A novel of our times- despotism, finance and family clash in Edward St Aubyn's savage and heartbreaking new novel
Edward St Aubyn was born in London. His superbly acclaimed Patrick Melrose novels are Never Mind, which won a Betty Trask Award, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk, which won the Prix Femina Utranger and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and At Last. He is also the author of the novels A Clue to the Exit, On the Edge, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and Lost for Words, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize.
"St Aubyn has a natural talent for keeping you on the edge of your seat... His prose has an easy charm that masks a ferocious, searching intellect" * The Times * "Malevolently enjoyable... A fable of fatherly neglect and daughterly cruelty" * Financial Times * "Deeply affecting...and funny" * Observer * "Powerful... Entertaining" * Spectator * "Of all the novelist and play matches in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, that of Edward St Aubyn with King Lear seems the finest. Shakespeare's blackest, most surreal and hectic tragedy sharpened by one of our blackest, more surreal and hectic wits... It's an enticing prospect... His Lear is Henry Dunbar, the head of an international media corporation - like Conrad Black or Rupert Murdoch - and is brilliantly awful... The other characters, even minor ones, are also wittily and cleverly updated" -- Kate Clanchy * Guardian * "He is an inspired choice to retell King Lear for Hogarth Shakespeare's anniversary series. Dunbar emerges as one of the finest contributions in a line-up glittering with literary stars...He has transplanted the heart of the story into the present and made it feel remarkably authentic" -- Stephanie Merritt * Observer * "A piercing portrait of existential agony... savagely acute" -- Anthony Cummins * Daily Mail * "Edward St Aubyn, in his powerful new novel Dunbar, applies the oxyacetylene brilliance and cauterisation of his prose to bear on the tragic endgame of a family's internecine struggle for control of a global fortune. St Aubyn is a connoisseur of depravity, yet also shows he cherishes the possibility of redemption... An Aubynesque simile can brighten a grey passage... Most of the novel is harsh; all of it is entertaining" -- Patrick Skene Catling * Spectator * "St Aubyn is excellent on the characters' psychology... powerful and moving" -- Anthony Gardner * Mail on Sunday * "Malevolently enjoyable... The scenes that feel most real, interestingly, are those that are most fantastical, when we are drawn inside the chaos of Dunbar's unravelling mind... Here the language feels sculpted and precise, Dunbar's obsessive solipsism both violent and convincing... St Aubyn's talent for brittle one-liners is as lethal as ever" -- Andrew Dickson * Financial Times * "In Mother's Milk - the fourth Melrose novel, which was shortlisted for the Booker - St Aubyn gave a terrifyingly believable description of senility, and he applies the same skill here as his hero's sense of time and his own sanity fall away with a tragic semi-awareness... He is at his funniest when describing characters at their worst. He narrates their terrible inner thoughts with a bleakly comic ironic detachment" -- William Moore * Evening Standard * "As Dunbar wanders half-hallucinating in the Cumbrian wilderness, the only dialogue is between the mind and itself. A heartbreaking scrim of the broken and unspoken, image upon image flames up... Here, we can feel the writer feeling, and with Lawrentian clarity: a distillation of harrowed human pity" -- Cynthia Ozick * New York Times Book Review * "Lively... Beautifully written and caperish in tone, St Aubyn's Dunbar plays the Bard's story for savage laughs" -- Sebastian Shakespeare * Tatler * "Perhaps Edward St Aubyn's most impressive achievement in this retelling...is to find a way of structuring the story so that it rattles along at a breathless pace from start to finish. Somehow, even though we know what's going to happen...Dunbar is still a page turner... Even if you ignore all the intricate metatextual game-playing, this is still a magnificent book: a cautionary tale about what happens when people value power and money more than family and basic human decency, imaginatively re-tooled for our hyper-materialistic age" -- Roger Cox * Scotsman * "St Aubyn's Dunbar is a salvific story of familial breakdown animated by decadently wicked rich people on the one hand and the fragile optimism generated by expensive psychotherapy on the other... St Aubyn, the laureate of upper-class depravity and brittle recuperation, is the perfect author for a waspish, satirical take on King Lear's family melodrama... Dunbar does not take up the challenge of redrawing the play's gender politics. St Aubyn produces a deftly understated Dover Cliff sequence and avoids the hyperbole of Gloucester's blinding, domesticating the play's sublime into an insidiously sardonic depiction of depraved twenty-first-century glamour" -- Emma Smith * Times Literary Supplement *