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At Last (The Patrick Melrose Novels) [Paperback]

Edward St Aubyn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

12 April 2012 The Patrick Melrose Novels (Book 5)


As friends, relatives and foes trickle in to pay their final respects to his mother Eleanor, Patrick Melrose finds himself questioning whether a life without parents will be the liberation he has so long imagined. Yet as the memorial service ends and the family gathers one last time, amidst the social niceties and the social horrors, the calms and the rapids, Patrick begins to sense a new current: the chance of some form of safety – at last.

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At Last (The Patrick Melrose Novels) + Mother's Milk + Some Hope
Price For All Three: 16.77

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  • Mother's Milk 5.59
  • Some Hope 5.59

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (12 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330435922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330435925
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘This triumphant conclusion to St Aubyn’s sequence about boyhood traumas and adult tribulations fizzes with his astringent verbal flair and lethal ear for dialogue’ Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

‘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

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

‘Humor, pathos, razor-sharp judgement, pain, joy and everything in between. The Melrose novels are a masterwork for the 21st century, by one of our greatest prose stylists’ Alice Sebold

‘From the very first lines I was completely hooked . . . By turns witty, moving and an intense social comedy, I wept at the end but wouldn’t dream of giving away the totally unexpected reason’ Antonia Fraser, Sunday Telegraph

‘I’ve loved Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels. Read them all, now’ David Nicholls

‘Wonderful caustic wit . . . Perhaps the very sprightliness of the prose – its lapidary concision and moral certitude – represents the cure for which the characters yearn. So much good writing is in itself a form of health’ Edmund White, Guardian

‘Clearly one of the major achievements of contemporary British fiction. Stingingly well-written and exhilaratingly funny’ David Sexton, Evening Standard

‘Beautifully written, excruciatingly funny and also very tragic’ Mariella Frostrup, Sky Magazine

‘His prose has an easy charm that masks a ferocious, searching intellect. As a sketcher of character, his wit — whether turned against pointless members of the aristocracy or hopeless crack dealers — is ticklingly wicked. As an analyser of broken minds and tired hearts he is as energetic, careful and creative as the perfect shrink. And when it comes to spinning a good yarn, whether over the grand scale or within a single page of anecdote, he has a natural talent for keeping you on the edge of your seat’ Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

‘A masterpiece. Edward St Aubyn is a writer of immense gifts’ Patrick McGrath

‘Blackly comic, superbly written fiction . . . His style is crisp and light; his similes exhilarating in their accuracy . . . St Aubyn writes with luminous tenderness of Patrick’s love for his sons’ Caroline Moore, Sunday Telegraph

‘The darkest possible comedy about the cruelty of the old to the young, vicious and excruciatingly honest. It opened my eyes to a whole realm of experience I have never seen written about. That’s the mark of a masterpiece’ The Times

‘The wit of Wilde, the lightness of Wodehouse and the waspishness of Waugh. A joy’ Zadie Smith, Harpers

'One of the most amazing reading experiences I've had in a decade.' Michael Chabon, LA Times

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last 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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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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars As I lay dead. 23 Aug 2012
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.The opening chapter is rampantly funny and the tone is sustained virtually throughout the novel.Shockingly,the author slips his foot very occasionally into the sentimental,especially when introducing children into the narrative but,in the main,he sustains both a retrospective on his horrific childhood and a commentary on the antics of a crowd of upper class misfits and acquisitive cultists with admirable verve.

I've read others from this series but apart from having catalogued them under "very good" in my memory and having a vague recollection of St Aubyn's genius for recreating drunkenness on the page,I don't remember that much about them.This,however,didn't spoil my enjoyment of "At Last".The structure of the novel allows St Aubyn to inform the reader fairly fully of the part played by the various characters in his past life and the effect is rather like meeting people at a real funeral.I was pretty sure by the end of the book who everyone was and their significance in Patrick's life.

I also like the concept of a book which pretty well observes the unities of time,action and place.Although much of what "happens" in the book happens in the protagonists' memories,the central action takes place on one day,concerns one event and happens in only acouple of settings.To make a work operating within such a frame and make it consistently compelling and entertaining takes a large amount of literary skill.Only someone with St Aubyn's precise ability to verbalise the internal in such original and elegant prose would be capable of accomplishing the task.
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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 17 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 18 months ago by s k
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 20 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 21 months ago 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 21 months ago 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 22 months ago by GlynLuke
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as I expected
I read this a while after I read St Aubyn's preceding Melrose novels - I ought to have reacquainted myself with the first ones but I was in too much of a hurry to read At Last! Read more
Published 22 months ago by wordfan
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation!
I had been considering reading the Patrick Melrose series of 5 novels (of which this is the last) for some time, but was put off by the disturbing subject matter. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Simon
3.0 out of 5 stars A Finale of Flashbacks
If you have not read the previous novels in the Patrick Melrose series, in particular "Mother's Milk", embarking on this novel may feel like walking into a room full of mainly... Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2012 by Antenna
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, poignant and very, very funny.
Edward St Aubyn's writing is simply some of the best around. His Patrick Melrose series forms some of the best writing I think I have ever read. Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2011 by Drambuster
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