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At Last Hardcover – 6 May 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330435906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330435901
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Urgent emotional intensity, brilliant social satire . . . A terrifying, spectacularly entertaining saga’ James Lasdun, Guardian

'At once epic and intimate, appalling and comic, the Melrose novels are masterpieces' Maggie O'Farrell

‘Remarkable. St Aubyn’s books are at once extremely dark and extremely funny’ Francine Prose, New York Times

‘The Melrose novels are remarkable – ferociously funny, painfully acute and exhilaratingly written. A brilliantly controlled story of a life sent out of control’ Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

‘At Last is a miraculously wrought piece of art’ Suzi Feay, Financial Times

‘The pinnacle of a series that has plunged into darkness and risen towards light. At Last is both resounding end and hopeful beginning’ Philip Womack, Telegraph

Book Description

For Patrick Melrose, ‘family’ is more than a double-edged sword. As friends, relations and foes trickle in to pay final respects to his mother, Eleanor – an heiress who forsook the grandeur of her upbringing for ‘good works’, freely bestowed upon everyone but her own child – Patrick finds that his transition to orphanhood isn’t necessarily the liberation he had so long imagined. Yet as the service ends and the family gather for a final party, as conversations are overheard, danced around and concertedly avoided, amidst the social niceties and the social horrors, the calms and the rapids, Patrick begins to sense a new current. And at the end of the day, alone in his rooftop bedsit, it seems to promise some form of safety, at last. One of the most powerful reflections on pain and acceptance, and the treacheries of family, ever written, At Last is the brilliant culmination of the Melrose books. It is a masterpiece of glittering dark comedy and profound emotional truth.

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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Ripple TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
In "At Last", Edward St Aubyn returns to the Melrose family, the subject of both "Some Hope" and of his Booker-shortlisted "Mother's Milk". I confess that I have still not got around to reading the first of the trilogy, but loved "Mother's Milk" and found that I wasn't greatly disadvantaged by not having read the previous book. "At Last" could also be read as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn't advise this approach. You will miss out on so much that if you are planning on reading it, you really should read at least "Mother's Milk" first. This isn't much of an inconvenience as it's a terrific book.

I'd also add that if you are thinking of taking this route, you might want to stop reading this review at this point. While it's possible to give a taste of "At Last" without spoilers, the story follows on from "Mother's Milk", so the very set up means that if you don't want to know what happens, you might want to look away now.

St Aubyn's subjects are very much the upper class elite - and their self-centred behaviour as they squander their inheritances. That might not be to everyone's taste as a subject matter and certainly it isn't the life that most of us lead. But he sends them up beautifully and you will soon be laughing and shaking your head at their attitudes. St Aubyn's style is waspishly funny - for me, he is like a slightly more literary, English version of Brett Easton Ellis. There's a similar level of shock and bad behaviour, but he's a more humane writer than Easton Ellis.

OK, so I'm hoping that all those who plan on reading "Mother's Milk" have now left the room so I can reveal that the setting for "At Last" is the funeral of Eleanor - the mother who so infuriated her son Patrick in "Mother's Milk".
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having loved the Patrick Melrose Trilogy ("Never Mind", "Bad News" and "Some Hope") and the wonderful "Mother's Milk", I had to know what lay in wait for Patrick. Although the books can be read alone, it makes more sense if you read them in order, especially as a lot of the books look back to Patrick's childhood and his relationship with his parents. In the first three books, the emphasis is on the relationship Patrick had with his father and the last two books concentrate on his mother.

Patrick comes from a long line of embittered and twisted people. His father an abusive and vicious man, his mother a former alcoholic who seemed to want to help everyone, except her son. Much of the depression Patrick feels during the course of the novels relates to the loss of his childhood home; which his mother, Eleanor, had given to a new age healing group - or charlatans, as Patrick feels with some realistic resentment. His feelings of anger against his parents has led to various self destructive behaviours - including drug addiction (brilliantly portrayed in "Bad News") and alcholism. His family were once wealthy, some members still are, but Patrick's mother and her sister Nancy, felt cheated out of their inheritance and Patrick feels this has continued with his disinheritance and that of his sons.

Most of the books in this brilliant series take place over a small time frame - a dinner party, a visit to America to collect his fathers ashes, a party. This volume takes place during Eleanor's funeral. Eleanor has been ill a long while and her funeral forces Patrick to look back at his complicated feelings for his mother. Eleanor is seen as saintly by some, childlike by others and gullable by others.
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By Ian Mullett on 17 Aug 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The final sublime volume of an irresistible and superb series. St Aubyn's writing is shockingly good. I have never read a series of novels that provoked and evoked such an intense emotional response in me. I literally laughed and cried sometimes within the same chapter. The reflections of Patrick Melrose towards the end of this novel are amongst the most profound and humane meditations on the human condition you will ever read and delivered with an exquisite lightness of touch. A major piece of work that should be read as widely as possible. Do yourself a favour: buy the whole series, quit your job and go offline. Truly life affirming…thank you Edward St Aubyn.
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By Karen Butler on 10 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought as a present.
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By Bookworm on 5 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sadly did not please and intrigue like the others - possibly a quick attempt to conclude the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After the Some Hope trilogy and Mother's Milk - which I thought were absolutely brilliant - I was hoping for more of the same from St Aubyn. At Last has some dazzling prose and dialogue, but plotwise it feels much thinner than the earlier Patrick Melrose books. Beautiful as his prose is, there's not much holding this together. It centres on the reflections of friends and relatives at a funeral, but there's nothing really driving the narrative forward. Still think he's a great writer though.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am writing all my reviews of the Patrick Melrose novels at once, given that I read them all last week on holiday. Sublime, marvellous, regret I didn't come to them earlier, except that IF I had, there'd be a tense wait for the next instalment.
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