Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn‘I really did have an empire, you know,’ said Dunbar. ‘Have I ever told you the story of how it was stolen from me?’
Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global corporation, is not having a good day. In his dotage he handed over care of the family firm to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan. But relations quickly soured, leaving him doubting the wisdom of past decisions...
Now imprisoned in a care home in the Lake District with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?
Edward St Aubyn is renowned for his masterwork, the five Melrose novels, which dissect with savage and beautiful precision the agonies of family life. His take on King Lear, Shakespeare’s most devastating family story, is an excoriating novel for and of our times – an examination of power, money and the value of forgiveness.
Edward St Aubyn
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The complete Patrick Melrose novels were released earlier this month, in one volume , by Picador. This conversation took place last summer, and originally appeared in Morgenbladet in Norwegian. Others go to cafes and write in public, scribbling until a draft is complete. Aubyn chose a more extreme method. Aubyn is tall, handsome, and wearing a dark blue suit. And it worked. This is putting it mildly.
Here are a few of the things that I read: that he wears too-tight tweed suits and green velvet smoking jackets; that he is facetious, arrogant and a terrible snob; that his manner is cold and his eyes like those of a 'shark'; that his charm, wit and elegant sentences are reserved for close friends; that these friends include people with grand surnames of which I'm vaguely aware Rothschilds, Guinnesses, Spencers but am not smart enough to encounter at 'weekend house parties'. And then, of course, there is the treacherous territory of the life from which he has, at least in part, hewn several novels. As a child, he was raped by his father. At 16, he was a spectacularly focused heroin addict. At 28, he decided that he would kill himself if he did not finish writing a novel. This is as forbidding a potted character analysis as any I have read. Still, I was desperate to meet him.
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you re your own worst critic
Book Review: The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St Aubyn with Sharin
From the age of five, he was repeatedly raped by his sadistic, psychopathic and perhaps even murderous father, Roger St Aubyn, the assaults continuing until he somehow found the courage to confront him, aged just eight. Soon after, his parents divorced. He barely survived. While still a schoolboy at Westminster, aged 16, he became a heroin addict. Famously, he sat his finals at Oxford, where he read English, equipped with a Biro full of the drug but forgot to take a pen. Edward St Aubyn had always wanted to write, though, and had begun a novel when he was just 12, completing 40 pages.
In , as Edward St. Aubyn said, several weeks ago. Aubyn was eating lunch in an almost empty restaurant a short walk from his home, in the Notting Hill area of London. When St. Then St. He narrowed his eyes.