James Naughtie and a group of readers talk to author Edward St Aubyn, who is best known for his five autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, which dissect the agonies of family life with honesty, wit and precision. His debut novel Never Mind won a Betty Trask award, while our chosen book is the fourth in the Melrose series, Mother's Milk, and was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker prize. In Mother's Milk, the middle aged Patrick Melrose is married with two young children. He finds his wife consumed with motherhood and his mother consumed by a New Age Foundation, and about to disinherit him in favour of a suspect Irish shaman. The novel opens with a dazzling scene as Patrick's first son Robert narrates his own birth as it happens, and then grows into a young boy who understands far more about life than he ought. Patrick is caught in the family wreckage of broken promises, child-rearing, adultery and assisted suicide and his once wealthy, illustrious family is in peril. In this rare interview, Edward St Aubyn admits he does not enjoy discussing his work in public, and says that in Mother's Milk there is less of himself in the character of Patrick than in the previous novels; and he describes the writing processes behind his acerbically funny and disarmingly tender novel. Presenter : James Naughtie Interviewed guest : Edward St Aubyn Producer : Dymphna Flynn December's Bookclub choice : A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010).