Dunbar, the Modern Mad King

Edward St Aubyn is one of those terrific authors who tends to slip under the radar.  I was first introduced to him through the Patrick Melrose novels and was instantly enthralled by his language and philosophy.

His most recent release is Dunbar a modernization of Shakespeare’s King Lear and part of Hogarth Publishing’s “Shakespeare Retold” series. King Lear could not have been a more fitting choice for St Aubyn as one of his specialties is portraying family stories with intricate detail and insight. Henry Dunbar was the head of a global media corporation when he decided to pass the empire on to his two eldest daughters. Too soon, Dunbar finds himself imprisoned in a rural care home while his ruthless and manipulative daughters work to oust him from the company entirely for being mentally unfit. Dunbar plans his escape in an attempt to restore his authority, but with his family close on his heels, he struggles to balance appearances and reality.

Also be sure to check out some of these other popular authors retelling their favorite Shakespeare plays!


Henry Dunbar was the powerful head of a global media corporation. In his old age, he passed on the care of the corporation to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan.  But relations quickly soured, leaving him to doubt the wisdom of past decisions.

St. Aubyn’s take on King Lear is a commanding novel examining power, money, and forgiveness.