Mother's Milk

Mother's Milk

A Novel

Book - 2006
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Writing with the scathing wit and bright perceptiveness for which he has become known, celebrated English author Edward St. Aubyn creates a complex family portrait that examines the shifting allegiances between mothers, sons, and husbands. The novel's perspective ricochets among all members of the Melrose family -- the family featured in St. Aubyn's widely praised trilogy, Some Hope -- starting with Robert, who provides an exceptionally droll and convincing account of being born; to Patrick, a hilariously churlish husband who has been sexually abandoned by his wife in favor of his sons; to Mary, who's consumed by her children and overwhelming desire not to repeat the mistakes of her own mother. All the while, St. Aubyn examines the web of false promises that entangle this once illustrious family -- whose last vestige of wealth, an old house in the south of France -- is about to be donated by Patrick's mother to a New Age foundation. An up-to-the-minute dissection of the mores of child-rearing, marriage, adultery, and assisted suicide, Mother's Milk showcases St. Aubyn's luminous and acidic prose -- and his masterful ability to combine the most excruciating emotional pain with the driest comedy.
Publisher: New York City : Open City Books, 2006
ISBN: 9781890447403
Branch Call Number: FIC SAI
Characteristics: 235 p. ; 22 cm


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Oct 03, 2012

Stylish, whip-smart and very funny. There is no protagonist as such. Rather, the four members of a nuclear family are examined in turn as they cope with the loss of their last connection to former glories.
Patrick, the father, at times resembles a Kingsley Amis anti-hero played by John Cleese. Sometimes the insight into character is incredible, sometimes it sounds like someone who knows humans only through a psychology textbook. A sojourn in America allows St Aubyn to unload just about every cliche the English love to use about that country. In sum, there are many uneven patches here, but the unfaltering elegance of the style and the deep sympathy St Aubyn feels with his characters carries the book along.

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