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Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
10
3.7 out of 5 stars


on 30 December 2012
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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on 7 July 2014
First I wanted to give this book 4 starts as even so I have loved it ; I have enjoyed it slightly less than the other book by Edward ( I have only read 2 so far). I have changed my mind ato give 5 stars as this author is simply on different league to most of the others and to compare this book to what is available on the novel market ; it is up there at the very top ;it kind of needs different rating . It would be misleading to say that it is easy read; quite the opposite. I have decided to read only one chapter a day to digest properly its content . But there is a great reward for effort and lasting. This is going to be first book I am going to read second time ; somehow I get a feeling it will be worth it .
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on 4 September 2016
Cripes, readers, me and Mr St Aubyn have so little in common socially that I hesitate (Mr St A would say "one hesitates", that impersonally disassociating personal pronoun epitomising the English upper class) to even draw breath in the same demesne as he. But, for all the laboured tosh of the early stages of this tale, the final sequence ascends into greatness, reminding me of Don DeLillo's superb The Names with its desert revelation and naming of the unnameable, and the suspicion that it's not a "novel". As a fell tribute to that fellow Death, it's as good as anything in, for example, Edmund Spenser, the wailing ninny of the English Renaissance, and that's saying something. One feels there is a core of formidable talent behind ESA's unfortunate penchant for intellectual posturing and name-dropping; one only wishes he would tap into that more often, get on with his story, and forget trying to blind us with culture. Still, there's a late order batsman in fine fettle here, snicking singles to long-off, heaving the occasional boundary, defying quick and spin alike, chasing down the total.
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on 2 July 2014
I loved the Patrick Melrose novels so much that this was a deep disappointment. It is basically a self-indulgent meditation on the nature of consciousness, which inevitably after going round in endless circles he concludes - spoiler alert - is unknowable. What an awful waste of time. And it is quite depressing too. But do do read the five Patrick Melrose novels - they are one of the best discoveries I have made in years.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 September 2015
In his novella, Edward St Aubyn imagines what it must be like for Charlie, his narrator, to receive a death sentence from the doctor. Fleeing to the South of France to work on his legacy - a novel - Charlie meets and falls in lust with gambling-addict Angelique. The writing will be done at the tables of the Monte Carlo casino. The book within the book wherein three characters wrestle with the concept of consciousness is a tad heavy-going and cerebral. But the prose, ah, the prose is to die for, and spiked by St Aubyn's exceptional wit. Here's a taste of one of the lighter passages:

"It's a pink house with white gates. At the front there are two palm trees, floodlit, so the burglars don't fall flat on their faces. At the back, four minuscule cypresses, like self-conscious bridesmaids, accompany the concrete driveway to the garage. If you climb on the roof and jump, you can see the sea. Inside there are still-empty niches everywhere, and tiny flights of steps leading from one thing to another. Two steps up to the kitchen, three down to the living area, one onto the patio, two into the garden, and a final glissando of steps back to the entrance area...It's as if the builder had stumbled across the concept of a step and couldn't believe his luck."
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on 29 October 2014
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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on 23 December 2013
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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on 3 June 2014
The tortuous style is tedious, introspection in depth if you like that, I don't; sorry. But he is a very serious writer.
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on 16 August 2015
Man with terminal illness but St. Aubyn manages another incisive foray into the modern psyche.
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on 15 August 2015
Excellent as expected from St Aubyn
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