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In the Spotlight: Alan Hollinghurst

The Book: Set in the United Kingdom in the early to mid-1980s, the story surrounds the post-Oxford life of the young protagonist, Nick Guest.

As the novel begins, Nick moves into the household of the Fedden family, comprising his friend, crush, and fellow Oxford graduate Toby; Toby's eccentric sister Catherine; their wealthy and aristocratic mother, Rachel; and their Thatcher-obsessed father, Gerald, a newly-elected MP for the Conservative Party. Nick remains a guest in the Fedden home until he is expelled at the end of the novel. Nick has his first romance with a black council worker, Leo, but a later relationship with Wani, the son of a rich Lebanese businessman, illuminates the ruthlessness of 1980s Thatcherite Britain.

The book explores the tension between Nick's intimate relationship with the Feddens, in whose parties and holidays he participates, and the realities of his sexuality and gay life, which the Feddens accept only to the extent of never mentioning it. It explores themes of hypocrisy, homosexuality, madness and wealth, with the emerging AIDS crisis forming a backdrop to the book's conclusion. 

Amazon: The Line of Beauty: A Novel

The Author: Alan Hollinghurst is an English novelist, and winner of the 2004 Booker Prize for The Line of Beauty.

He was born on 26 May 1954 in Stroud, Gloucestershire, the only child of James Kenneth Holinghurst (a bank manager) and his wife Lilian. He went to Canford School in Dorset.

He read English at Magdalen College, Oxford graduating in 1975; and subsequently took the further degree of Master of Literature (1979). While at Oxford he shared a house with Andrew Motion, and was awarded the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1974, the year before Motion.

In the late 1970s he became a lecturer at Magdalen, and then at Somerville College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In 1981 he moved on to lecture at University College London. In 1997, he went on an Asia book tour in Singapore.

In 1981 he joined The Times Literary Supplement and was the paper's deputy editor from 1982 to 1995.

Hollinghurst is openly gay and lives in London. (From Wikipedia)

Top 100 Gay Novels List (*)

External Link to the Top 100 Gay Novels List (simple - without photos)

External Link to the Top 100 Gay Novels List (wanted - with photos)

*only one title per author, only print books released after January 1, 2000.

Other titles not in the top 100 list:



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
This book, and Pat Barker's Ghost Road, prove that the argument 'books with gay content shouldn't be up for awards in mainstream categories' is ridiculous.

Have you seen the TV adaptation of this?
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:58 am (UTC)
No I know of that tv adaptation (3 episode right?), but I haven't had the chance to read it. I changed a bit the Top List, adding some title that I was negleting, shame on me, and Alan Hollinghurst jumped at the first position as soon as I introduced him and his book. Elisa
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:07 am (UTC)
3 episodes, lots of pretty boys.
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
Thank you for spotlighting this book, Elisa. The Line of Beauty is very well-written, and Alan Hollinghurst is one of my favorite authors.
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:59 am (UTC)
It was a fault of mine to not showcase him before. Elisa
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC)
I was disappointed in Line of Beauty, though the TV adaptation is very pretty- maybe I expected something more angry from him to reflect the Thatcher years. I thought Swimming Pool Library was a better book, and enjoyed Folding Star more, too, with its study of obsessive love. Hollinghurst is a very English writer.
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)
"Unfortunately" his other books can't enter in the list since they are released before 2000. I know, it's a "stupid" and "strict" rule, but since I'm alone in updating the list, I had to put some limit, and I chose to consider only book released after 2000.

As I said, I only insert in the list Hollinghurst last week, and considering the owned copied in LT and the correction factors, he is first. So I believe he is good, I will have to check his books, maybe I will read something others before the Line of Beauty.
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
I like Hollinghurst's writing, and was delighted when LoB won the Booker prize.
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
I too enjoyed The Folding Star, I found it better than Line of Beauty even though i loved that as well. I couldn't get into 'Swimming Pool Library' at all :(
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)
I Love 'The Line of Beauty' it's one of my favourite books. I love the DVD even better because the actor who plays Nick is so, so beautiful...I know..I'm so superficial
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
No, why are you? I believe that everything that makes us love a book is a good thing. Elisa
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
why are you?

It just seems superficial to love a movie more so than a book...specially when one of the biggest attractions to the movie is the physical appearance of the lead actor.
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
Well, do you really believe that Brokeback Mountain would be the same without Gyllenhaal and Ledger? I bought the book when the movie wasn't even in the mind of the director, and almost no one knew it, now it's an huge success.
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
This is a wonderful book and very deserving of it's position. Thank you for the highlight. It must be incredibly hard to decide the positioning of that top 100 list.
Mar. 25th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
Actually I'm only a "technician": I decided some limit, as for the book released after 2000, and only book in print. Then I chose a social network devoted to books, like LibraryThing, and found out how many copies of every book are owned. Then I applied some correction factors, like the years from release, an voila, the list is made... but I updated it every week, adding the new release and updating the number of copies. And when I found a veritable source for good books, I add titles that I missed. It's not me who decided the position, but the statistics.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 25th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Good that in the end they were not driven by preconceptions. Probably I will read it sooner or later, but I'm still quite weary when there is death in a novel, too near home. Elisa
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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