13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Swimming Pool Library (Paperback)
Wow. This is a literary but very erotic book which takes for its subject a hidden English sexual subculture which doesn't often register in mainstream life. I would recommend it to people of all sexualities.
The main focus is on metropolitan gay life in the early 1980s, before AIDS, and the novel's protagonist William Beckwith is suitably hedonistic and frequently debauched. He's not always likeable but the sensuous and sensual character of Hollinghurst's prose keeps you reading as you enter seedy flats, exclusive gentlemen's clubs and darkened caverns.
Hollinghurst's graceful, elegant prose is the work of a mind which has digested a library-load of English prose. Despite its forays into underground porn cinemas and gay cottaging, this is a book which is deeply aware of tradition and the relationship between history and the present; the dead haunt every page.