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Eagle v. Jellyfish

Theo Tait: Edward StAubyn, 2 June 2011

At Last 
by Edward StAubyn.
Picador, 266 pp., £16.99, May 2011, 978 0 330 43590 1
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... Edward StAubyn began writing his Patrick Melrose novels in 1988. He finished At Last, the fifth and supposedly final book in the series, late in 2010. St Aubyn is a terrific prose stylist and, end to end, these 800 or so pages, covering more than 40 years, add up to something incontestably grand, the nearest we have today to the great cycles of upper-class English life published in the decades after the war – Dance to the Music of Time or Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour ...

Bastards

James Wood: St Aubyn’s Savage Sentences, 2 November 2006

Mother’s Milk 
by Edward StAubyn.
Picador, 279 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 330 43589 2
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... Can you always count on a bastard for a fancy prose style? It is hard to imagine the fiction of Edward StAubyn stripped of the cool silver of its style. I am not accusing St Aubyn of being a bastard; I mean that he writes very well about bastards, and that both their contempt for the world and St Aubyn’s contempt for them find their best expression in a certain kind of intelligent, frozen stylishness ...

More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones: Satire and St Aubyn, 8 May 2014

Lost for Words 
by Edward StAubyn.
Picador, 261 pp., £12.99, May 2014, 978 0 330 45422 3
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Books 
by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... likely to be seen as settling a score rather than diagnosing the ills of the literary marketplace. Edward StAubyn, whose new novel, Lost for Words, is a satirical farce about the machinations behind a famous literary prize, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2006 with Mother’s Milk, but lost out to Kiran ...

Muted Ragu Tones

Michael Hofmann: David Szalay, 21 April 2016

All That Man Is 
by David Szalay.
Cape, 437 pp., £14.99, April 2016, 978 0 224 09976 9
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... on and following, in the wake of and on a level with the likes of James Buchan, Tessa Hadley and Edward StAubyn. The four books are distinct – there’s no real overlap to speak of – but possess the sort of shared traits that a reader likes to find in an author, and an author in himself. London and the South-East ...

In the Potato Patch

Jenny Turner: Penelope Fitzgerald, 19 December 2013

Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 508 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 7011 8495 7
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... novel and fifth book; her first books had been biographies, of her father’s famous family and of Edward Burne-Jones. She was 62 when she won the Booker, a widow and the mother of three grown-up children, and although no longer in straits as desperate as those she had drawn on for the novel, she was accustomed to making do on very little. She lived on the ...

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