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From the author of the internationally acclaimed Patrick Melrose books: a major new novel exploring some of the biggest ideas and most pressing questions of our times.
Double Blind follows three close friends and their circle through a year of extraordinary transformation. Set between London, Cap d'Antibes, Big Sur and a rewilded corner of Sussex, this thrilling, ambitious novel is as compelling about ecology, psychoanalysis, genetics and neuroscience as it is about love, fear and courage.
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.
Expansive, playful and compassionate, Double Blind investigates themes of inheritance, determinism, freedom, consciousness, and the stories we tell about ourselves. 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.
'The experience of St Aubyn is indelible' Jonathan Franzen
'Extraordinary' Sam Mendes
'A joy' Zadie Smith
'Among the giants of English fiction' Edmund White
© Edward St Aubyn 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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Edward St Aubyn’s much-anticipated new novel, Double Blind, is to be published in March 2021 and is his first major work since At Last, which concluded the internationally acclaimed Patrick Melrose series in 2011.