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The Line of Beauty [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Alan Hollinghurst , Alex Jennings
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 2005
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2004, The Line of Beauty is a perfectly realised tale of our times, and now a major BBC drama
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Sound Library (Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 079273761X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792737612
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 15.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,619,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Both classic and modern, Alan Hollinghurst... imbues human nature and interaction with a timeless, monumental quality' -- Observer, 'PAPERBACK OF THE WEEK'

'Surveying the era's self-interested mood from the highest social vantage point, Hollinghurst's book is [an] immaculate time capsule.' -- Sunday Times, 'PICK OF THE WEEK' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

It is the summer of 1983, and young Nick Guest, an innocent in the matters of politics and money, has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children Toby and Catherine. Nick had idolized Toby at Oxford, but in his London life it will be the troubled Catherine who becomes his friend and his uneasy responsibility. At the boom years of the mid-80s unfold, Nick becomes caught up in the Feddens’ world. In an era of endless possibility, Nick 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. 'Luminous . . . [an] astonishingly Jamesian novel, a crafty, glittering, sidelong bid by a contemporary master of English prose to be considered heir to James himself. For a novel that spans only four years, 1983 to 1987, it seems to encompass a world as capacious as any in a James novel' The Times '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' Times Literary Supplement ‘Superb . . . Alan Hollinghurst is in the prime of his writing life, and the immaculate rolling cadences of his new novel are right now the keenest pleasure English prose has to offer’ Daily Telegraph ‘Quite simply a joy to read. It is solid and traditional, beautifully crafted. A quiet masterpiece’ Scotland on Sunday --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommended book. 16 Feb 2006
By A Customer
The book begins in 1983 when Nick Guest, freshly graduated from Oxford, is given lodgings at his friend's parents house in London while he finds his feet. The house is owned by Gerald Fedden, a wealthy and ambitious Tory M.P. used to a life of luxury and privelege. Though lacking title, money or ambition, Nick is captivated by this glamourous scene and inveigles himself into the Fedden's life. As the hubris of the 80s gathers momentum, Nick finds himself circulating in the highest echelons of a society riddled with snobbery and greed to which he never really belongs. Aware that his precarious social position is dependent on his being charming, clever and inoffensive at all times, Nick is acutely observant of the people and places he visits. The novel concentrates on both Nick's experiences as the eternal hanger-on in the Fedden's world and his homosexual relationships during this time and the onset of the AIDS epidemic.
The characters are well-drawn and often amusing as they carefully maintain their social position or strive for ever more. The author wisely makes the Fedden's (even the buffoon Gerald) and their 'eternal guest' likeable. This is the first Alan Hollinghurst book I've read and, although I initially thought: "Oh no, not another English author completely obsessed about class", I soon found myself thoroughly enjoying it. The writing style is exquisite: elegant and understated; and the observations succinct and telling. It's one of the best novels I've read in quite a while.
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159 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intersecting curves 4 April 2005
"It's about someone who loves things more than people. And who ends up with nothing, of course. I know it's bleak, but then I think it's probably a very bleak book, even though it's essentially a comedy." This is Nick Guest, the central character in Alan Hollinghurst's marvellous fourth novel, actually speaking about Henry James' book "The Spoils of Poynton", which he has been turning into a (doomed, of course) film script. However, in a typical instance of Hollinghurst's scalpel-sharp irony, both the reader and Nick himself realise just as he speaks these words that he might as well be discussing his own narrative.
Like a lot of people, I was mildly surprised (not having read the book) when it won the Booker prize, and at first I wasn't convinced: social satire has arguably been done to death, and many of us would probably rather forget the whole yuppie, Thatcherite era. However, there is far more to this book - which is indeed surprisingly bleak despite often being laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes in the same paragraph - than mere social satire. The appropriately named Nick Guest is a rather impressionable young gay man who finds himself attached to the family of his university pal Toby Fedden, who is terribly nice but frightfully posh and unequivocally straight. The Fedden family - including father Gerald, an upwardly-mobile Tory MP and mother Rachel who comes from Old Money - find it quite handy to have Nick around as official Gay Buddy and unofficial minder for their mentally unstable daughter Catherine. However, Nick's affairs are more complicated than they seem, and while on the surface he is all polished charm, he is becoming ever more deeply embroiled in a damaging clandestine relationship with millionaire playboy Wani Ouradi, including random threesomes and heavy cocaine use.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, twisted yet strangely wonderful 21 May 2006
This book is about love, rejection, and the obsession with beauty. Although a little slow to begin with, the reader is soon lost in the story of a poor graduate trying to find love and keep up with his rich university friends as the 1980s enfold about him. The narrative is sublime and I was impressed by how well the author managed issues such as homosexuality, pursuit of power, adultery, friendship, AIDS, rejection and love with both realism and a frequent sprinkling of comedy. This was an immensely enjoyable book, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys well-written, original prose that makes you think.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it and weep, Read it and laugh 10 Jan 2010
Alan Hollinghurst's novel, The Line of Beauty has the backdrop of 1980's London, when the political and social barometer was veering towards family values with the impending rise of Thatcherism and the spotlight shone firmly on politician's private lives. The novel explores the professional and private lives of the Fedden family and particularly focuses on their lodger, friend and the main protagonist Nick Guest.
The comedic skill of Alan Hollinghurst makes the reader laugh and cry at the same time. The hedonistic lifestyle of Nick Guest is revealed to the reader but may surprise some of his fellow characters. Oxford student Nick appears to be a sophisticated together guy, but his life is spiralling out of control with his relationships and cocaine use. Nick seems to be a character that it would be hard to like but through his willingness to please, he wins over the empathy of the reader, sadly for Nick things don't always go his way.
The novel deals with homosexuality, AIDS, the 1980's period and Thatcherism, as the predominant themes, these are also present in other novels by Hollinghurst such as The Fading Star which won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1994.
Hollinghurst's writing is a joy to read in this well crafted and refreshingly honest story, in which the reader is given an open window into the hidden liberal lifestyle of Nick Guest. Sometimes explicit, but always written with sophisticated style, you may find the novel startlingly frank, laugh out loud funny and thought provoking. Acclaimed by critics and readers alike and with Hollinghurst's pedigree as a contemporary novelist, it is no surprise that The Line of Beauty was nominated and subsequently won the Man Booker Prize in 2004.
Definitely a must read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really enjoyed this book,well written,good story ,a jolly good holiday read,,loved it
Published 13 days ago by Mrs. m clayton
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Couldnt get into the book at all. Had to force myself to read 150 pages but never finished it!
Published 18 days ago by chillgill
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex, drugs, and playing a role...
The Line of Beauty invites us to return to the 1980s in the company of Nick, recently graduated and enjoying his life on the fringes of a wealthy family in Thatcherite London. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Goddard
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
I read this first about 8 years ago and enjoyed it then. Second time it's even more perfect. Thoroughly recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Wingandaprayer
1.0 out of 5 stars A real stinker!
What's not to hate? Awful characters, which you just can't help disliking. A bit of a paradox because these educated privileged folk are supposed to be cultured and intelligent... Read more
Published 2 months ago by eric rambler
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Excellent beautiful writing nostalgic explicit clever characterisation awful shallow people good about love and and and and and that's it
Published 3 months ago by Dr. A. G. Beese
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I have read
This was chosen as our book club read. Only one managed to finish it. It was so boring and the people were boring and the story was boring. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Boudicca
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed.
Good book. Did not enjoy as much as The Stranger's Child but it was eye opening, beautifully written (as always) and heart breaking too. Thank you, Alan. You did good.
Published 5 months ago by Bebe
5.0 out of 5 stars Briiliant!
Every sentence in this book is balanced and delightfully paced. It is less about reading and more about dancing and floating across pages and through a story. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Aftiti
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me think
The blurb of this book certainly doesn't give away what you find inside. I suggested it to my book club as it was something I wouldn't usually pick up, but, hey that's the point... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Miss Laura J Ferguson
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