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At Last

(Patrick Melrose #5)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,556 ratings  ·  499 reviews

At Last is the fifth and final instalment of Edward St Aubyn's semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, adapted for TV for Sky Atlantic and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as aristocratic addict, Patrick.

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 wi

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Picador (first published May 1st 2011)
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Pat Innes The fourth novel was superb and stands in its own right. The fifth I struggled with. Obviously, it wound up the series but I found it difficult to kee…moreThe fourth novel was superb and stands in its own right. The fifth I struggled with. Obviously, it wound up the series but I found it difficult to keep reading to the end. The writing throughout the series though was a joy to read.(less)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,556 ratings  ·  499 reviews

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Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2012 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
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
St. Aubyn saves the best for last with this concluding PM book - and that needs to be qualified. The end of the series is a game-changer, and a particular challenge in that almost the entire book takes place at Patrick's mother's funeral. (~aside from a few flashbacks and a coda.)

One wouldn't think such a choice would be sustainable non-stop but it all works immeasurably well. It also serves the argument that, although both parents were shown to be monstrous, mom seems to bear the bulk of the r
Roman Clodia
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Set on the day of Eleanor's funeral, once again the Melrose family is brought together with friends and hangers on for the finale to this 5-book series (quintet?). For me, there's too much of tiresome Nicholas Pratt, the last of the adults left alive from the opening book, and too little of Patrick himself - until the end.

But what a quietly wonderful ending! Orphaned at last, separated from his wife, Patrick finally opens himself to the possibility of healing: 'he suddenly wanted to see his chil
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2015 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, 2015
Phew, done at last with the 5 Patrick Melrose novels. St-Aubyn’s positively is a terrific writer - his prose bristles with stunning, brilliantly articulated reflections - but I confess to keep ruminating on this, having strongly mixed feelings on the whole set-up– I will come back to it.
Ruby Soames
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 wi
Beth Bonini
The ‘action’ of this novel spans a single day: the day of Patrick Melrose’s mother’s funeral. But the effect is almost one of time-lapse, as key events from the parental past play in the background of our protagonist’s consciousness. In this novel, the reader is treated to the comic-tragic spectacle of Eleanor’s skimpily attended funeral and drinks-party wake, whilst her relentlessly analytical son tries to get to grips with both the finality and ongoing emotional turbulence caused by his mother ...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
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class-system, fiction
I find myself reacting to the Patrick Melrose novels in a similar way to Elena Ferrante’s The Neapolitan Novels. Individually, each one is a four star reading experience yet collectively they form a transcendent epic greater than the sum of its parts. Thus the last instalment merits five stars as it brings the whole narrative together so beautifully. While St Aubyn’s writing is as elegantly acerbic as ever, Patrick has changed. ‘At Last’ covers the day of his mother’s funeral. In the previous bo ...more
LeAnne: GeezerMom
A quarter way through but pausing to start with the first of this series instead.
Justin Evans
Feb 09, 2013 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
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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,
Richard Moss
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
It's hard to think of a better series of novels than St Aubyn's Melrose books, and they come to a typically brilliant conclusion in At Last.

The final installment centres around the funeral of Patrick's mother, Eleanor, and the following wake/party. It is possible to read At Last as a single volume, but without the layers added by the previous four books, it would not be the complete experience.

The funeral offer a chance for Melrose to reflect on the events of the previous four novels, and an opp
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i am glad i was given the last book in this series, as its nihilism is as vicious as its humor. Clever, often very funny, melancholic philosophy. A good one to read when one's mood stabilzers have kicked in.
Doriana Bisegna
So happy this series of 5 novels is over...I'm ready to move on!! What a struggles that was! Why do I insist on finishing novels that don't satisfy me in any way??
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, owned
An elegant and moving conclusion. I don't think it had quite the same power as the first three volumes, but it was worth sticking around to read the end.

I will definitely think about it for time to come.
This review isn't going to do the book justice since I finished it over a month ago. Probably more. I don't even want to look. One thing I will say right away is that this is one of the few instances where I actually enjoyed the filmed version better than the book. I don't have any real evidence to back this up since my memory is crap, but all I remember is a feeling that I liked the slight tilt the show put on this episode in Patrick's life just a little bit better than the book version.

This is
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At Last is a very satisfying conclusion to the Patrick Melrose series of books. It contains the now familiar combination of humour, profundity, and insight.

Eleanor, Patrick Melrose's negligent mother, has died and At Last takes place on the day of her funeral. We are reacquainted with many of the characters from previous books and we flit from their differing perspectives. The central question is will Eleanor's death finally set Patrick free? The denouement is more surprising and satisfying tha
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last novel of this hard to read yet so engaging series. This is an example of how no to be a permanent victim. A current culture of victim hood praised as sainthood sometime creates strange distorted realities. People seem to justify all their problems with a pose of ever suffering victim of one thing or another. The author managed to overcome this, luckily too cynical to play the role of hapless victim. This is not to judge the sufferers of any kind of violence or abuse. I just find the cur ...more
J. Lee Hazlett
The title of this final installment in the Patrick Melrose series says everything. In the end, I was left with the sense that Patrick has been holding his breath for his entire life, with only occasional gasps to sustain him along the way. The events of this book are his final twitching struggles to keep holding the previous gasp for as long as he possibly can, even though he he hates it and knows that it's unsustainable. Finally, finally, he's able to allow himself to let the exhausted air out ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As the series draws to a close with the final book, At Last, there are signs that Patrick may be able to find some kind of way forward, a sense of release from the traumas and frustrations of the past. At the age of forty-five, he is attending his mother’s funeral, an opportunity to let go of longstanding anger and resentment.

To read the rest of my piece (covering all 5 books in the series), please visit:

Regina Lemoine
This is a semi-satisfying end to the Patrick Melrose novels, but is also easily my least favorite. It got a bit too slapstick and, as a reader, I would have preferred that St Aubyn had spent a bit more time with Patrick. The first three novels are superior by far to the last two, though St Aubyn is a brilliant writer and I get the sense that he may be incapable of writing a truly bad book. Despite my reservations about this final installment, I give the series as a whole 4 stars.
Kiera Lucy
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a perfect ending to a beautiful, intelligent, dark, and funny series. Go and read these books!!
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished the series, now I can settle down to watch Cumberbatch play Patrick Melrose. Amazing quintet of books, with more turned-down corners marking passages, phrases and dialogue that struck a chord more than any other novels I've read. Deeply affecting, thought-provoking, funny and tragic.
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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

Other books in the series

Patrick Melrose (5 books)
  • Never Mind
  • Bad News
  • Some Hope
  • Mother's Milk

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