The Line of Beauty is a Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Alan Hollinghurst. Contents. 1 Plot. “The Love Chord” (); “To Whom Do You. Alfred Hickling on sex and snorting in Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty. Everyone who has read The Line of Beauty will recall the party at which the young protagonist, Nick Guest, dances with Mrs Thatcher. Before.

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. In the summer oftwenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innoc Beaity the summer oftwenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: 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 linee for power and riches among his alaj. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly comic, this U. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Line of Beautyplease sign up.

Lists with This Book. May 11, Jessica rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Recommended to Jessica by: I started this last night, heading home after one of the most dreadful evenings in recent memory.

So lately my life does seem like a pot of thick, scalding acrid coffee; I read books in the hope that they’ll help me choke it down. But for some reason everything I pick up lately’s been unsatisfying, like skim milk or soy. It might take the edge off, but not nicely, and with some of this stuff I think I might be better off drinking the coffee black.

That Martin Amis is like some synthetic creamer, I started this last night, heading home after one of the most dreadful evenings in recent memory. That Martin Amis is like some synthetic creamer, with an artificial flavor that’s kind of alluringly disgusting I keep drinking this shit because I have to.

The Line of Beauty

But it doesn’t taste good. Beautg, riding back home half-drunk from a novelistically bad party, I opened The Line of Beautyand started to read. I’d put this on my to-read list ages ago after pillaging a beloved professor’s Amazon reviews, and reviews by terrifyingly-literate-Eric-of-the-drink-and-wide-smirk have recently pushed Hollinghurst back into my mind. This man’s writing is like cream you only get at the farm. I am holding my mug underneath the cow’s teat here, I guess, while Farmer Alan squirts this magical substance in.

It’s like smooth white gold, a dream mouthful, delicious. This coffee tastes fabulous. I could drink it all day. Maybe that’s a gross metaphor, just wrong or too dumb. And yeah, I’m only fifty pages in, but seriously, he writes like a dream. It’s been awhile since I’ve started anything that felt this good. Late last night finishing a cigarette on the fire escape, inventorying the bitter, dark, stinking thing that’s my life these days, I tried to think of promising reasons to wake up in the morning, to drink literal coffee and walk out the door.


And when I thought of ho,linghurst more of this novel, I got really excited. Because honestly it kind of doesn’t matter if your life’s watery burnt crap, if you’re reading something good enough, you can usually get by.

I hope this book lives up to its promising opening.

Review: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst | Books | The Guardian

But even if it doesn’t, I’m grateful for the feeling. Sometimes you have a bad run when no books can engage you, and you start to wonder what the point of reading is, if it’s anything more than a banal time-filling hobby.

Like is this any better than playing games on my cellphone? Am I not just killing time on my daily commute? I love being reminded that that’s not it at all. We read to save our mouths from burning, we read to slow the ulcers. We read because we have to, because otherwise this cupful’s just too rank to swallow. I have accomplished little this week besides reading this book. I looked forward to commutes, took the local train instead of the express; I waited for buses and elevators when I normally would’ve walked, and showed up early at dinner dates so I’d have time first to read.

My main impression while reading was an image of Alan Hollinghurst encountering The English Language one night on a stroll through the park. I pictured him coaxing it into some unlit shrubbery, and then gently but manfully bending The English Language over against an oak tree, sort of holding it there, unzipping his trousers, and masterfully — generously — turning it gay.

How do they do it? A lot of sentences in here made me feel I should stop embarrassing myself and degrading the language by writing any more sentences of my own.

Maybe McEwan should stop writing sentences too! The only reason McEwan’s more famous must be because his TMI sex scenes tend not to be gay, and a lot of people really are inexplicably freaked out by gay male sex. The sex in the opening and best section of the novel conveys the thrill of first love and being young and the figuring of that stuff out with a touching accuracy that many writers have shot for but few have so successfully nailed.

This is a book that would make Beajty. Forster blush, not just for being too graphic for his era’s sensibility, but because he might’ve wished he’d lived long enough to have written it. I almost never say dumb stuff like that I do think though that The Line of Beauty might’ve helped heal me from the ancient thwarting trauma of trying to hollinguurst The Awkward Age in college, so maybe I’ll give the old guy another chance Anyway, where was I?

What was Hollinhgurst saying? Oh, I was fawning and drooling all over this book, and it was frankly pathetic. Obviously not everyone would love this as much as I did. It’s a very straightforward novel set in Thatcher-era England, following the winkingly-named Lins Guest, a middle-class gay aesthete who has insinuated himself, though his friendship with an Oxford classmate, into the very wealthy household of a Tory MP.

It takes place between the years andand follows Nick’s relationship with the family, his romances and sexual development, his preoccupations with beauty and pleasure, and some other stuff You know, it’s your laan standard kind of thing, I just thought it was spectacularly well-written.


The plot developments and characters were predictable and I could see how one might argue they were cliched, but somehow even this kind of worked for me, and made it seem more like an older novel, in a good way. I guess I could’ve done without all the drugs — why do drugs follow me everywhere I go? I’ll be reading the classiest, most seemingly together book, and hollinguhrst of a sudden the author pulls out a bag! There hollinggurst a few things here I wasn’t so crazy about.

For one thing, while I must applaud Alan Hollingsworth’s discovery of the adverb “illusionlessly,” which truly is precious — even priceless — when used to describe a facial expression or tone hhollinghurst voice, I wish someone had told him he could only use it once. There were hollinghrst couple things in here like that, overuse of certain words, and while on some I’ll give him a who-knows-how-rich-people-talk-over-there-not-me pass on some such as “longing”the language was so hollinghurts and memorable and almost perfect to me, that the exceptions glared out.

Isn’t this what editors are for? To count frequency of use for your favorite pet words, and make you cut down? I feel like you tend to see this problem more in short story books; it’s less forgivable in a novel. Maybe I am missing holllinghurst in-joke about Henry James, who used these particular words ceaselessly, and I just don’t get it.

Oh, but I only complain because otherwise I’d melt! There were sentences in here that made me cry. As you may know, I do cry easily, but it’s not usually just from sentences.

There were a few in here, man The other, potentially more serious thing Lien took issue with here was towards the end, when alzn book got all plotty and reached what I felt was an unnecessary and awkwardly clunky climax. I like the kind of books I can only assume Hollinghurst also likes in large part because they don’t ruin themselves with plots.

I’m obsessed lately with the idea that some compulsion to plot often prevents an author telling the real story. I think that happened here, somewhat. The events felt distracting from what was really going on, and just on the whole, the more that was happening the less masterfully it was handled. Nick Guest is really an incredible main character. Reading this gave me the first faint interest in rereading Gatsby for the first time since high school, because I feel like there’s a joke there and I want to get it.

Isn’t the main character in that Nick too? Anyway, the way he makes this guy and the relationship I developed with him as the reader was just awesome in the older sense of the term. I was awed by it, really. I’m embarrassed by this review. I’m nervous about hollinghurts this gushing because I don’t want everyone to run out and get this and then be like, “What’s your problem, Jessica?

Why the fuss, psycho? If, for instance, you are somehow not captivated by gay male sexuality, Thatcherite England, or novels about rich people, you might not love this. You have been warned. How can you not be? Anyway, I’m dawdling because I’m not that excited about going to bed right now.