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A Clue to the Exit [Kindle Edition]

Edward St Aubyn
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Charlie Fairburn, successful screenwriter, ex-husband and absent father, has been given six months to live. He resolves to stake half his fortune on a couple of turns of the roulette wheel and, to his agent's disgust, to write a novel - about death. In the casino he meets his muse. Charlie grows as addicted to writing fiction as she is to gambling.



His novel is set on a train and involves a group of characters (familiar to readers of St Aubyn's earlier work) who are locked in a debate about the nature of consciousness. As this train gets stuck at Didcot, and Charlie gets more passionately entangled with the dangerous Angelique, A Clue to the Exit comes to its startling climax. Exquisitely crafted, witty and thoughtful, Edward St Aubyn's dazzling novel probes the very heart of being.



‘Perhaps the most brilliant English novelist of his generation’ Alan Hollinghurst



Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

"My mind is busy, busy, busy. I just don't see how I'm going to fit dying into my packed schedule." Charlie Fairburn, screenwriter supremo of "Aliens with a Human Heart" has been told he's got six months to live--so he goes through every clue in the book as to how to make it bearable: sells his pink pad in St Tropez, lives it up in grand hotels, beds the beautiful Angelique and lets her gamble away his fortune, tries poverty on a remote bit of the Med, then silence in the desert and tries writing "something honest and complete". His topic is consciousness and the characters in his novel, "On the Train", have just left an Oxford conference on consciousness, and are stuck at Didcot Junction. Among them are the wordy French linguist Jean-Paul, Crystal of New Age enthusiasms and, off-stage in a coma, her husband Peter (all three of them were the main characters in St Aubyn's last novel, On the Edge, shortlisted for the Guardian prize).

Edward St Aubyn is a dazzlingly witty satirist of almost everything. Mostly his writing is outstanding in its comic set-pieces, inventive enquiries, digressions on writing itself, and its quick and unsettling asides. But it's the morphing of the big existential questions into our current obsession with the brain that St Aubyn addresses most satirically--and most concernedly. Somehow, could knowing everything about that bit of grey matter let us squirm out of "the fear in the marrow, the fear of loveless desolation which was laying waste the last months of my (Charlie's) life?". Underneath it lies a deadly serious and terrifically entertaining novel, worthy of admiration and attention. --Ruth Petrie

Amazon Review

"My mind is busy, busy, busy. I just don't see how I'm going to fit dying into my packed schedule." Charlie Fairburn, screenwriter supremo of "Aliens with a Human Heart" has been told he's got six months to live--so he goes through every clue in the book as to how to make it bearable: sells his pink pad in St Tropez, lives it up in grand hotels, beds the beautiful Angelique and lets her gamble away his fortune, tries poverty on a remote bit of the Med, then silence in the desert and tries writing "something honest and complete". His topic is consciousness and the characters in his novel, "On the Train", have just left an Oxford conference on consciousness, and are stuck at Didcot Junction. Among them are the wordy French linguist Jean-Paul, Crystal of New Age enthusiasms and, off-stage in a coma, her husband Peter (all three of them were the main characters in St Aubyn's last novel, On the Edge, shortlisted for the Guardian prize).

Edward St Aubyn is a dazzlingly witty satirist of almost everything. Mostly his writing is outstanding in its comic set-pieces, inventive enquiries, digressions on writing itself, and its quick and unsettling asides. But it's the morphing of the big existential questions into our current obsession with the brain that St Aubyn addresses most satirically--and most concernedly. Somehow, could knowing everything about that bit of grey matter let us squirm out of "the fear in the marrow, the fear of loveless desolation which was laying waste the last months of my (Charlie's) life?". Underneath it lies a deadly serious and terrifically entertaining novel, worthy of admiration and attention. --Ruth Petrie


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 410 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003H29C5C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,159 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Why has it taken me so long to discover this author!

Having devoured the 'Patrick Melrose' books (back-to-front starting with 'At Last') I scoured the internet for more from Edward St Aubyn and found 'A Clue To The Exit'.

To say too much would break the spell of his scintillatingly spare prose and storytelling. If you enjoy reflective, stream-of-consciousness writing underpinned by a firm, but almost throw-away, grasp of psychoanalytic concepts then this (and all his other writing) is for you.
As a recently retired psychoanalytic psychotherapist I'm hooked and can't wait for the next Edward St Aubyn title.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By doro
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's outrageous there's only one other review of this brilliant book. I'm compelled to write one, though English isn't my native language. Wake up readers, and do not overlook this one! Clue to the Exit is an intellectual yet playful and an extremely witty novel about the quest for the nature of consciousness. Can we exit ourselves to witness how our experiences enter and form us? "Where do thoughts come from when they 'pop-up' and where do they go when they disappear?" Most importantly, though: could facing what we fear most set us free of it? High stakes betting is nothing compared to the mental gambles undertaken in this short and eventful story. For those who loved the Melrose novels there is an extra (I hope obsolete) incentive: Partick is there! For those who enjoyed "On the Edge": Crystal and Jean Paul meet Patrick! Typically for St Aubyn, the sublime beauty of language together with the humour function as a pressure suit while the author takes us deeper and deeper into the inarticulate, fathomless oceans of our own minds, our own souls. A terrifying journey one needn't get cold feet about when we're so expertly cared for by St Aubyn's blissfully perfect and highly addictive prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Most disappointing 29 Oct. 2014
Format:Paperback
A considerable disappointment after the scintillating Patrick Melrose novels. Some splendid turns of phrase and clever prose (too clever by half in places perhaps) but rather formless. Some of the passages on consciousness are nigh on impenetrable, reading almost as if they have been lifted from a philosophy textbook, and at times I lost patience and couldn't convince myself it mattered. Despite the fact that it deals with the approach of death the book was hard to engage with at an emotional level. About the only consolation was that it was fairly brief and didn't take very long to read.
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