Fake Book Review: Mother’s Milk by Edward St. Aubyn

I'd been meaning to read Mother's Milk ever since Elizabeth Spiers gave it her enthusiastic endorsement back in late 2005.  Three years and $.94 plus shipping on Amazon later, I finally got around to checking out this worthy entry into the canon of English comic novels.

Turns out St. Aubyn is a master of the literary form known as "playful interor monologue of the over-educated white male with a bit of a drinking problem."

Spiers said her initial impressions of St. Aubyn's prose were Waugh-tinged, but mine ran more to the Amis (both pere and fils) side of the English comic master scale.  Some of the set pieces in Mothers Milk are straight from the John Self playbook. 

Summed up in a rambling two sentences, the theme of Mother's Milk is: "The arrival of children completely alters the marital relationship, marooning the man's sex drive on the barren shoals of the woman's re-directed affections towards the ceaselessly clamoring offspring. And what's a poor fella who's now getting on in years supposed to do?"

The book is not all middle-aged male angst though.  St. Aubyn cleverly narrates several chapters through the eyes of the protagonist's kid and wife.  The guy's clearly done his psychology and philosphy homework too. 

I endorse Mother's Milk as enthusiastically as Spiers once did.