the tank in last Punainen kuin veri year The plumbers are suing the tank company for defective design And the residents are suing the building even though they re all on vacation because the water was cut off for two days instead of two hours which caused them a lot of mental stress in Tuscany and Nantucket Gosh said Mary What s wrong with mopping up and getting a new water tank That is so English said Sally delighted by Mary s uaint stoicismThe first part would be funny if I didn t think a Guardian reader was delighting friends with this as a true story The second part is only forgivable if St Aubyn isn t English I was just tellingour parents they ought to take Make You Mine you to see the real Father Christmas said Jilly dishing out the food Concorde from Gatwick in the morning up to LaplandHadn t Jilly heard of the Paris crash Concorde was grounded for the rest of 2000 Raggie with a label he sobbed She handed him a Harrington suare with the label still on it A raggie without a label was not just unconsoling but doubly upsetting because of its tantalizing resemblance to the ones which still had labelsI really don t know what a Harrington suare is Did I miss somethingIllness had blown her apart like a dandelion clock He had wondered if he would end up like that a few seeds stuck to a broken stemWhereas the London parks he knew seemed to insist on nature Central Park insisted on recreation Didou know said Patrick addressing Seamus again that among the caribou herdsmen of Lapland the top shaman gets to drink the urine of the reindeer that has eaten the magic mushrooms and his assistant drinks the urine of the top shaman and so on all the way down to the lowest of the low who scramble in the snow pleading for a splash of twelfth generation caribou pissI didn t know that said Seamus flatlyI thought it was our special field said Patrick surprised Anyhow the irony is that the premier cru the first hit is much the most toxic Poor old top shaman is reeling and sweating trying to get all the poison out whereas a few damaged livers later the urine is harmless without having lost its hallucinogenic power Such is the human attachment to status that people will sacrifice for their peace of mind and their precious time in order to pickaxe their way towards what turns out to be a thoroughly poisonous experience This book had just as much biting incisive writing as the first three books but it felt much aimless at least in the middle The beginning of the book actually starts out from the perspective of a newborn baby and frankly I thought that part was genius The POV is from Patrick s son and we see him grow up from inside his head It s really hard to describe and it was super weird but it also worked really wellThe part that really got me though which was the same thing that got me during this episode of the TV mini series is that Patrick and his crisis largely doesn t interest me Patrick and his wife Mary are struggling to overcome the weights of their past and Patrick is not succeeding very well His children are extremely intelligent and his wife retreats into motherhood as an antidote to Patrick s misery which threatens to bring everyone around them down He can t let anything go And meanwhile his mother with whom he has a conflicted relationship anyway is dying and in nursing care and her descent into a second infancy but one full of misery and pain only exacerbates his issuesThe uote I ve excerpted above is one that Patrick throws out at Seamus the charlatan who has taken his mother s wealth in the guise of charity and it s a powerful commentary on how both Patrick and St Aubyn feel about humanity s fucked up priorities But that moment is just one stuck in the middle of the book which is largely made up of Patrick s family life falling apart as he teeters on the verge of fucking up his sons not the way he was fucked up by his father but in a different way altogether because he can t get over his pastI m very ready fo. A New York Times Notable Book Mother’s Milk is a brilliantly stylish and witty novel by a master of modern British fiction Widely acclaimed in the United States and the UK Mother’s Milk follows the Melroses the same family featured in St Aubyn’s trilogy Some Hope First we meet Robert Mother's Milk