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The Line of Beauty

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The Line of Beauty Cover

 

Awards

2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Review-A-Day

"[Hollinghurst's] best writing is more disciplined than this, more subtly melded of its thematic constituents, and above all more profound, more truly Jamesian in its treatment of the ordeals of consciousness. Nonetheless, there is much to savour in The Line of Beauty: not least its humour, a shivering yet morally exacting satire that leaves no character untouched and finally consumes the grotesques whose odiousness it has so generously indulged. Equally and characteristically, there is the stinging precision of its prose, a near-poetic aptitude for producing the very thing its title tantalizingly portends." Henry Hitching, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement reveiw)

"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. But it's also an explicitly gay novel....All this should produce a complex reception for the Booker winner. In some quarters, the novel's triumph will be a late vindication for gay literature. Others will fret over the shocking sex scenes. But anyone who reads The Line of Beauty will come face to face with one of the most brilliant stylists and perceptive novelists writing today." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)

"Hollinghurst's prose is a genuine achievement — lavish, poised, sinuously alert. His sentences are rich but not languid. He is an aesthete who finally avoids aestheticism, partly because, in a characteristic Jamesian swerve, he is morally suspicious of an aestheticism whose charms he also swayingly registers. His writing is most Jamesian, perhaps, in its constant air of poised intelligence..." James Wood, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Toby — whom Nick had idolized at Oxford — and Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions.

As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in the world of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of this glamorous family. His two vividly contrasting love affairs, one with a young black clerk and one with a Lebanese millionaire, dramatize the dangers and rewards of his own private pursuit of beauty, a pursuit as compelling to Nick as the desire for power and riches among his friends. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly comic, this is a major work by one of our finest writers.

Review:

"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Edmund White has said that Alan Hollinghurst 'writes the best prose we have today.' I might not go that far...but if you value style, wit and social satire in your reading, don't miss this elegant and passionate novel." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

Review:

"Hollinghurst is most striking here for his successful, often damning, observations about the vast divides between the ruling class and everyone else....A beautifully realized portrait of a decade and a social class, but without a well-developed emotional core." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The Line of Beauty gets Nick and his decade so right that you can't help wondering what sort of vision Hollinghurst may deliver of our own far-too-interesting times, 20 years hence." Seattle Times

Review:

"It is only worrisome that The Line of Beauty, one of the most mentally nurturing reads this year, is so similar to The Swimming-Pool Library; one hopes that Hollinghurst, who should be beloved, will take us farther afield in the future." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Must rank among the funniest [novels] ever written about Thatcher's Britain, whhile remaining one of the most tragically sad." Financial Times

Review:

"Hollinghurst proves to be one of the sharpest observers of privileged social grroupings since Anthony Powell." Guardian

Review:

"A classic of our times.The work of a great English stylist in full maturity; a masterpiece." Observer

Review:

"Wonderful... almost unbelievably well-written. In its dazzling, very contemporrary way, the book is tragic.But it is also consistently funny." Spectator

Review:

"Luminous...a crafty, glittering, sidelong bid by a contemporary master of Engliish prose to be considered heir to James himself." The Times

Review:

"Exquisitely written...Its delights and rewards extend beyond its comic or docummentary achievements." Sunday Times

Review:

"A richly literate, ambitious piece of work....deserves to be widely read." Evening Standard

Review:

"Stunning...[A] joy to read. It is solid and traditional, beautifully crafted — a quiet masterpiece." Scotland on Sunday

Review:

"Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire, just as Proust diid. He writes the best prose we have today." Edmund White

Review:

"There is something memorable on every page...a shivering yet morally exacting ssatire that leaves no character untouched." Times Literary Supplement

Review:

"Vast scope...smart, funny, and for all its vividly engaging ways, a pretty souund document of the times." GQ

Review:

"Hollinghurst proves to be one of the sharpest observers of privileged social groupings since Anthony Powell....For the first time, there is a clear sense that Hollinghurst has extended his powers to create a universe rather than a clique; and though it adopts a highly privileged perspective, the novel has sufficient breadth to evoke the full social spectrum of 1980s Britain — gay and straight, rich and poor." Alfred Hickling, Guardian (London)

Review:

"No one writes novels better than Hollinghurst; he puts together books that are like pieces of furniture made without nails. Here he dramatizes with innumerable apt details and intricate plotting a whole household meant to stand for the Thatcher era....Things move along in this tour de force at a rapid pace...: a large cast of sharply drawn characters comes in and out; one dazzling set piece succeeds another; the dialogue is so good you want to hear actors deliver it on film....The writing has never been sharper...." Andrew Holleran

Review:

"As a novelist, Alan Hollinghurst's has set himself an intimidating standard....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 expression....Despite Nick's sexual adventures, the novel marks a change from Hollinghurst's predominantly homocentric fiction. In fact, female characters, hitherto felt by some readers as a decided absence, are among the liveliest here....Although it gathers ominously in mood, The Line of Beauty feels more blissful than baleful in its anatomy of the era because it is, among other things, a magnificent comedy of manners." Anthony Quinn, New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

In the summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Toby-whom Nick had idolized at Oxford-and Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions.

As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in the world of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of this glamorous family. His two vividly contrasting love affairs, one with a young black clerk and one with a Lebanese millionaire, dramatize the dangers and rewards of his own private pursuit of beauty, a pursuit as compelling to Nick as the desire for power and riches among his friends. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly comic, this U.K. bestseller is a major work by one of our finest writers.

Synopsis:

In the summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Toby-whom Nick had idolized at Oxford-and Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions.

As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in the world of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of this glamorous family. His two vividly contrasting love affairs, one with a young black clerk and one with a Lebanese millionaire, dramatize the dangers and rewards of his own private pursuit of beauty, a pursuit as compelling to Nick as the desire for power and riches among his friends. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly comic, this U.K. bestseller is a major work by one of our finest writers.

Alan Hollinghurst is the author of three previous novels, The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, and The Spell. He has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black memorial Prize for Fiction, and he was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994. He lives in London.

Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

A New York Times Notable Book of 2004

It is the summer of 1983, and twenty-year-old Nick Guest has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Tobywhom Nick had idolized at Oxfordand Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions, who becomes both a friend to Nick and his uneasy responsibility.

As the boom years of the mid-eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in matter of politics and money, becomes caught up in the Feddens' worldits grand parties, its surprising alliances, its parade of monsters both comic and menacing. In an era of endless possibility, he finds himself able to pursue his own private obsession with beautya prize as compelling to him as power and riches are to his friends. 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.

Framed by the two election that returned Margaret Thatcher to power, The Line of Beauty unfurls through four extraordinary years of change and tragedy. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly funny, this is a major work by one of our finest writers.

Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

A New York Times Notable Book of 2004

"In this saga about the Thatcher years Alan Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire from within, just as Proust did. Hollinghurst is never mocking or caricatural but subtly observant and completely participant. He writes the best prose we have today."Edmund White

"This is the fourth novel by one of the best stylists in the English language and winner of this year's Booker Prize. It has a well-developed plot and a large cast of charactersat the center of which is a young man searching for love and purpose in Margaret Thatcher's England. But the rich Tories and bitter Laborites battling for control of Britain's soul take a back seat to the book's elegant but sturdy prose, which is as finely crafted as an ornamental design on an old vase or in the stonework of a church portal."Michael Shelden, The Baltimore Sun

"In this saga about the Thatcher years Alan Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire from within, just as Proust did. Hollinghurst is never mocking or caricatural but subtly observant and completely participant. He writes the best prose we have today."Edmund White

"A classic of our times. The work of a great English stylist in full maturity; a masterpiece."The Observer

"Wonderful . . . almost unbelievably well-written . . . Finely wrought but tough, close -in observation."Spectator

"A magnificent novel . . . There are literally thousands of impeccably nuanced touches."Daily Telegraph

"There is something memorable on every page . . . There is much to savour in The Line of Beauty, not least its humour, a shivering yet morally exacting satire that leaves no character untouched."The Times Literary Supplement

"Britisher Hollinghurst 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 cameohilariouslytoward the end) . . . More fascinating are Hollinghurst's incisive depictions of the brilliance and ease that insulate and animate the Feddensespecially the witty and difficult Gerald and the spectacular mess that is Catherineand 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."Kirkus Reviews

"Among its other wonders, this almost perfectly written novel . . . 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 usednot as a line of utility, but as a thematically connected sequence of events that creates its own mini-value system and symbols . . . 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 novel has the air of a classic."Publishers Weekly

About the Author

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

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

bere w, November 1, 2007 (view all comments by bere w)
Hollinghurst's writing is flawless!
Even though the thematic of the book was so appealing to me (too much drug use, gay sex, and 80's Tatcher government issues...) I have no regrets of reading this book, on the contrary, no wonder Hollinghurst won a Booker prize for this book. Excellent read!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(10 of 24 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781582345086
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Author:
Hollinghurst, Alan
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Gay
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Legislators
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Gay men
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
October 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Gay Fiction
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Men's Fiction

The Line of Beauty
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 400 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781582345086 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "[Hollinghurst's] best writing is more disciplined than this, more subtly melded of its thematic constituents, and above all more profound, more truly Jamesian in its treatment of the ordeals of consciousness. Nonetheless, there is much to savour in The Line of Beauty: not least its humour, a shivering yet morally exacting satire that leaves no character untouched and finally consumes the grotesques whose odiousness it has so generously indulged. Equally and characteristically, there is the stinging precision of its prose, a near-poetic aptitude for producing the very thing its title tantalizingly portends." (read the entire Times Literary Supplement reveiw)
"Review A Day" by , "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. But it's also an explicitly gay novel....All this should produce a complex reception for the Booker winner. In some quarters, the novel's triumph will be a late vindication for gay literature. Others will fret over the shocking sex scenes. But anyone who reads The Line of Beauty will come face to face with one of the most brilliant stylists and perceptive novelists writing today." (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
"Review A Day" by , "Hollinghurst's prose is a genuine achievement — lavish, poised, sinuously alert. His sentences are rich but not languid. He is an aesthete who finally avoids aestheticism, partly because, in a characteristic Jamesian swerve, he is morally suspicious of an aestheticism whose charms he also swayingly registers. His writing is most Jamesian, perhaps, in its constant air of poised intelligence..." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "Edmund White has said that Alan Hollinghurst 'writes the best prose we have today.' I might not go that far...but if you value style, wit and social satire in your reading, don't miss this elegant and passionate novel."
"Review" by , "Hollinghurst is most striking here for his successful, often damning, observations about the vast divides between the ruling class and everyone else....A beautifully realized portrait of a decade and a social class, but without a well-developed emotional core."
"Review" by , "The Line of Beauty gets Nick and his decade so right that you can't help wondering what sort of vision Hollinghurst may deliver of our own far-too-interesting times, 20 years hence."
"Review" by , "It is only worrisome that The Line of Beauty, one of the most mentally nurturing reads this year, is so similar to The Swimming-Pool Library; one hopes that Hollinghurst, who should be beloved, will take us farther afield in the future."
"Review" by , "Must rank among the funniest [novels] ever written about Thatcher's Britain, whhile remaining one of the most tragically sad."
"Review" by , "Hollinghurst proves to be one of the sharpest observers of privileged social grroupings since Anthony Powell."
"Review" by , "A classic of our times.The work of a great English stylist in full maturity; a masterpiece."
"Review" by , "Wonderful... almost unbelievably well-written. In its dazzling, very contemporrary way, the book is tragic.But it is also consistently funny."
"Review" by , "Luminous...a crafty, glittering, sidelong bid by a contemporary master of Engliish prose to be considered heir to James himself."
"Review" by , "Exquisitely written...Its delights and rewards extend beyond its comic or docummentary achievements."
"Review" by , "A richly literate, ambitious piece of work....deserves to be widely read."
"Review" by , "Stunning...[A] joy to read. It is solid and traditional, beautifully crafted — a quiet masterpiece."
"Review" by , "Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire, just as Proust diid. He writes the best prose we have today."
"Review" by , "There is something memorable on every page...a shivering yet morally exacting ssatire that leaves no character untouched."
"Review" by , "Vast scope...smart, funny, and for all its vividly engaging ways, a pretty souund document of the times."
"Review" by , "Hollinghurst proves to be one of the sharpest observers of privileged social groupings since Anthony Powell....For the first time, there is a clear sense that Hollinghurst has extended his powers to create a universe rather than a clique; and though it adopts a highly privileged perspective, the novel has sufficient breadth to evoke the full social spectrum of 1980s Britain — gay and straight, rich and poor."
"Review" by , "No one writes novels better than Hollinghurst; he puts together books that are like pieces of furniture made without nails. Here he dramatizes with innumerable apt details and intricate plotting a whole household meant to stand for the Thatcher era....Things move along in this tour de force at a rapid pace...: a large cast of sharply drawn characters comes in and out; one dazzling set piece succeeds another; the dialogue is so good you want to hear actors deliver it on film....The writing has never been sharper...."
"Review" by , "As a novelist, Alan Hollinghurst's has set himself an intimidating standard....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 expression....Despite Nick's sexual adventures, the novel marks a change from Hollinghurst's predominantly homocentric fiction. In fact, female characters, hitherto felt by some readers as a decided absence, are among the liveliest here....Although it gathers ominously in mood, The Line of Beauty feels more blissful than baleful in its anatomy of the era because it is, among other things, a magnificent comedy of manners."
"Synopsis" by ,
In the summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Toby-whom Nick had idolized at Oxford-and Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions.

As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in the world of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of this glamorous family. His two vividly contrasting love affairs, one with a young black clerk and one with a Lebanese millionaire, dramatize the dangers and rewards of his own private pursuit of beauty, a pursuit as compelling to Nick as the desire for power and riches among his friends. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly comic, this U.K. bestseller is a major work by one of our finest writers.

"Synopsis" by ,
In the summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Toby-whom Nick had idolized at Oxford-and Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions.

As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in the world of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of this glamorous family. His two vividly contrasting love affairs, one with a young black clerk and one with a Lebanese millionaire, dramatize the dangers and rewards of his own private pursuit of beauty, a pursuit as compelling to Nick as the desire for power and riches among his friends. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly comic, this U.K. bestseller is a major work by one of our finest writers.

Alan Hollinghurst is the author of three previous novels, The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, and The Spell. He has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black memorial Prize for Fiction, and he was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994. He lives in London.

Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

A New York Times Notable Book of 2004

It is the summer of 1983, and twenty-year-old Nick Guest has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Tobywhom Nick had idolized at Oxfordand Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions, who becomes both a friend to Nick and his uneasy responsibility.

As the boom years of the mid-eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in matter of politics and money, becomes caught up in the Feddens' worldits grand parties, its surprising alliances, its parade of monsters both comic and menacing. In an era of endless possibility, he finds himself able to pursue his own private obsession with beautya prize as compelling to him as power and riches are to his friends. 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.

Framed by the two election that returned Margaret Thatcher to power, The Line of Beauty unfurls through four extraordinary years of change and tragedy. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly funny, this is a major work by one of our finest writers.

Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

A New York Times Notable Book of 2004

"In this saga about the Thatcher years Alan Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire from within, just as Proust did. Hollinghurst is never mocking or caricatural but subtly observant and completely participant. He writes the best prose we have today."Edmund White

"This is the fourth novel by one of the best stylists in the English language and winner of this year's Booker Prize. It has a well-developed plot and a large cast of charactersat the center of which is a young man searching for love and purpose in Margaret Thatcher's England. But the rich Tories and bitter Laborites battling for control of Britain's soul take a back seat to the book's elegant but sturdy prose, which is as finely crafted as an ornamental design on an old vase or in the stonework of a church portal."Michael Shelden, The Baltimore Sun

"In this saga about the Thatcher years Alan Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire from within, just as Proust did. Hollinghurst is never mocking or caricatural but subtly observant and completely participant. He writes the best prose we have today."Edmund White

"A classic of our times. The work of a great English stylist in full maturity; a masterpiece."The Observer

"Wonderful . . . almost unbelievably well-written . . . Finely wrought but tough, close -in observation."Spectator

"A magnificent novel . . . There are literally thousands of impeccably nuanced touches."Daily Telegraph

"There is something memorable on every page . . . There is much to savour in The Line of Beauty, not least its humour, a shivering yet morally exacting satire that leaves no character untouched."The Times Literary Supplement

"Britisher Hollinghurst 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 cameohilariouslytoward the end) . . . More fascinating are Hollinghurst's incisive depictions of the brilliance and ease that insulate and animate the Feddensespecially the witty and difficult Gerald and the spectacular mess that is Catherineand 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."Kirkus Reviews

"Among its other wonders, this almost perfectly written novel . . . 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 usednot as a line of utility, but as a thematically connected sequence of events that creates its own mini-value system and symbols . . . 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 novel has the air of a classic."Publishers Weekly

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