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

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  2,504 Ratings  ·  323 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 2011)
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Steve
Jan 11, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it
How much wit, wisdom and fine writing can an author stuff into a novel yet still be, for me, less than fully satisfying? In the case of Edward St. Aubyn and the last of his Patrick Melrose novels, quite a lot. In a more perfect world, where denouements are de rigueur and the ones you’re rooting for triumph in glory, Patrick would have used his keen intellect and insights into human nature to find an engaging space for himself. But I guess At Last was too true to life for that, or at least too tr ...more
Bart
Dec 04, 2013 Bart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Phrynne
Dec 25, 2014 Phrynne rated it really liked it
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
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
Jessica
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
...more
Antonomasia
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
...more
Ruby Soames
Jun 02, 2011 Ruby Soames rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Justin Evans
Feb 09, 2013 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Gerhard
Jan 21, 2012 Gerhard rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Lauren
May 09, 2012 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Amazing.

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,
...more
Elaine
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
...more
مروان البلوشي
تاريخ القراءة الأصلية : ...more
Katerina
Заключительный роман серии сильно автобиографических романов про Патрика Мелроуза очень выигрывает от того, что он заключительный, и потому его трудно рассматривать в отрыве от предыдущих.

Все пять романов выглядят попыткой человека, неплохо умеющего рассказывать истории, сэкономить на психоаналитике. Вместо того, чтобы пойти и подлечиться, Сент-Обин -- небезыскусно, стоит отдать ему должное, -- вываливает весь груз детских травм на читателя: садист-отец, тихоня-мать (в первом романе есть милейша
...more
Amanda Patterson
Jun 26, 2011 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it
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
...more
Pamela
Jan 03, 2014 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Margaret
May 13, 2013 Margaret rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Hurley
Nov 28, 2014 Michael Hurley rated it really liked it
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
Sheri
Dec 04, 2012 Sheri rated it really liked it
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
Bungo
Aug 06, 2016 Bungo rated it really liked it
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
...more
Judith
Sep 21, 2015 Judith rated it it was amazing
I listened to the Patrick Melrose novels 1-4 on audible.Twice. Then I discovered accidentally there was a fifth and final novel, which is sort of odd because 1-4 come as a package deal. So I had to drop everything and go get the 5th immediately. I find myself curiously unable to describe why I loved these books so much. Let me just say they are immensely popular so I can't be the only one; though love of books, like love of people is surely blind.

Patrick is raised in the lap of luxury in Britai
...more
Nadine
Jan 28, 2013 Nadine rated it really liked it
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 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/boo...
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
...more
Stephen Durrant
May 01, 2012 Stephen Durrant rated it liked it
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
Karen
Jul 28, 2014 Karen rated it did not like it
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
...more
Rick
May 31, 2013 Rick rated it really liked it
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
Spencer Keasey
Mar 26, 2016 Spencer Keasey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing quite like the loss I feel when I close a book after reading the last page. When that book, or in this case a series of 5, all 5 back to back in the last 5 weeks, has unquestionably been a revelation of healing, confusion, and catharsis, I'd say I am a bit in shock at the loss. Yes, there was closure, but this series will go down as being 'life altering,' for me a higher level than 'life changing;' alter suggests so much more, the desire to reverently take one's life and be boun ...more
Cal Jeannette
Mar 19, 2013 Cal Jeannette rated it it was ok
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.
Saïdeh Pakravan
Aug 09, 2013 Saïdeh Pakravan rated it did not like it
One lone star for the writing which is excellent but style is simply not enough for this reader. "At Last" must be one of the most boring books I have ever come across. The one positive aspect of the experience is that I have decided life is too short and my reading time to precious to waste it. So give me stellar prose along with entertaining fiction. Paul Auster, Steven Millhauser, Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley, yes!!
Michael Meeuwis
Sep 08, 2014 Michael Meeuwis rated it it was ok
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.
Kate
Mar 17, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
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.
Jane
Apr 14, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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At Last - cover illustration. 2 13 Jan 22, 2013 05:32AM  
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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
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)

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“Above all, she was a baby, not a 'big baby' like so many adults, but a small baby perfectly preserved in the pickling jar of money, alcohol and fantasy.” 3 likes
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