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Brideshead meets Sade, with a touch of Lord Henry Wotton, a bit of a Brit snob Trainspotting and even, within a carapace of disdain, heart. This quartet of short novels starts quietly, like a razor through silk, with 5-year-old Patrick an almost peripheral figure throwing into highlight his helplessly appalling aristo family. Things go deliciously, decadently downhill from there. Superb prose in service of an elegant black comedy bildungsroman.