Pulsing jewels: Edward St Aubyn’s ‘At Last’

First, what a lovely painting of roses by British surgeon and artist Sir Roy Calne decorates the dust jacket of Edward St Aubyn’s new novel “At Last.”

Second, what fine filling there is between the covers.

Others have written about the desolation, wit and clawed progress toward hope that makes the final installment of  St Aubyn’s  “Melrose novels” proof, as if proof were needed, that high-end English ennui is not dead, not embalmed and sole territory for the period costume department of the BBC. “At Last” was so powerfully admired by New Yorker critic James Wood that his review amounted to placing an encyclopedia on a daisy. What I haven’t seen remarked on, which is not to say that it hasn’t been noticed — even all over the place, is that the core of St Aubyn’s solace in this strange and beautiful book isn’t in the wit of

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