Author(s): Edward St. Aubyn
A reimagining of one of Shakespeare's most well-read tragedies, by the contemporary, critically acclaimed master of domestic drama
Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global media corporation, is not having a good day. In his dotage he hands over care of the corporation to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan, but as relations sour he starts to doubt the wisdom of past decisions.
Now imprisoned in Meadowmeade, an upscale sanatorium in rural England, with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?
Edward St Aubyn is renowned for his masterwork, the five Melrose novels, which dissect with savage and beautiful precision the agonies of family life. His take on King Lear, Shakespeare's most devastating family story, is an excoriating novel for and of our times - an examination of power, money and the value of forgiveness.
"Of all the novelist and play matches in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, that of Edward St Aubyn with King Lear seems the finest. Shakespeare's blackest, most surreal and hectic tragedy sharpened by one of our blackest, more surreal and hectic wits... It's an enticing prospect... His Lear is Henry Dunbar, the head of an international media corporation - like Conrad Black or Rupert Murdoch - and is brilliantly awful... The other characters, even minor ones, are also wittily and cleverly updated" -- Kate Clanchy * Guardian * "He is an inspired choice to retell King Lear for Hogarth Shakespeare's anniversary series. Dunbar emerges as one of the finest contributions in a line-up glittering with literary stars...He has transplanted the heart of the story into the present and made it feel remarkably authentic" -- Stephanie Merritt * Observer * "A piercing portrait of existential agony... savagely acute" -- Anthony Cummins * Daily Mail * "Edward St Aubyn, in his powerful new novel Dunbar, applies the oxyacetylene brilliance and cauterisation of his prose to bear on the tragic endgame of a family's internecine struggle for control of a global fortune. St Aubyn is a connoisseur of depravity, yet also shows he cherishes the possibility of redemption... An Aubynesque simile can brighten a grey passage... Most of the novel is harsh; all of it is entertaining" -- Patrick Skene Catling * Spectator * "St Aubyn is excellent on the characters' psychology... powerful and moving" -- Anthony Gardner * Mail on Sunday *
Edward St Aubyn was born in London. His superbly acclaimed Patrick Melrose novels are Never Mind, which won a Betty Trask Award, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk, which won the Prix Femina etranger and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and At Last. He is also the author of the novels A Clue to the Exit, On the Edge, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and Lost for Words, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize.