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  • Writer's pictureCharles Arrowsmith

Review: Double Blind by Edward St. Aubyn (Washington Post)

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

There’s a reason that curious beast the novel of ideas is rarely captured alive. It isn’t easy to animate complex notions using only the standard tools of character and plot without the whole enterprise collapsing beneath the weight of exegesis. In his new novel, “Double Blind,” Edward St. Aubyn sets himself that formidable challenge: to explore weighty subjects like biodiversity, schizophrenia and venture capitalism while probing the nature of consciousness and the limits of science. The book is also a medical melodrama, a family mystery and a meditation on . . . well, meditation. Can so many plates be kept spinning?

St. Aubyn’s protagonists are all preoccupied by questions of consciousness and being and what science can reveal about them. Francis lives off the grid rewilding a large acreage in the English countryside while pursuing a Zen-like state of mindfulness. Olivia, his new lover, is finishing a book on epigenetics. Her friend Lucy, at a crossroads in life, has impulsively hitched her star to American billionaire Hunter Sterling, whom she’s helping to buy companies that mix consumer tech with neuroscience.

For the review in full, visit The Washington Post.

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