The Line of Beauty

The Line of Beauty

by Alan Hollinghurst
3.2 13

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The Line of Beauty 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yuk! Couldn't finish reading it! Not interested in intimate details of someone's sexual encounters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
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Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Discounted or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.