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At Last (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #5)
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At Last (The Patrick Melrose Novels #5)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,845 ratings  ·  266 reviews
As friends, relatives and foes trickle in to pay their final respects to his mother Eleanor, Patrick Melrose finds himself questioning whether a life without parents will be the liberation he has so long imagined. Yet as the memorial service ends and the family gathers one last time, amidst the social niceties and the social horrors, the calms and the rapids, Patrick begin ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Picador USA (first published January 1st 2011)
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This is the last in the Patrick Melrose series and I enjoyed it very much. Edward St. Aubyn writes so beautifully and this book was funny,sad and thoughtful all at the same time. The whole book takes place in one day or actually at one event, the funeral of Patrick's mother. It is a really clever way to round of the series as we get to see all of the main characters gathered together, witness the changes that have occurred to all of them over time and find out what they all think about life, dea ...more
This is an exceptional novel that draws a clear line between the qualitative differences of contemporary British fiction and contemporary American fiction. Those who celebrate Jonathan Safron Foer, David Foster Wallace or Junot Diaz ought to study each of this novel's 270 pages (or at least the best 230 of them) and see how intelligent fiction looks when it is handled by an engaging adult narrator.

The end of At Last has its tedious moments, but they are tedious for being moments of honestly expr
Jim Coughenour
Even with at least one spectacularly wry observation on every page; even with abstruse theological asides that are both plucky and pithy – The idea that an afterlife had been invented to reassure people who couldn't face the finality of death was no more plausible than the idea that the finality of death had been invented to reassure people who couldn't face the nightmare of endless experience. – yes, even including the transcendentally arch nastiness of a chattering coven of acidulously articul ...more
Patrick Melrose's gothic New Age Mrs. Jellyby of a mother has finally died and in At Last we attend her funeral, presumably (and for this reader, hopefully) ending the cycle.

I have to say that while the first three Melrose novels are unquestionably among the best books I've read in years, I wasn't so crazy about the last two. The repetitive analytic musings just get to be a bit much, and the wise little moppets dispensing adorable yogi-like aphorisms just go way too far in sugaring up the acrid
Edward St. Aubyn is one of the top novelists of the 20th and, now the 21st centuries. His writing is superb. He crafts sentences brilliantly, so well, if fact, I find myself reading the same sentence over and over because it is so unusual and warms my Linguistics heart. But, this novel drove a point home to me. No matter how fantastically the wordsmithing is in a novel, you do need a plot.

Oh, this has a plot. The plot is a rehash of his trilogy! We meet everyone in those books again, but he neve
Justin Evans
Just to be clear, I'm not giving this book 5 stars, I'm giving the whole Patrick Melrose series 5 stars. You can read 'Mother's Milk' without reading the 'Some Hope' trilogy, but 'At Last' will make no sense whatsoever unless you've read MM, and probably only about 80% sense unless you've read the others too. Despite which this has become a 'national bestseller!', has been reviewed ravingly, and seems to have attracted goodreads readers who hadn't read any of the other novels.

So veteran readers
Four or five stars? It seemed irrelevant after following the characters for so long. This doesn't have to be the end but At Last makes sense as a caesura or a finale. At his mother's funeral, Patrick Melrose is finally free of his parents but the legacy of problems they started is still to some extent with him.

I was so glad to find this compulsively readable as I had the first three Patrick Melrose books. I gave up on Mother's Milk somewhere in the first or second chapter: being presented with
Ruby Soames
Fearless Writing.

Edward StAubyn has been one of my favourite authors since Never Mind, his first book which won the Betty Trask Award – the prize for under-35 years olds. St Aubyn is now into his fifties and I’m in my…let’s not go there. So as I’ve grown up and the novel was followed by sequels, all of which won literary respect and acclaim, Patrick Melrose, the erudite, dry, damaged and damaging’s central character, has grown up with me. Grown up, or just moved through time? This last novel of
When asked which Picador writers he liked, Alan Hollinghurst mentioned Edward St Aubyn. Being a huge fan of Hollinghurst, I found Mother's Milk by St Aubyn at the local library, and now At Last. Be warned: At Last is a direct continuation of the former. My major problem with both novels is the presence of a precocious six-year-old boy who, in At Last, debates the nature of consciouness and makes a joke about Osama Bin Laden. This is an authorial mouthpiece, and not a credible character. Having s ...more
Amanda Patterson
This is the final instalment in the Melrose family saga. St Aubyn's semi-autobiographical journey began with the trilogy Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope. The story continued with Mother's Milk and ends At Last.
Patrick Melrose watches his mother’s coffin in this caustically funny book.
He has just returned from the Priory after his own marriage breaks up. We watch him revisit his rape by his father, his heroin addiction and his eventual disinheritance by his mother. He realises his parents we
After being nuked by the first four Patrick Melrose novels (see my review of those), I knocked down a few old ladies in my rush to get this final volume. I wish I saw it as a capstone, but I was a bit disappointed. St. Aubyn began to get significant attention (at least in the U.S.) only with the fourth volume of the series, Mother's Milk, and I have a strong suspicion that his publisher told him that since people might read At Last without having read the first four books, he needed to make it c ...more
Michael Hurley
A branch of the Vanderbilt family lives off of the tourist income generated at the famous Asheville estate. It's a carefully managed image. In his Patrick Melrose novels Edward St. Aubyn offers a significantly less filtered glimpse into the lives of the very rich. The five novels (the first four being more novellas) follow Patrick Melrose, roughly crafted after the author, through his upbringing in an English family of fairly immense inherited wealth. His father is a sadistic bully and rapist, o ...more
I can't remember why I got "Never Mind", the first in the Patrick Melrose series, but I'm so glad I found these books! I've had to ration them out by reading other stuff in between to avoid overdosing a la "Bad News" era Patrick.
In this final part, the title gives it away but quite frankly the poor chap could do with a nice rest. After laying both of his physical demons to rest, Patrick is finally allowed to let go of his metaphorical ones and we find out a lot more about the awfulness of his c
By the time I read this book, I had forgotten why I'd bought it or even what it was supposed to be about. So it was a total surprise. At Last takes place on the day of the funeral & post-funeral reception of Eleanor Melrose. Eleanor came from a family that was once wealthy, but is now highly bitter about the loss of that wealth through a series of bad marriages & spendthrift behaviors. Eleanor's family & friends people this book, with her son Patrick as the main character. Over the c ...more
Stephen Durrant
Tolstoy's famous opening to Anna Karenina notwithstanding, maybe not every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. So many novels about unhappy families have now been written that I wonder if we are nearing the point where all variations have been explored. That being said, Edward St. Aubyn's "Melrose" novels, which conclude here with "At Last," have two noteworthy qualities. First, he sets the bar for unhappiness impressively high (or should we say "low"?): a father who rapes his son, a mothe ...more
I couldn't get into this book at all. It took an enormous amount of effort to get through the first nine pages--most of it supposedly dialogue. The voices of those speaking didn't strike me as authentic back-and-forth. The vernacular seemed too premeditated for what should have been stream-of-consciousness repartee. I perservered till page 23, somewhat into the second chapter, set in another character's POV: and it all sounded the same. That's when I gave up.

As I looked up the book to give this
Finally got around to reading this, after being deeply immersed in the trilogy of his other books last year. This review from the NY times
Highlights some of the best parts of the novel.

It's far less of an emotional roller coaster than the other books and ends with a glimpse of maturity and compassion which makes an end to the saga. The earlier books I found a fascinating glimpse into the world of upper class England with all sorts of privilege and things

I hardly know where to start. I loved the five Patrick Melrose books that much. But perhaps I should just write down what I've been saying over the past month to anyone who will listen to me...

Edward St. Aubyn is a British writer who has published five books as part of the "Patrick Melrose series" over the past 22 years. He initially envisioned the series as a trilogy, and he published the first three books between 1992 and 1994. The fourth book started out as an entirely different work,
May 13, 2013 Margaret rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who values excellent writing.
Recommended to Margaret by: My daughter, Jen. Thank you.
This fifth and final book of the Patrick Melrose novel cycle takes place during the days surrounding the funeral of Patrick’s mother. It’s not that he has given up his anger or that he is no longer hostile towards the hypocrisy he sees (accurately) all around him, but he now attends more to himself, his sons, his own growth. Now that both of his parents are dead, there is a glimmer of peace, some hope that he can lay down some bitterness and begin to feel something beyond pain. This book is an a ...more
The substance is the same as the previous books, and just doesn't have the same hold on me, but the style is still compelling. I think it's also worth noting how much less fun this series would be without the Johnny character. Patrick would have no excuse to therapize himself out loud, and we would have no one to enjoy hanging out with. So: cheers to Johnny.
Dorothy Bandusky
This final novel in the Patrick Melrose series is the best one. It starts slow, but picks up as readers are allowed to understand Patrick and his parents a little bit better. The ending is a good one. However, once again, foul language detracts from the story.
This is seemingly the last of St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels . If you read my reviews you will see that over the last two years I have pleasurably worked my way through the sad and hilarious depiction of Melrose's life. These novels are somewhat autobiographical . If St. Aubyn's life is only half as horrific as. Patrick Melrose's then the deserves a medal for writing it all down as opposed to putting his head in an oven. Melrose is hyper ironic sarcastic with a wicked black sense of humor. M ...more
Remy Kothe
This was my least favorite of the series of books chronicling Patrick Melrose's life. I understand the need for major philosophical introspection after the main characters tragic, debauched, really, really horrible life, but I would rather read a straight philosophical text vs. a novel with unrelenting philosophical insights...I experienced much of the same irritiation reading "At Last" as I did 30 years ago reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance (so if you loved Zen...this review is ...more
I'm weeping over here. A mix of sadness - that this is the last in this first-rate series - and satisfaction, that Patrick Melrose gets one more shot at happiness. Tough material, beautifully written, profoundly wise.
St Aubyn's philosopher characters are always over my head, and it's unlikely that every single person in Patrick's life would be able to keep up with his blisteringly complex reflections on existence, addiction, love, abuse, etymology, etc. And this is the first book where I thought a character (in this case, Patrick's broke and selfish fallen heiress of an aunt, Nancy) was over the top. Her vanity and desperation to remain relevant in English high society were cartoonish. The children, Robert a ...more
Michael Meeuwis
I didn't like this nearly as much as the previous books in the series--in fact, it made me wonder, given that this book shares some of their limitations, whether they weren't worse than I thought they were. St. Aubyn's style produces beautiful epigrams, but here what they're folded into is pretty weak stuff. I don't think the interest in consciousness, which extends across a number of the characters, really produces anything of value. Beautiful moments, but a wobbly and insubstantial whole.
Claudia Putnam
I was going to give this 4 stars as i did to the first 4, but what the hell. This whole series was a very satisfying read. Yeah, there was a lot of recapping in this volume, but to me that made sense. Patrick is, at last, really taking stock of his life and possession of his self. And he's one of those left-brained types who's bound to analyze. So i didn't mind hanging around in his head as he worked his way through it, and as the last voices that represented his parents and their lives either b ...more
Cal Jeannette
Mildly interesting. Another book that is critically acclaimed, but to me is a bunch of nonsense. Supposedly clever and "intellectual" - NOT! Just a lot of morose, schizophrenic, self-centered psycho-babble. I did like the underlying story of Eleanor (the mother), Patrick (the son), and the evil, twisted, sick David (the father). I would have liked the story to be more about their family life, with a deeper exploration of the lasting impact parents have on their children.
At last, indeed.

It seems that over the last several years, whenever I read an interview with an author and he or she was asked what was on their current reading list, often the answer was the “Patrick Melrose” novels.

Over the last two weeks, I have been on a binge of these five Edward St. Aubyn books, and today I can say, at last, I am done, done with the books, done with Patrick Melrose.

I am leaving these books unrated, as I feel it is facile to give them x number of stars. It cannot be argued
I continue to be in awe of St. Aubyn's ability to mine the material of his own life and come up with unforgettable stories and characters, and sentences that can make me howl with laughter or sob, or both.

This book takes place at the funeral of Patrick Melrose's wretched mother, who is dead. At last.

"The deeper truth that he had been a toy in the sadomasochistic relationship between his parents was not, until now, something he could bear to contemplate. He clung to the flimsy protection of think
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At Last - cover illustration. 2 13 Jan 21, 2013 08:32PM  
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Edward St Aubyn was born in London in 1960. He was educated at Westminster school and Keble college, Oxford University. He is the author of six novels, the most recent of which, ‘Mother’s Milk’, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, won the 2007 Prix Femina Etranger and won the 2007 South Bank Show award on literature.

His first novel, ‘Never Mind’ (1992) won the Betty Trask award. This no
More about Edward St. Aubyn...

Other Books in the Series

The Patrick Melrose Novels (5 books)
  • Never Mind (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #1)
  • Bad News (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #2)
  • Some Hope (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #3)
  • Mother's Milk (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #4)
The Patrick Melrose Novels (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #1-4) Never Mind (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #1) Mother's Milk (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #4) Lost for Words Bad News (The Patrick Melrose Novels, #2)

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