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Edward St Aubyn’s tragi-comic tale of human frailty

His new novel makes for absorbing and immediate reading

By Zoe Apostolides   May 2021
Cap d'Antibes on the French Riviera Credit: Avalon/World Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

Cap d'Antibes on the French Riviera Credit: Avalon/World Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

Since the completion of his acclaimed semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose series, Edward St Aubyn has turned his attention to standalone novels such as Dunbar, a modern retelling of King Lear which came out in 2017. His latest, Double Blind, focusing on three converging protagonists as they grapple with a “cascade of changes” across one year, is similarly Shakespearean in scope and tone, moving from the intimate to the universal within paragraphs and providing tragedy, comedy and human frailty.

Olivia and Lucy are university friends freshly reunited after Lucy’s new job brings her back to London. While Olivia’s work has…

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