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Hot off the Press: AT LAST by Edward St Aubyn

10/05/2011

Currently wowing the critics is AT LAST, the final book in Edward St Aubyn’s trilogy about posh drug-addict Patrick Melrose and his once illustrious family. Writing in the Literary Review, Simon Baker ran out of superlatives:

In most novels the elegant, hilarious or clever sentences stand out because they lie sufficiently far apart, but in At Last they are squashed together munificently on every page … A humane and enchanting novel, which is profoundly funny, profoundly sad, and most of all profound.

Very much a “writer’s writer” St Aubyn has gifted reviewers the chance to show off their mastery of the Literae Humaniores. James Lasdun in he Guardian christened the trilogy “the Melrosiad”, while The Telegraph’s Caroline Moore noted “St Aubyn steers resolutely away from the Scylla of self-pity — as strenuously as he attempts to resist the pull of the Charybdis of self-loathing.”

AT LAST, a thinly disguised roman à clef, has also provided literary gossip-mongers with an open goal. Caroline Moore again:

Like Patrick, St Aubyn became a drug addict (he turned up to sit his Oxford finals armed with the shaft of an empty Biro for snorting heroin, but without a conventionally filled pen).

His finals papers must have been quite something.

Read all the reviews.

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