On the Edge

Edward St. Aubyn. Picador, $16 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-04601-7
New Agers beware! St. Aubyn’s take on the search for enlightenment as a cure for modern malaise is razor sharp and maniacally clever. The novel focuses on a handful of self-proclaimed spiritual evolvers: Adam, the gay guru who frequently changes credos but consistently champions what he thinks is globally significant; Brooke, the embarrassingly rich, needy guru-subsidizer; Kenneth, the shaman of “Streamism,” who is embarrassingly dependent on Brooke; Peter, the English banker who chucks married life to chase after Sabine, the gender-bending sex goddess, only to fall for restless, slightly guilt-ridden, totally available Crystal; an older couple hoping to rejuvenate their love life; plus other assorted fulfillment seekers and would-be providers. Parallel spiritual journeys begin at a San Francisco dinner party and come together at an Esalen tantric workshop. The joy of reading this novel derives not from the story but the storytelling. Fluent in new age techno-babble, with its echoes of Eastern religions, California lifestyles, and millennial egocentrism, St. Aubyn (who satirized the world of literary prizes earlier this year with Lost for Words) flaunts pitiless humor in scenes such as when Sabine’s alter ego Poly attempts to achieve nirvana. After its exhaustive and exhausting catalogue of lofty aspirations, some readers will resent the novel’s descent into a graphically physical climax; others will root for the divinity seekers to find satisfaction, however temporary and however delusional. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/18/2014
Release date: 10/14/2014
Show other formats
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-330-45397-4
Ebook - 978-0-330-46289-1
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-250-04602-4
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.