Hogarth Shakespeare

Dunbar

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Edward St. Aubyn, "perhaps the most brilliant novelist of his generation" (Alan Hollinghurst), author of the internationally acclaimed Patrick Melrose novels, brings us a savage, satirical, outrageously entertaining novel of loyalty, betrayal, corporate greed, and the wisdom that shines through the accumulating indignities of age.

'I really did have an empire, you know,' said Dunbar. 'Have I ever told you the story of how it was stolen from me?'


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 a care home in the Lake District 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. Dunbar is a devastating family story and an excoriating novel for and of our times—an examination of power, money and the value of forgiveness.

PRAISE FOR

“[L]augh-out-loud funny. . . . This tale of a wealthy, arrogant, insecure egomaniac who surrounds himself with mutiny-ready incompetents confirms the [Hogarth] series’ inarguable premise: that Shakespeare is a writer for all ages, but it also confirms that St. Aubyn is one of the sharpest of our own.” —Toronto Star
 
[St. Aubyn] doesn’t disappoint in Dunbar, in either familial vivisection or the blackest comedy, the latter primarily involving its title character’s elder daughters, Abigail and Megan, more vicious and far funnier than Goneril and Regan. . . . Throughout Dunbar’s struggle on the stormy heath, interspersed with brilliant skewerings of privilege, a reader can see both the tragedy of Shakespeare’s old man—who but ‘ever slenderly knew himself’—and hints of the journey to self-awareness that must have once saved a younger St. Aubyn.” —Maclean’s
 
“The immediate pleasure of Dunbar is in St. Aubyn’s mimicry of Shakespeare’s gift for banter. . . . St. Aubyn writes like a fencer fences—so elegantly that it disguises the sharpness of his strike. There’s no novelist alive who combines his gift for irony and his Wodehousian satire of the upper classes with his acute comprehension of the bleakness of existence. . . . St. Aubyn rivals Shakespeare in his magnificently scathing language.” —The Atlantic
 
“St. Aubyn shines at skewering the rich and profligate. . . . [T]hat is where [St. Aubyn] shines his light most beautifully—and also most usefully: on the aftermath of tragedy. . . . While St. Aubyn remains faithful at the final moment to Shakespeare, allowing Wilson (Albany) to utter the final words, he also uses the words to his own suitably bleak yet ultimately hopeful finish—a true meeting of minds and not a bit far-fetched.” —Los Angeles Times