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Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn review – intense updating of King Lear

Can Shakespeare’s blackest tragedy be made to say something new? Unseated in a boardroom coup, sent to a care home, a media mogul loses everything in this reimagining of King Lear from a master prose stylist


Of all the novelist and play matches in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, that of Edward St Aubyn with King Lear seems the finest. Shakespeare’s blackest, most surreal and hectic tragedy sharpened by one of our blackest, most surreal and hectic wits. Our ur-text about the decay of patriarchal aristocratic power reimagined by a writer whose central subject is the decay of male aristocratic power. A perverse, sadistic yet deeply moral treatise on forgiveness in the hands of of a true connoisseur of the perverse and sadistic, the moral and tortured author of the Melrose series. It’s an enticing prospect.

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