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At Last [Hardcover]

Edward St Aubyn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 May 2011
'At once epic and intimate, appalling and comic, the Melrose novels are masterpieces' Maggie O'Farrell

Frequently Bought Together

At Last + Bad News (The Patrick Melrose Novels) + Some Hope
Price For All Three: 28.17

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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: 14.4 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,135 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
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
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last 7 May 2011
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 10 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought as a present.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 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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3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up there with Some Hope... 12 Jun 2014
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The final volume of the trilogy 22 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This brilliant writer continues his journey through the anguish of self loathing and destruction to come to, not a resolution but to the possibility of taking another path. He is incisive, witty, and sometimes very funny; substantial and hugely enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lasting end 15 Dec 2012
By nickyb
Format:Paperback
Simple enough to say that Edward St Aubyn produced a fine finale to his wonderful series. Tremendous writing, beautifully delivered. Quite a depressing reading but really worthwhile. A great series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars At Last I have finished it!
I found "At Last" disappointing and I struggled to finish it. There is realy no story. It consists of the reflections of various friends and relatives at the funeral of an... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Michael Apple
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Finale
At Last is a fitting finale to Edward St Aubyn's Melrose saga. Written over the last two decades, the pentalogy is a searing indictment of the English upper crust, an echelon... Read more
Published 21 months ago by s k
5.0 out of 5 stars As I lay dead.
I can't say that I've read better,wittier,more acid prose than St Aubyn produces at times here.There are sections which would have done credit to Evelyn Waugh. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Valentine Gersbach
5.0 out of 5 stars The last Melrose Novel
If you've read the four other books, which I also bought recently from Amazon, then it's a fitting end to the series. Read more
Published 23 months ago by JDavies
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful return to form
After the disappointing "Mother's Milk" this is a supercharged return to form from St Aubyn. Each paragraph sparkles with intelligence ,wit and insight. Read more
Published on 15 July 2012 by Johnnygoyk
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitch-perfect conclusion to brilliant family saga
If "At Last" is the conclusion to Edward St Aubyn's Melrose novels, then he has gone out on a high point. Read more
Published on 5 July 2012 by Jl Adcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Funeral games
Edward St Aubyn is surely the most scintillating writer of English prose that we have. He is, as has predictably been suggested, an heir to Waugh, though thankfully without the... Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2012 by GlynLuke
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