Saturday, 2 February 2019

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

"The feel of his warm hard body under the silky shirt was almost worryingly beautiful, a promise too lavish to believe in."

This novel has been sitting on my shelf awaiting my attention for a year or so now. I was initially put off by its girth. I've had a short attention span of late and was reticent to launch into something sizeable. I noted however that The Line of Beauty  is included on a lot of must read lists and so my rubber arm was twisted.

There was something so perfect about launching into a lengthy tale about a young man who is really a fish out of water in the cocaine fuelled years before AIDS began to take a hefty toll during the four hour process of turning blonde again ( with eighties bangs to boot). Set in the upper class echelons of the British ruling class, the protagonist is very much an outsider. Nick Guest is a young guy with rather well to do friends, who have helpfully let a room to him while he's at university. As he grows into himself the sense of difference and inclusion is a weird one. That sense of being in but out is one I could always relate to.

Sure it was a little awkward as the foils went in, I was worried my hairdresser could read the gay sex scenes, or the cocaine snorting depictions, over my shoulder, or  perhaps more upsettingly, the words Margaret Thatcher. Hollinghurst is a beautiful writer and the entire novel just seemed to fly by.

I'm not sure I've enlightened you too much today with this discussion. I'm a bit tired - summer is so draining. In short, there is a reason why this novel is so well-regarded, it is a great read.

5 out of 5 - I am killing the 1001 list at the moment.

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