Bad News


Edward St Aubyn

First Sentence:     Patrick pretended to sleep, hoping the seat next to him would remain empty, but he soon heard a briefcase sliding into the overhead compartment.

Back of the book:

THE SECOND PATRICK MELROSE NOVEL. Twenty-two years old and in the grip of a massive addiction, Patrick Melrose is forced to fly to New York to collect his father’s ashes. Over the course of a weekend, Patrick’s remorseless search for drugs on the avenues of Manhattan, haunted by old acquaintances and insistent inner voices, sends him into a nightmarish spiral. Alone in his room at the Pierre Hotel, he pushes body and mind to the very edge – desperate always to stay one step ahead of his rapidly encroaching past.

Quotes from the book:

The neighbouring lanes bore witness to the usual combination of excess and decay. Enormous battered cars with sloppy engines, and black-windowed limos, swarmed into the city, like flies on their favourite food. Patrick stared at the dented hubcap of an old white station wagon. It had seen so much, he reflected, and remembered nothing, like a slick amnesiac reeling in thousands of images and rejecting them instantly, spinning out its empty life under a paler wider sky.

‘As the telephone rang he wondered again what kept him from suicide. Was it something as contemptible as sentimentality, or hope, or narcissism? No. It was really the desire to know what would happen next, despite the conviction that it was bound to be horrible: the narrative suspense of it all.’

The smell of cocaine assailed him and he felt his nerves stretching like piano wires. The heroin followed in a soft rain of felt hammers playing up his spine and rumbling into his skull.

* * * *

Last Sentence:     He sprawled across the black leather seat, closed his eyes, and pretended to sleep.