Never Mind

This is the five-year-old Patrick Melrose (or, well, the narrator conjuring him, or, well, the narrator conjuring Patrick who seems to have felt precisely how I felt during childhood) in the opening pages of Edward St. Aubyn's Never Mind. I really try not to read solipsistically, but sometimes I can't help it.

"Even when you were awake it was hard to know what grown-ups meant when they said things. One day he had worked out a way of guessing what they were going to do: no meant no, maybe meant perhaps, yes meant maybe and perhaps meant no, but the system did not work, and he decided that maybe everything meant perhaps."