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A Clue to the Exit
by Edward St. Aubyn


Overview -

A beautifully modulated novel that shows Edward St. Aubyn at his sparkling best

Charlie Fairburn, successful screenwriter, ex-husband, and absent father, has been given six months to live. He resolves to stake half his fortune on a couple of turns of the roulette wheel and, to his agent's disgust, to write a novel-about death.  Read more...


 
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More About A Clue to the Exit by Edward St. Aubyn
 
 
 
Overview

A beautifully modulated novel that shows Edward St. Aubyn at his sparkling best

Charlie Fairburn, successful screenwriter, ex-husband, and absent father, has been given six months to live. He resolves to stake half his fortune on a couple of turns of the roulette wheel and, to his agent's disgust, to write a novel-about death. In the casino he meets his muse. Charlie grows as addicted to writing fiction as she is to gambling.

His novel is set on a train and involves a group of characters (familiar to readers of St. Aubyn's earlier work) who are locked in a debate about the nature of consciousness. As this train gets stuck at Didcot, and Charlie gets more passionately entangled with the dangerous Angelique, "A Clue to the Exit" comes to its startling climax. Exquisitely crafted, witty, and thoughtful, Edward St. Aubyn's dazzling novel probes the very heart of being.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781250046031
  • ISBN-10: 1250046033
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: September 2015
  • Page Count: 208


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-06-15
  • Reviewer: Staff

Linguistic legerdemain enlivens this short, sharp, often funny, occasionally moving novel about a British screenwriter who, when told he has six months to live, sets about writing a novel. Best known for the movie Aliens with a Human Heart, Charlie finds himself in his final days alienated from his ex-wife (who keeps their London house even though her spiritual home is Tibet), his New York agent, and his friends. Moreover, throughout his travels, he is too restless to stay in his house in St. Tropez, or a luxury Monte Carlo hotel, or Toulon’s red light district, or the desert, holding fast to two obsessions: longing to reconnect with his daughter and a determination to write something important. Interspersed with Charlie’s personal narrative are excerpts from his novel, a third-person description of people meeting on a train after a conference on consciousness. Cross-references abound: the hero of Charlie’s novel is named Patrick (a nod to St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series), fellow travellers Crystal and Peter (in the novel within the novel) appeared in St. Aubyn’s novel, On the Edge, and Charlie’s novel’s tentative title is On the Train. Both novels provide laugh-out-loud moments, as St. Aubyn remains the preeminent satirist of a meaningless New Age search for meaning. What makes this effort compelling is Charlie’s painfully honest, unremittingly self-aware account of his emotional journey, drawing readers down with him into a “narrowing funnel of time.” (Sept.)

 
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