A review by ashleylm
Never Mind by Edward St Aubyn


Rather an odd read. I stumbled across these series as being on some sort of "funny book" list, and I love genuinely comic novels (and sometimes humurous memoirs, but a genuinely comic novel is a very rare treat).

I did not find this to be a funny book. It was a beautifully-rendered tale of almost entirely terrible people, some of the worst people (outside of a murder-mystery with serial killers) I've ever read read about. The writing is exquisite, the subject matter is dross.

I've never held the requirement that books have to be about wonderful people—A Confederacy of Dunces or the Lucia series mostly deal with the very flawed, and I love them—but I think if you're going to write about terrible people, even for a short time, you need to supply more than simply elegant writing. It's like a restaurant with terrible food and gorgeous presentation, and that's not a superficial analogy like I usually use. It's almost exactly the same experience. You are impressed and dazzled at the presentation which raises your expectations, but they are dashed as you taste each dish and realise it's not going to improve over the last course/chapter.

I may or may not try the next one (I'll read the reviews more carefully). I did finish this—it was brief, and thus I could get it down—but it wasn't what I expected or wanted.

(Note: I'm a writer, so I suffer when I offer fewer than five stars. But these aren't ratings of quality, they're a subjective account of how much I liked the book: 5* = an unalloyed pleasure from start to finish, 4* = enjoyed it, 3* = readable but not thrilling, 2* = disappointing, and 1* = hated it.)