At Last

At Last

Book - 2012
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A New York Times Notable Book of 2012

One of The Telegraph 's Best Fiction Books 2011

One of Esquire 's Best Books of 2012

One of TIME 's Top 10 Fiction Books of 2012

Here, from the writer described by The Guardian as "our purest living prose stylist" and whom Alan Hollinghurst has called "the most brilliant English novelist of his generation," is a work of glittering social comedy, profound emotional truth, and acute verbal wit. At Last is also the stunning culmination of one of the great fiction enterprises of the past two decades in the life of the English novel.

As readers of Edward St. Aubyn's extraordinary earlier works-- Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and the Man Booker Prize finalist Mother's Milk-- are well aware, for Patrick Melrose, "family" has always been a double-edged sword. At Last begins as friends, relatives, and foes trickle in to pay final respects to his mother, Eleanor. An American heiress, Eleanor married into the British aristocracy, giving up the grandeur of her upbringing for "good works" freely bestowed on everyone but her own son, who finds himself questioning whether his transition to a life without parents will indeed be the liberation he had so long imagined.

The service ends, and family and friends gather for a final party. Amid the social niceties and social horrors, Patrick begins to sense the prospect of release from the extremes of his childhood, and at the end of the day, alone in his room, the promise some form of safety. . . at last .

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780374298890
Branch Call Number: FIC SAI
Characteristics: 266 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Dec 21, 2016

(The fifth book in the Patrick Melrose series)

Feb 25, 2015

"Forget heroin. Just try giving up irony, that deep-down need to mean two things at once, to be in two places at once, not to be there for the catastrophe of a fixed meaning."
Edward St. Aubyn returns to his most famous character, Patrick Melrose, in "As Last," which may be the final book in this celebrated series that includes "Never Mind," "Bad News," "Some Hope," and "Mother's Milk," all of which are collected in "The Patrick Melrose Novels." Loosely autobiographical, these books are all about survival and recovery. Drugs and family (especially family) are the two things that the aristocratic Melrose struggles to overcome and in this book, he comes to terms with the death and legacy of his mother, a well-meaning, but weak woman who overlooked her husband's abusiveness. While there's still the sardonic wit and high-brow charm (poetry, religion and French all are discussed) of the earlier books, this one has a more reflective tone and introspective mood. If you haven't read any of these books, start with the others first. "The most brilliant English novelist of his generation."-Alan Hollinghurst

ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2013

As with the first four books in the Patrick Melrose series, this 5th and final entry takes place over a single day, as Patrick attends the funeral of his heiress mother and examines his own life. Though he's struggled with abuse and drug addiction in the past, he has come to find a certain amount of peace in his life. The funeral, of course, stirs up memories of his violent father and prompts him to consider whether it's too late to heal his relationships with his own sons, with whom he has always been remote. This broadly autobiographical book - and the series it is a part of - deals in tragic themes (how wealth spoils, sadistic parents) with an undercurrent of dark humour.

Fiction A to Z newsletter February 2013.

Nov 27, 2012

Amazing - a terrific final book to the Patrick Melrose series. Highly recommended!

debwalker Mar 10, 2012

"Readers who do not know the other novels in what is now the Melrose Quintet will still enjoy At Last’s humour, thoughtfulness, amusing characterizations and intelligence. They will be able to follow the story – such as it is – easily. But they will miss the nuances that make this a fitting ending (if it is the ending) to a very impressive sequence of novels."
Andre Alexis
Globe and Mail

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