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Money can’t buy you love
It would be easy to dismiss Patrick Melrose as a drug addicted, booze stained rich kid who doesn’t deserve our sympathy. He is after all a blue blood; from a long line of moneyed ancestors on his father’s side, millionaire Americans on his mothers. That would be if Edward St Aubyn didn’t write in such an exquisite way.
At Last is the last book in a series of novels by St Aubyn, loosely based on his life of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of father and neglect from his mother. On the surface they have an idyllic life, a huge house in France, furnished with priceless art and furniture, but it hides the hideous cruelty of his father.
Written out of his family’s money, Patrick’s father marries a wealthy American to keep him in the manner he is accustomed to. He is truly a loathsome character, but St Aubyn furnishes his novel with colourful characters from the English and American upper classes.
If one is cynical of the rich, they will struggle to match the disdain St Aubyn shows for the more callous figures in Patricks world. Aubyn does this with such wit and charm its impossible to resist.
Praise for At Last
"Sparkling... With the wit of Wilde, the lightness of Wodehouse, and the waspishness of Waugh, [St. Aubyn] wraps his fancy prose style around the self in extremis." - Harper's Magazine
"A miraculously wrought piece of art." - The Financial Times (UK)
"Starred Review. Though he echoes Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh, St. Aubyn's voice is unique, powerful, and scathingly funny." - Publishers Weekly
"Good stuff for thoughtful readers..." - Library Journal
"St. Aubyn's technique is to crystallise emotional intensity into sentences of arctic beauty, which can be caustically witty or brutal. His novels are uncommonly well controlled, and thus their impact is all the more powerful... We have reached the pinnacle of a series that has plunged into darkness and risen towards light. At Last is both resounding end and hopeful beginning." - The Telegraph (UK)
"Ferociously funny, painfully acute and exhilaratingly written... Brimming with witty flair, sardonic perceptiveness and literary finesse." - The Sunday Times (UK)
"The thing that everyone loves about this man... is that his prose has an easy charm that masks a ferocious, searching intellect. As a sketcher of character, his wit - whether turned against pointless members of the aristocracy or hopeless crack dealers - is ticklingly wicked... [An] amazing book." - The Times (UK)