For Patrick Melrose, “family” is more than a double-edged sword. As friends, relatives and foes trickle in to pay final respects to his mother, Eleanor – an heiress who gave up the grandeur of her upbringing for “good works,” freely bestowed on everyone but her own child – Patrick finds that his transition to orphanhood may not be the liberation he had so long imagined.
Yet as the service ends and the family gathers for a final party, as conversations are overheard, danced around and concertedly avoided, amidst the social niceties and social horrors, the calms and the rapids, Patrick begins to sense a new current. At the end of the day, alone in his rooftop bedsit, it seems to promise some form of safety, at last.
A powerful reflection on pain, acceptance, and the treacheries of family, At Last is the stunning culmination of the Melrose books, a work of glittering dark comedy and profound emotional truth.
“St. Aubyn’s technique is to crystallise emotional intensity into sentences of arctic beauty, which can be caustically witty or brutal. His novels are uncommonly well controlled, and thus their impact is all the more powerful… In At Last this crystallisation and control are on glittering display…We have reached 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, The Telegraph
Edward St. Aubyn was born in London in 1960. He is the author of A Clue to the Exit and On the Edge, and of a series of novels about the Melrose family, the trilogy Some Hope and Mother’s Milk, which was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize.
'Surprised to see me?' said Nicholas Pratt, planting his walking stick on the crematorium carpet and fixing Patrick with a look of slightly aimless defiance, a habit no longer useful but too late to change. 'I've become rather a memorial-creeper. One's bound to at my age. It's no use sitting at home guffawing over the ignorant mistakes of juvenile obituarists, or giving in to the rather monotonous pleasure of counting the daily quota of extinct contemporaries.