Double Blind follows three close friends and their circle through a year of extraordinary transformation. Set inLondon, Cap d'Antibes, Big Sur, and a rewilded corner of Sussex, this thrilling, ambitious novel is about the headlong pursuit of knowledge—for the purposes of pleasure, revelation, money, sanity, or survival—and the consequences of fleeing from what we know about others and ourselves.
When Olivia meets a new lover just as she is welcoming her best friend, Lucy, back from New York, her dedicated academic life expands precipitously. Her connection to Francis, a committed naturalist living off the grid, is immediate and startling. Eager to involve Lucy in her joy, Olivia introduces the two—but Lucy has received shocking 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, Edward St. Aubyn's Double Blind investigates themes of inheritance, determinism, freedom, consciousness, and the stories we tell about ourselves. It 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.
St. Aubyn (the Patrick Melrose novels) expounds on epigenetics, rewilding, art, neuroscience, and philosophy in this sublime character-driven novel. With his usual elegant prose, St. Aubyn follows three friends—Francis, Olivia, and Lucy—through a transformative year. Naturalist Francis meets biologist Olivia at a "megafauna" conference in Oxford and feels an instant "subterranean attraction." He later anxiously awaits her visit to the Sussex estate he has vowed to reclaim with its deer, pigs, cattle, and ponies, envisioning an "English savannah." Meanwhile, Olivia anticipates Lucy's arrival from New York to London, where she's taken a job with a venture capital firm headed by the scheming Hunter Sterling. Lucy's also blindsided by unexplainable muscle spasms that lead to the "high tech phrenology" of a graphically detailed brain biopsy. While she is recovering with Francis and Olivia in Sussex, Hunter helicopters in with caviar, blinis, and vodka. Add the sudden, unexpected appearance of 34-year-old schizophrenic Sebastian Tanner, whose true identity threatens to square the friends' already fraught triangle and lends an element of mystery. The four embark on a pharmacologically fueled journey from England to Cap d'Antibes to Big Sur, leading to a surprising and enthralling moral and ethical dilemma. St. Aubyn brings off a seemingly effortless and provocative examination of the mind and its refractions. This one's not to be missed.