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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
St. Aubyn's first novel carries a biting subtextual social criticism reminiscent of The Corrections, but this British writer takes no prisoners. His brilliantly wrought fictional trilogy features a character-driven narrative with flashes of conflict and emotion relieved by a stringent humor. Some Hope is the tumultuous journey of Patrick Melrose, following along as he endures an abusive childhood under the tyranny of a deliberately cruel father and a drunken mother, through resulting addiction, dereliction, and bitterness that threaten to overtake him completely. On Patrick's travels, readers meet a great many social climbers determined to avoid the label "working class," who provide cautionary evidence for a life of greater significance. From detestably vapid socialites to the loathsome elder Melrose, St. Aubyn's characters are exquisitely rendered and revealed bit by bit in precise sections, like subjects of a biology class.
But St. Aubyn is after something deeper, exploring the contrasts between perception and reality, surface and substance. His protagonist has the urgency of an addict searching for order in a chaotic universe, for significance in a vast nullity. Ultimately, Some Hope offers what the title suggests -- a powerfully satisfying conclusion and the reconciliation between the quest for forgiveness and redemption, marking St. Aubyn as a truly important literary discovery. (Winter/Spring 2004 Selection)