Length: 501 pages
About: 1980s London's Tory MPs household
Style: 3rd person
Where: England (London)
It is the summer of 1983, and young Nick Guest has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children.
As the boom-years of the mid-80s unfold, Nick, an innocent in matters of politics and money, becomes caught up in the Feddens’ world, with its grand parties, its holidays in the Dordogne, its parade
of monsters both comic and threatening. An affair with a young black clerk gives him his first experience of romance; but it is a later affair, with a beautiful millionaire, that will change his life
more drastically and bring into question the larger fantasies of a ruthless decade.
Peter Crowther's book on the election was already in the shops. It was called Landslide!, and the witty assistant at Dillon's had arranged the window in a scaled-down version of that natural
disaster. The pale-gilt image of the triumphant Prime Minister rushed towards the customer in a gleaming slippage. Nick stopped in the street, and then went in to look at a copy. He had met Peter
Crowther once, and heard him described as a hack and also as a 'mordant analyst': his faint smile, as he flicked through the pages, concealed his uncertainty as to which account was nearer the truth.
There was clearly something hacklike in the speed of publication, only two months after the event; and in the actual writing, of course. The book's mordancy seemed to be reserved for the efforts of
There haven't been many English debuts more exquisitely executed or scorchingly candid than ''The Swimming-Pool Library'' (1988), nor follow-ups that could outdazzle it as brilliantly as did ''The
Folding Star'' (1994). Thereafter ''The Spell'' (1999) conjured a lighter tone, though still sprung with the enchantments of Hollinghurst's sly, feline wit. To say, then, that his latest novel, the
Booker Prize-winning ''Line of Beauty,'' is also his finest should give some idea of its accomplishment, not just in the breadth of its ambition but in its felicities of observation and
The New York Times, Anthony Quinn, 31st october 2004 for full review click here
Not so good:
Unfortunately, the illicit glamour of these scenes wears off as quickly as the drug itself, to the point where the incessant snorting takes over from the sex as the most mechanically repetitive
element of Hollinghurst's writing. And when he chances to write about drugs and sex together, the outcome is dire: "Tristao bent to snort his line, and Wani felt his cock and Nick felt his arse" is
as impoverished a sentence as you will find in any novel, literary or otherwise.
The Guardian, Alfred Hickling 10th April 2004 click here for full review
About the author
He studied and then taught English at Oxford. His previous novels are The Swimming-Pool Library (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), The Folding Star (shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994
and winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize) and The Spell. For several years he was the Deputy Editor of the Times Literary Supplement and was one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists in
1993. Alan Hollinghurst lives in London.