Never Mind

Never Mind by Edward St Aubyn (1992) I knew nothing about this book except the date (I have to keep reminding myself that the Nineties is not yesterday anymore, but ancient history) and that it's supposedly somewhat autobiographical fiction (which means nothing, ultimately) and it's “book one” of a five part series (known as “The Patrick Melrose Novels”), which is the real appeal to me going in, and I imagine a lot of people; we love when there is the promise of more (and in some cases, more and more and more). Also, I heard they were making a movie or TV series based on the books, starring Benedict Cummerbund. So, if there is a book, and then a movie or TV show made from it, if you think there is any chance you might read the book(s) ever, you should always read the books first—you owe that much to yourself, because a book is an intimate relationship between the author and you (who must do much of the hard work in creating a fictional world), created outside the realm of finance (time being the commodity you and the author share). Movies and TV shows necessarily have huge influences of money, and a collaboration of artists, including composers, visual artists, and actors, among others. Movies are short form, while books are long form (TV lies in between, but is still on the short form side of the spectrum). I know this is all obvious, but in case you forgot. Anyway, I started reading, expecting I might abandon the story pretty quick. While I have an obsession with books about people like myself (privileged white person with a magical childhood), I have an aversion to stories about privileged white people with traumatic childhoods, and I admit to being somewhat of an Anglophobe, as well. Well, as it turns out, something immediately drew me into this sordid, caustic, claustrophobic story about people I didn't relate to, in a setting I didn't recognize. Except that maybe there was a universality to the setting, a compelling depiction of some aspect of the natural world, including weather, that drew me in? Besides that, it could only be something I'd lamely describe as good writing. I'm always on the lookout for that. If I could say what it is that makes writing good, maybe I'd just shut up and do it instead of continuing to lumber along like a maddeningly verbose, obtuse and confusing friend, who we continue to tolerate, even love, because we're, at best, human.