From The New Yorker
This slim novel centers on Patrick Melrose, a London barrister whose toxic childhood and protracted adolescence were chronicled in St. Aubyn's "Some Hope" trilogy. Patrick now has a wife and two young sons, but he remains subject to the whims of his senile mother. She has donated the house where he grew up, in Provence, for use as a New Age retreat, leaving Patrick and his dependents to spend holidays there as increasingly unwelcome guests. Narrated by turns from the perspectives of Patrick, his wife, and their elder son, the novel vividly captures how the family members' roles shift with the birth of the second son and the deterioration of Patrick's mother. The book's structure, however, is overschematic, and St. Aubyn's satiric barbs, although as deadly as ever, are wasted on easy targets—like uncouth Americans and New Age hypocrites.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker