A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Time Magazine Best Book of the Year
An Esquire Best Book of Year
"Beautifully wrought . . . Brutally funny and sad."—Vanity Fair
The fifth novel in Edward St. Aubyn's stunning cycle about his protagonist Patrick Melrose. The last four novels in the cycle are available in The Patrick Melrose Novels.
Here, from the writer described by The Guardian as “our purest living prose stylist” and whom Alan Hollinghurst has called “the most brilliant English novelist of his generation,” is a work of glittering social comedy, profound emotional truth, and acute verbal wit.
As readers of Edward St. Aubyn's extraordinary earlier works—Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and the Man Booker Prize finalist Mother's Milk—are well aware, for Patrick Melrose, “family” has always been a double-edged sword. At Last begins as friends, relatives, and foes trickle in to pay final respects to his mother, Eleanor. An Americam heiress, Eleanor married into the British aristocracy, giving up the grandeur of her upbringing for “good works” freely bestowed on everyone but her own son, who finds himself questioning whether his transition to a life without parents will indeed be the liberation he had so long imagined.
The service ends, and family and friends gather for a final party. Amid the social niceties and social horrors, Patrick begins to sense the prospect of release from the extremes of his childhood, and at the end of the day, alone in his room, the promise some form of safety. . . at last.
'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. No! One has to "celebrate the life": there goes the school tart. They say he had a good war, but I know better! - that sort
“The Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn are a masterwork for the 21st century. Written by one of our greatest English prose stylists, they present a cornucopia of humor, pathos, razor sharp judgment, pain, joy, and everything in between.” —Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
“Sparkling . . . With the wit of Wilde, the lightness of Wodehouse, and the waspishness of Waugh, [St. Aubyn] wraps his fancy prose style around the self in extremis (“suffocated, dropped, born of raped as well as born to be raped”), situations more familiar to readers of Cooper or Burroughs.” —Zadie Smith, Harper's
The Final Patrick Melrose Novel
Edward St. Aubyn