Rediscover: Patrick Melrose

Edward St. Aubyn was born in 1960 to an American heiress and an aristocratic surgeon father. His childhood--split between homes in London and France--was marked by severe abuse at the hands of his father and an indifferent mother. By the time St. Aubyn attended Oxford, he was a suicidal heroin addict. In his mid-20s, he began psychotherapy and turned to writing. He eventually became sober, married and has two children. His traumatic life in the upper crust of English society forms the basis five autobiographical novels written between 1992 and 2012, one of which, Mother's Milk (2006), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The Patrick Melrose books (Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk and At Last) track a fictionalized St. Aubyn, Patrick Melrose, through an abusive upbringing, drug and alcohol addiction, recovery, the deaths of his parents, marriage and a writing career. The novels have earned acclaim for their takedown of British upper classes, for exposing the triviality of those with inherited wealth and exploring the impacts of childhood adversity on adults. This coming Saturday, May 12, a five-part miniseries starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Patrick Melrose will start airing on Showtime, with each episode covering one of St. Aubyn's books. Picador has published a tie-in edition of all five Patrick Melrose novels in a single volume ($20, 9781250305664). --Tobias Mutter

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