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  • Published: 16 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787300262
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $32.99

Double Blind




The major new novel from the author of the award-winning Patrick Melrose series

Following three friends and their circle through a year of transformation, Double Blind is about the headlong pursuit of knowledge - for pleasure, revelation, money, sanity, survival - and the consequences of fleeing what we already know about others and ourselves.

When Olivia meets a new lover, Francis, just as she is welcoming her dearest friend Lucy back from New York, her life expands precipitously. Her connection to Francis, a committed naturalist living off-grid, is immediate and startling. Eager to involve Lucy in her joy, Olivia introduces the two - but Lucy has news of her own that binds the trio unusually close. Over the months that follow, Lucy's boss Hunter, Olivia's psychoanalyst parents, and a young man named Sebastian are pulled into the friends' orbit, and not one of them will emerge unchanged.

St Aubyn's major new novel investigates themes of inheritance, determinism, freedom, consciousness, and is as compelling about ecology, psychoanalysis, genetics and neuroscience as it is about love, fear and courage. Most of all, it is a perfect expression of the interconnections it sets out to examine, and a moving evocation of an imagined world that is deeply intelligent, often tender, curious, and very much alive.

  • Published: 16 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787300262
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Edward St Aubyn

Edward St Aubyn was born in London. His superbly acclaimed Patrick Melrose novels are Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk (winner of the Prix Femina étranger and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize), and At Last. The series was made into a BAFTA-award winning Sky Atlantic TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. St Aubyn is also the author of A Clue to the Exit, On the Edge (shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize), Lost for Words (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), and Dunbar, his re-imagining of King Lear for Hogarth Shakespeare.

Also by Edward St Aubyn

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Praise for Double Blind

If, as Henry James said, the first duty of the novelist is to be interesting, he would be happy in St Aubyn's company. Double Blind is emotionally cogent and intellectually fascinating. There are reflections and conversations here which adroitly evoke those important intersections where science and our urgent contemporary concerns meet. I was gripped by it.

Ian McEwan

This is the best kind of novel of ideas, as entertaining as it is chewy, not to mention immensely pleasurable on the sentence level

Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

This is a novel with heart... Double Blind is both clever and compassionate, confirming St Aubyn as among the brightest lights of contemporary British literature

Alex Preston, Spectator

St Aubyn has lost none of his ability to create rounded characters...and the witty dialogue is well up to the standard of the Melrose books

Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph

Double Blind is a book of big ideas, in which the characters experiment with medicine, psychology, narcotics, religion and meditation to understand themselves and find peace. But as cerebral as the book is, it is also deeply felt, because St Aubyn has been thinking about these issues for decades

Hadley Freeman, Guardian

There is in Double Blind a compassion that St Aubyn has elsewhere tended to either eschew or keep implicit. Despite the novel's acerbic edge, St Aubyn is attentive to his characters' suffering and vulnerability whatever their privileges . . . St Aubyn's prose is as elegant as anybody familiar with his previous work might expect. Indeed, so consistent is the writing's quality the reader is apt to miss its many charms, acclimated as they are to it . . . Double Blind is yet another ambitious work by one of today's finest literary stylists

Luke Warde, Irish Independent

Where Patrick Melrose's trauma was childhood abuse and neglect, for Francis it's abuse and neglect of the planet, for which a new interconnectedness with nature is the only cure... It's bold of St Aubyn to write a novel that's so much about science and about so much science... ideas matter and so does the novel of ideas.

Blake Morrison, Book of the Week, Guardian

Shakespearean in scope and tone, moving from the intimate to the universal within paragraphs and providing tragedy, comedy and human frailty... A less practised author would run the risk of over-saturating all the disparate strands, but St Aubyn offers comment on the natural world, genetics, family dynamics, philosophy, psychiatry and ecology without forgetting the tapestry-like threads of the story itself-and provides a satisfying resolution to boot... Brimful of energy, this novel asks big questions-"How could one ever truly enter into another subjectivity?"-without giving us all the answers... Pacey, caustic and self-aware, it is this neatly choreographed dance of themes and ideas that makes for such absorbing and immediate reading.

Zoe Apostolides, Prospect

Likeable and rounded characters and a celebration of the best things in life: the wilderness of Knepp and a touching but complex love story... St Aubyn's reinvention as a writer is heroic and astonishing. He has emerged from the "very difficult truth" of this childhood to write brilliantly about that and, now, about a lot more.

Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

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