Updated: Oct 8, 2020
by Edward St. Aubyn
I thought some of the writing this small novel was among some of the most brilliant I have ever read, especially the opening. St. Aubyn sets the scene and characters so very deftly it's breath-taking and you are aware, even in the innocuous first couple of paragraphs, that there are some seriously damaging issues lying just beneath the surface.
The characterisation, especially of Eleanor, is brutal, never overdone and so, very, very slowly and deceptively builds until you, as reader, are literally reading this between your fingertips knowing the whole gamut of characters are sliding towards, well, quite frankly, you are not sure what but you know it's not good. You veer between profound sympathy, despair and utter loathing for the main players.
Absolutely blistering writing - the subject matter, to an extent, has been covered before many times but this is never hackneyed or token cliché. Thought-provoking and, even to my jaded reading palate, hits you with a couple of twists that I did not expect. Not for the faint-hearted though.