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At Last: A Novel Hardcover – January 31, 2012


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At Last: A Novel + The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk + Lost for Words: A Novel
Price for all three: $53.06

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374298890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374298890
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With this title, St. Aubyn caps his five-volume cycle of Melrose novels. Patrick Melrose, introduced as a five-year-old in Never Mind (originally published in Great Britain in 1992), is now a middle-aged divorced alcoholic barrister living in a bedsit. As in the previous books, events in At Last take place over the course of a single day; in this case, the day of Patrick’s mother’s funeral. Despite his loss and his reduced circumstances, and having survived a past marked by abuse and drug addiction, Patrick has “at last” found a measure of peace. With lacerating humor and razor-sharp imagery, St. Aubyn continues to work out his themes: the follies of the British upper class, “the psychological impact of inherited wealth,” the complex dynamics between parent and child. Picador has also brought out the four other Patrick Melrose novels (Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother’s Milk, in addition to At Last) in a single volume, a great favor to American readers. --Mary Ellen Quinn

From Bookforum

At Last is still a terrific comedy of manners, and St. Aubyn's writing is as elegant and bright as always, but his leading man has become a bit tiresome. —Eric Banks

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Customer Reviews

There is a lot of boring introspection that seems gratuitous.
grandma lib
The four books in this series are some of the best writing on difficult subjects I have ever read.
Kris
Beautifully written with intelligence and a real story to tell.
Laughing Ladies Book Club

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Brian R. Lemaire on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As someone who just lost his mother two weeks before picking up the novel At Last, I found this book particularly resonant. It centers on the psychological changes Patrick Melrose goes through at the funeral of his mother. A healing process, coming to terms and getting past some of the abuse Patrick suffered at the hands of his father, the complicity of his ineffectual mother, and finally, a striving for greater free will in his life and repairing a relationship with his own wife and sons - an attempt to address life by responding to it, not in a more limited way, reacting to it.

Along the way we get comic relief from Fleur, a batty lady who adheres to fringe Eastern religious beliefs and from the unique Nicholas Pratt. Mr. Pratt, a snarky, opinionated, educated older gentleman, shows up at the funeral and bestows his sarcasm on anyone within range. Overall in this book though, class is a setting, not a central subject.

The depth of understanding, the intelligence about the human condition St. Aubyn shows in this book puts it in the same league as "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann and more recently, "The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes. The British Invasion!
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Okay, reading is what I do. It's my joy, pain, school, friend, church. I'm that kind of addict. But never, ever has a character become such a part of me that I've dreamed about him. Last night Patrick, Robert, and Thomas Melrose all entered my dreams. Patrick is a part of me. His brilliant mind, his pain, his laugh-out-loud wit, his audacious courage in facing who he is and who his parents are (or aren't) have apparently found a home both in my conscious and subconscious mind. God, I just love these books. While reviewers compare St. Aubyn to everyone from Austin to Waugh, I've never read anyone quite like him: funny, excruciatingly painful, philosophical, psychological, satirical, political, romantic, all in beautiful, elegant prose that makes me sigh. I never underline novels, but these books begged to be underlined.

No Patrick is no longer a kid, but since we begin to care about him when he's just 5 and we see him grow and regress, learn and unlearn, come within a whisper of dying and then heal, we care for him the way we do with those we've loved over a long time. And we root for them in a deep, real way. So when Patrick decides to leave the lonely bedsit and make that phone call, well I took a long, happy deep breath and wished them all the best.

By the way, the reviewers who complain about the boys clearly don't know any precocious children. I find them both believable and damn adorable, and I've known a few small people who could hold their own with both of them.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Artie Fiss on October 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Patrick Melrose has become a fixture in my life -- at least in the past few months since I downloaded the eponymous "series" that may or may not end with AT LAST. He travels with me, dines with me, pops up in random conversations. Fictional characters are often labeled "unforgettable" -- and he is just that. I'd take this label a step farther: Patrick is indelible; the reader can no more abandon him than he might a birthmark or a scar. I keep reading new books hoping that he'll leave me alone and trouble someone else's sleep, but he always manages to interrupt like a hungry infant at midnight. In short, I came to feel responsible for Patrick, as if by turning the pages I could keep him alive to see another day.

You may not like Patrick -- he's one roiling mass of insecurities and inconstancies -- but find yourself loving him all the more. Edward St. Aubyn's novels trace Patrick's harrowing life from (to quote some horse-racing announcer whose name I've forgotten) first fall to that's all. He subjects Patrick to a litany of horrors that would make Guido de Montefeltro reconsider. Really wicked rich people do terrible things to each other and their children for almost 800 pages -- you'll never again want to be part of the .0001%. St. Aubyn spares nobody, not even Patrick, and you may find yourself wondering as I did why you are plowing ahead like an oversized lemming when you could be cooking dinner. It's not much fun, but it's amazing.

Except that AT LAST, there is the possibility of reconciliation, recovery, even redemption for Patrick. And always, always, there is the wit. I laughed out loud 742 times, a personal record. And always there are those incredible sentences, the kind you want to read aloud to a friend in another time zone. If you need a plot, look elsewhere.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Billy Pilgrim on July 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I came to this after Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope and Mother's Milk. I kept a 3 x 5 card in my pocket while I was reading the series with a chart on it I had made to remember who the characters were. By the time you finish the first four, you have a great affection for the characters and the denouement of the funeral causes one to breathe a sigh of relief and say; "At Last!" I don't want these people in my circle of friends but I am delighted to watch them in the fishbowl of literary fiction. I found myself highlighting brilliant ideas and expressions quite regularly as I read this delightful piece. The author is possessed of a fierce intelligence that I admire as well as the literary chops to make it fascinating as the tale unfolds.
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