BN.com Gift Guide

The Line of Beauty

( 10 )

Overview

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER, WINNER OF THE 2004 MAN BOOKER PRIZE FOR FICTION, AND NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

Winner of 2004’s Man Booker Prize for fiction and one of the most talked about books of the year, The Line of Beauty is a sweeping novel about class, sex, and money that brings Thatcher’s London alive.

A New York Times Bestseller (Extended) · A LA Times Bestseller List · A Book Sense ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$13.28
BN.com price
(Save 21%)$17.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (166) from $1.99   
  • New (17) from $3.17   
  • Used (149) from $1.99   
The Line of Beauty

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.49
BN.com price
(Save 13%)$10.99 List Price

Overview

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER, WINNER OF THE 2004 MAN BOOKER PRIZE FOR FICTION, AND NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

Winner of 2004’s Man Booker Prize for fiction and one of the most talked about books of the year, The Line of Beauty is a sweeping novel about class, sex, and money that brings Thatcher’s London alive.

A New York Times Bestseller (Extended) · A LA Times Bestseller List · A Book Sense National Bestseller · A Northern California Bestseller · A Sunday Times Bestseller List · A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

And chosen as one of the best books of 2004 by:

Entertainment Weekly · The Washington Post · The San Francisco Chronicle · The Seattle Times

Newsday · Salon.com · The Boston Globe · The New York Sun · The Miami Herald · The Dallas Morning News · San Jose Mercury News · Publishers Weekly

Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Christian Science Monitor
"Line for line, Hollinghurst's novel about London during the 1980s is the most exquisitely written book I've read in years. Witty observations about politics, society, and family open like little revelations on every page."
Entertainment Weekly
"Hollinghurst has placed his gay protagonist within a larger social context, and the result is his most tender and powerful novel to date, a sprawling and haunting elegy to the 1980s. A"
New York Observer
"Mr. Hollinghurst's great gift as a novelist is for social satire as sharp and transparent as glass, catching his quarry from an angle just an inch to the left of the view they themselves would catch in the mantelpiece mirror…The Line of Beauty is unlikely to be surpassed."
New York Times Book Review
"A magnificent comedy of manners. Hollinghurst's alertness to the tiniest social and tonal shifts never slackens, and positively luxuriates in a number of unimprovably droll set pieces…[an] outstanding novel."
Washington Post
"One can't get enough of Hollinghurst's sentences…If you value style, wit, and social satire in your reading, don't miss this elegant and passionate novel."
Entertainment Weekly
"Hollinghurst has placed his gay protagonist within a larger social context, and the result is his most tender and powerful novel to date, a sprawling and haunting elegy to the 1980s. A"
Washington Post
"One can't get enough of Hollinghurst's sentences. If you value style, wit, and social satire in your reading, don't miss this elegant and passionate novel."
New York Times Book Review
"A magnificent comedy of manners. Hollinghurst's alertness to the tiniest social and tonal shifts never slackens, and positively luxuriates in a number of unimprovably droll set pieces.[an] outstanding novel."
New York Observer
"Mr. Hollinghurst's great gift as a novelist is for social satire as sharp and transparent as glass, catching his quarry from an angle just an inch to the left of the view they themselves would catch in the mantelpiece mirror. The Line of Beauty is unlikely to be surpassed."
Christian Science Monitor
"Line for line, Hollinghurst's novel about London during the 1980s is the most exquisitely written book I've read in years. Witty observations about politics, society, and family open like little revelations on every page."
Anthony Quinn
It is highly characteristic of Hollinghurst to oscillate between the high and the low, often within the same paragraph: consider the moment of weird hilarity as Nick, ever the aesthete, absently recalls the details of a Gothic-style church seen through the windshield of his drug dealer's car. The pathos of old buildings is later reprised as Nick surveys the tearing down of a Victorian workshop, a melancholy intimation that beautifully dovetails with the sudden dramatic unraveling of his family idyll. It is also of a piece with the elegiac close, rendered with a grace and decorum entirely appropriate to this outstanding novel.
— The New York Times
Michael Dirda
Edmund White has said that Alan Hollinghurst "writes the best prose we have today." I might not go that far -- White himself is no slouch with a sentence -- but if you value style, wit and social satire in your reading, don't miss this elegant and passionate novel.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Among its other wonders, this almost perfectly written novel, recently longlisted for the Mann Booker, delineates what's arguably the most coruscating portrait of a plutocracy since Goya painted the Spanish Bourbons. To shade in the nuances of class, Hollingsworth uses plot the way it was meant to be used-not as a line of utility, but as a thematically connected sequence of events that creates its own mini-value system and symbols. The book is divided into three sections, dated 1983, 1986 and 1987. The protagonist, Nick Guest, is a James scholar in the making and a tripper in the fast gay culture of the time. The first section shows Nick moving into the Notting Hill mansion of Gerald Fedden, one of Thatcher's Tory MPs, at the request of the minister's son, Toby, Nick's all-too-straight Oxford crush. Nick becomes Toby's sister Catherine's confidante, securing his place in the house, and loses his virginity spectacularly to Leo, a black council worker. The next section jumps the reader ahead to a more sophisticated Nick. Leo has dropped out of the picture; cocaine, three-ways and another Oxford alum, the sinisterly alluring, wealthy Lebanese Wani Ouradi, have taken his place. Nick is dimly aware of running too many risks with Wani, and becomes accidentally aware that Gerald is running a few, too. Disaster comes in 1987, with a media scandal that engulfs Gerald and then entangles Nick. While Hollinghurst's story has the true feel of Jamesian drama, it is the authorial intelligence illuminating otherwise trivial pieces of story business so as to make them seem alive and mysteriously significant that gives the most pleasure. This is Nick coming home for the first and only time with the closeted Leo: "there were two front doors set side by side in the shallow recess of the porch. Leo applied himself to the right hand one, and it was one of those locks that require tender probings and tuggings, infinitesimal withdrawals, to get the key to turn." This novel has the air of a classic. Agent, Emma Parry. (Oct.) Forecast: Widely praised for his three previous novels, Hollinghurst (The Swimming-Pool Library) is primed for even greater acclaim and sales with this masterful volume, the latest in a wave of Jamesian novels. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Britisher Hollinghurst (The Spell, 1998, etc.) isn't shy: At 400-plus pages sprinkled with references to Henry James, his fourth outing aspires to the status of an epic about sex, politics, money, and high society. Though he's best known for his elegant descriptions of gay male life and pitch-perfect prose, Hollinghurst is most striking here for his successful, often damning, observations about the vast divides between the ruling class and everyone else. It's 1983, and narrator Nick Guest, age 20, is literally a guest in the household of Conservative MP Gerald Fedden, whose son, Toby, Nick befriended at Oxford. Given an attic room and loosely assigned the task of looking after the Feddens' unstable manic-depressive daughter Catherine, Nick is given entree into a world of drunken, drug-laced parties at ancestral manors, high-stakes financial transactions, and politicians all obsessed with catching a glimpse of "The Lady"-Thatcher herself (who finally does make a cameo-hilariously-toward the end). Nick pursues his studies in James (though they may seem overkill in a novel already so saturated in the Jamesian) and his search for love-with a young Jamaican office worker, then with a closeted and cokehead Lebanese millionaire-though, as becomes clear, both his scholarship and sexuality are painfully peripheral in the world he's chosen to inhabit. Oddly, Nick is less interesting as a character than as an observer: His youthful affairs do gain gravitas as the '80s progress under the specter of AIDS, but over the story's course he goes from a virginal 20-year-old to a wizened 24-year-old. More fascinating are Hollinghurst's incisive depictions of the brilliance and ease that insulate and animatethe Feddens-especially the witty and difficult Gerald and the spectacular mess that is Catherine.-and the crushing realization that Nick, unlike those around him, does not have the casual luxury to crash up his own life and survive. A beautifully realized portrait of a decade and a social class, but without a well-developed emotional core. Agent: Emma Parry/Fletcher & Parry
From the Publisher
"A magnificent comedy of manners. Hollinghurst's alertness to the tiniest social and tonal shifts never slackens...[an] outstanding novel."-New York Times Book Review

"If you value style, wit and social satire in your reading, don't miss this elegant and passionate novel."-Washington Post

"His most tender and powerful novel to date." A -Entertainment Weekly

"Each sentence in this book rings as perfect and true as a Schubert sonata."-Hartford Courant

"The Line of Beauty is itself a thing of beauty-an elegant and seductive novel."-Philadelphia City Paper

"It really is his finest novel to date."-Geoff Dyer

"A rueful, snapshot-accurate portrait of this era."-Seattle Times

"[A] masterpiece with a skillfully rendered social panorama, a Proustian alertness to social nuance and a stylistic precision that recalls [James]."-Newsday

"The most exquisitely written book I've read in years. Witty observations about politics, society, and family open like little revelations on every page." -Christian Science Monitor

"Almost perfectly written novel...This novel has the air of a classic."-Publishers Weekly, starred review

"In the tradition of Henry James, Hollinghurst has artfully crafted a piquant satire of privilege and sexuality in all its forms."-Genre Magazine

"The best English novel of the year so far is Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty."-Zadie Smith, Guardian (UK)

"Like reading gossip in beautifully made sentences with extraordinary insights into motive and nuance, allowing all the time for comedy."-Colm Toibin, Guardian (UK)

GQ
"Vast scope... smart, funny, and for all its vividly engaging ways, a pretty sound document of the times"
Guardian
"Hollinghurst proves to be one of the sharpest observers of privileged social groupings since Anthony Powell"
Edmund White
"Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire, just as Proust did. He writes the best prose we have today."
Daily Telegraph
"A magnificent novel...There are literally thousands of impeccably nuanced touches."
Evening Standard
"A richly literate, ambitious piece of work....deserves to be widely read."
Financial Times
"Must rank among the funniest [novels] ever written about Thatcher's Britain, while remaining one of the most tragically sad"
GQ
"Vast scope... smart, funny, and for all its vividly engaging ways, a pretty sound document of the times"
Guardian
Hollinghurst proves to be one of the sharpest observers of privileged social groupings since Anthony Powell
Observer
"A classic of our times…The work of a great English stylist in full maturity; a masterpiece."
Scotland on Sunday
"Stunning...a joy to read. It is solid and traditional, beautifully crafted-a quiet masterpiece"
Spectator
"Wonderful... almost unbelievably well-written. In its dazzling, very contemporary way, the book is tragic…But it is also consistently funny"
Sunday Times
"Exquisitely written...Its delights and rewards extend beyond its comic or documentary achievements."
The Times
"Luminous...a crafty, glittering, sidelong bid by a contemporary master of English prose to be considered heir to James himself."
Times Literary Supplement
"There is something memorable on every page...a shivering yet morally exacting satire that leaves no character untouched"
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582346106
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 10/17/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 214,729
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Hollinghurst is the author of three novels, The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, and The Spell. He lives in London.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2005

    A book for voyeurs of emotionally detached people

    I approached this book with great anticipation - after-all, it has received lots of accolades and the Booker Prize. However, I never got past the first 100 pages. I never liked the characters, despite the fact that they are developed in an interesting manner. The plot revolves around disfunctional relationships and sad, and grotesque experiences. In addition, not being someone who is familiar with Thatcher-era England, or the finer points of English customs, I was hoping to be edified. Howver,the author does not attempt to clarify meaning or intent of class metaphors which are important to plot and character development. This is not a book which encouraged me to read beyond the unexplained to see if I could piece the puzzle together later. The characters are not people whom one is supposed to like. I think this book might be appealing to people who have read a lot of(and enjoy)James, or to those who prefer a purely intellectual, voyeuristic experience of characters fumbling through painful experiences. Not worth my precious time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2004

    Line of Beauty

    Alan Hollinghurst has consistently written intelligent and sensual novels ('The Swimming Pool Library', 'The Folding Star' and 'The Spell') that have found a readership that crosses over from his initial audience of readers of Gay fiction to the audience of readers who simply appreciate fine literature. And with THE LINE OF BEAUTY his merits have been rewarded not only by the acclaimed Booker Award, but also by a rather phenomenal presale demand. Hollinghurst is simply one of the best of the current writers. THE LINE OF BEAUTY is more than a finely tuned story about class differences, the foibles of the wealthy and ruling class of England, the hypocrisy of the Thatcher era in the 1980s, the recognition of the media watch dogs gobbling rumors about the government and the concurrent homophobia /rise of AIDS/druggie culture as seen through the proscenium arch of London. This book is very much a character study of one Nicholas Guest, a young middle class lad, graduate of Oxford, who (much like Ripley!) yearns for the luxuries of the wealthy and gentried such as Gerald and Rachel Fedden who live in a mansion in Notting Hill with their troubled (read 'speaks her mind') daughter Catherine and son Toby, the object of gay Nicholas' infatuation since their shared years at Oxford. The novel follows Nick's absorption into the Fedden family, being accepted as an aesthete, his first same sex affair with a handsome black clerk whom he encounters through a personal ad in the gay rag, his dalliances with the famous (including Margaret Thatcher herself), with a millionaire closeted playboy Wani who introduces him to drugs and more, and with creating a magazine with Wani which is the pinnacle of glossy aesthetics cum hoity toity. The various characters in this 'rake's progress' remain threaded through this story until all of the misguided judgments and turns of fate crumble Nick's world of fantasy. Yet as if this strong and fascinating story weren't enough, it is Hollinghurst's intelligence and writing style that mesmerize. He has the ability to begin phases of his tale with peripheral information that causes the reader to wonder exactly where he is taking us: he creates a stage setting with scenery and props that must be in place before the first character speaks the lines that define so cogently where the author has arrived. His quality of prose is exquisite both in describing the beauty seen and imagined and the 'squalor' intermittently encountered. He fleshes out each of his characters with such skill that we feel inside their heads even before they speak their lines. If there is a flaw in this tome it is a minor one: unless the reader is a thorough-going anglophile or has lived in some part of the UK, the various aspects of class distinction and governmental abbreviations require a bit of stalling to decipher. But then what is reading all about, if not for pleasure and for edification? THE LINE OF BEAUTY is a brilliant novel by a gifted writer and deserves the attention of everyone who loves great books. Grady Harp, November 2004

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2004

    Line of Beauty

    Alan Hollinghurst has consistently written intelligent and sensual novels ('The Swimming Pool Library', 'The Folding Star' and 'The Spell') that have found a readership that crosses over from his initial audience of readers of Gay fiction to the audience of readers who simply appreciate fine literature. And with THE LINE OF BEAUTY his merits have been rewarded not only by the acclaimed Booker Award, but also by a rather phenomenal presale demand. Hollinghurst is simply one of the best of the current writers.THE LINE OF BEAUTY is more than a finely tuned story about class differences, the foibles of the wealthy and ruling class of England, the hypocrisy of the Thatcher era in the 1980s, the recognition of the media watch dogs gobbling rumors about the government and the concurrent homophobia /rise of AIDS/druggie culture as seen through the proscenium arch of London. This book is very much a character study of one Nicholas Guest, a young middle class lad, graduate of Oxford, who (much like Ripley!) yearns for the luxuries of the wealthy and gentried such as Gerald and Rachel Fedden who live in a mansion in Notting Hill with their troubled (read 'speaks her mind') daughter Catherine and son Toby, the object of gay Nicholas' infatuation since their shared years at Oxford.The novel follows Nick's absorption into the Fedden family, being accepted as an aesthete, his first same sex affair with a handsome black clerk whom he encounters through a personal ad in the gay rag, his dalliances with the famous (including Margaret Thatcher herself), with a millionaire closeted playboy Wani who introduces him to drugs and more, and with creating a magazine with Wani which is the pinnacle of glossy aesthetics cum hoity toity. The various characters in this 'rake's progress' remain threaded through this story until all of the misguided judgments and turns of fate crumble Nick's world of fantasy.Yet as if this strong and fascinating story weren't enough, it is Hollinghurst's intelligence and writing style that mesmerize. He has the ability to begin phases of his tale with peripheral information that causes the reader to wonder exactly where he is taking us: he creates a stage setting with scenery and props that must be in place before the first character speaks the lines that define so cogently where the author has arrived. His quality of prose is exquisite both in describing the beauty seen and imagined and the 'squalor' intermittently encountered. He fleshes out each of his characters with such skill that we feel inside their heads even before they speak their lines.If there is a flaw in this tome it is a minor one: unless the reader is a thorough-going anglophile or has lived in some part of the UK, the various aspects of class distinction and governmental abbreviations require a bit of stalling to decipher. But then what is reading all about, if not for pleasure and for edification? THE LINE OF BEAUTY is a brilliant novel by a gifted writer and deserves the attention of everyone who loves great books. Grady Harp, November 2004

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Jolly good

    Thanks to Steven Frieder for his official book club selection! A fascinating read; learned that lots of interesting things happen when gay men went to the bathroom together in 1980's London.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    This book

    Yuk! Couldn't finish reading it! Not interested in intimate details of someone's sexual encounters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    Over rated

    I made several attempts to read this book and finally finished it and was totally disappointed. I found the style to be pedestrian but self conscious and the subject matter pretentious and self indulgent. The most over rated book I have ever read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2007

    not worth my time

    i began this book with high hopes. It had gotten enough praise and awards that i believed it was going to be an interesting and captivating read,but i was sorely mistaken. I might just not understand the author enough to enjoy his writing as so many others have but i felt the plot was hidden behind paragraphs of pretty sounding sentences. At one point i began to ignore the never ending informative paragraphs in order to keep myself awake. Now don't misunderstand me, Alan Hollingworth has a wonderful affair with words and can make even the mundane sound new and exciting. but the writing over powered the plot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)