Today is the on-sale for the new book by the man Alan Hollinghurst called “the most brilliant English novelist of his generation,” Edward St. Aubyn. Reviewers assure readers that At Last [Kindle] can be taken as a stand-alone story although it his fifth novel featuring his fictional stand-in, Patrick Melrose. Like his creator, Patrick was born to great privilege and suffered horrible physical abuse from his father over three or four years starting when he was five. His mother's total neglect of him compounded his problems, and from 16 to 28 he was a tireless drug addict. Now he's middle aged with an ex-wife and two teen sons. The new book takes place on the day of his mother's funeral, with flashbacks throughout his life.
Slate's critic Jessica Winter says in At Last, "St. Aubyn also has an astonishing technical virtuosity that animates both his dialogue ... and his descriptions of interior states." All reviewers seem bound to compare St. Aubyn with Evelyn Waugh and Winter says he, "possesses the wit of Waugh and the existential reach of Beckett."
Another critic cites the father's line, "Even at the bar of the Cavalry and Guards Club one couldn’t boast about homosexual, paedophiliac incest with any confidence of a favorable reception."
Picador has bundled the four previous books in one "exquisitely harrowing," "intoxicatingly witty," "staggeringly good," and "perversely funny," volume, The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk [Kindle]. The New York Observer's critic says they "are among the smartest and most beautiful fictional achievements of the past 20 years."