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The Line of Beauty A Novel


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Bloomsbury USA


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1582346100

9781582346106

400 Pages

$17.00

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction
A New York Times Notable Book

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, Toby—whom Nick had idolized at Oxford—and 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' world—its 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 beauty—a 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.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Line of Beauty

"A magnificent comedy of manners. Hollinghurst's alertness to the tiniest social and tonal shifts never slackens, and positively luxuriates in a number of unimprovably droll set pieces . . . [an] outstanding novel."—New York Times Book Review

"His most tender and powerful novel to date, a sprawling and haunting elegy to the 1980s."—Entertainment Weekly

"Mr. Hollinghurst's great gift as a novelist is for social satire as sharp and transparent at glass, catching his quarry from an angle just an inch to the left of the view they themselves would catch in the mantelpiece mirror . . . The Line of Beauty is unlikely to be surpassed."—New York Observer

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

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

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

"[The] pointillist attention to detail makes every character fascinating."—The Miami Herald

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

"Luminous . . . a crafty, glittering, sidelong bid by a contemporary master of English prose to be considered heir to James himself."—The Times (London)

"Hollinghurst's first novel, The Swimming-Pool Library (1988), won major acclaim and many awards. His latest novel engages similar themes—a young man new to both his sexuality and the manners of high society. Set in London during the early 1980s, the economy is booming, the Tories have just been swept into power, Margaret Thatcher is prime minister, and the country is awash in hope and excitement. Nick Guest, fresh out of Oxford, is staying in London with the Fedden family—whose son, Toby, was Nick's dearest friend at Oxford. The father, Gerald, is a newly elected conservative member of parliament and is infatuated with Thatcher, whom he calls 'the Lady.' Nick, by his proximity to the Feddens, attends swank parties, packed with MPs, cabinet ministers, and nobility, all of whom harbor the expectation that 'the Lady' might appear at any minute. Meanwhile, Nick embarks on two love affairs—first with Leo, a young black London clerk, and later with Wani, a Lebanese millionaire and friend from Oxford. After nights of parties, drugs, sex, and snobbery, scandal—in which Nick plays an unwilling part—visits the Fedden family. The material and social excesses of the 1980s are deftly portrayed in Hollinghurst's latest success."—Michael Spinella, Booklist

"Almost perfectly written . . . this novel has the air of a classic."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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