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The Stranger's Child by [Hollinghurst, Alan]
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The Stranger's Child Kindle Edition

2.9 out of 5 stars 343 customer reviews

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Product Description


'Hollinghurst's follow-up to The Line of Beauty, his 2004 Man Booker-Prize winner, is still several months away, but advance word suggests another classic. Following the lives of two families from the eve of WW1 to the close of the 20th century, it promises to be hugely ambitious, deeply affecting and beautifully written. If it's not, we'll eat your copy.' --GQ

'An epic story of two families and two houses spanning the entire 20th century, it promises to enhance its author's claim to the title of best British novelist working at the moment.' --Observer News Review 2011 Preview

'I'm particularly looking forward to the first novel in seven years from Alan Hollinghurst, and the word on the street is that it's every bit as compelling as The Line of Beauty' --Mariella Frostrup, `Stylist' (her number One choice for `2011's Essential Reading')

'Hollinghurst is promising a huge novel for the summer, a tale of two families that ranges from 1913 to the late Noughties.' --Sunday Times 2011 Preview

'I'll definitely be taking Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child, which spans several generations, no doubt in his usual impeccable prose' James Walton
'I'll be packing a copy of Alan Hollinghurst s The Stranger s Child. That's partly because he s the finest prose stylist of his generation, but also because his writing sits so invitingly between the intellectually risky and the sexually risqué' Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
'I loved The Line of Beauty and The Swimming-Pool Library so I am very much looking forward to Alan Hollinghurst s The Stranger's Child, which promises to match his earlier books in both elegance of prose and acuity of psychological insight' Michael Gove --Daily Telegraph's Summer Reading

An intricate, witty, playful meditation on what is now beginning to emerge as one of Hollinghurst s chief concerns: Englishness. Comedy of manners, investigation of class, changing political and social landscape all the reliable pleasures that his fiction offers are here in their dense, detailed richness.... Miraculously handled Hollinghurst set-pieces... It is woven with stupendous deftness, its internal assonances making a complex, comprehensive harmony... A magnificent coherence The Times

Masterful... There is a huge cleverness to the book at a structural and, as it were, managerial level. Characters are named with an aptness which is light-footed and unswervingly accurate... Hollinghurst, as ever, is quietly brilliant about architecture, both in the specific sense of a cultural discourse about buildings, and the broader sense of how people behave in different kinds of place... there is something symphonic about [the novel s] wholeness. There is also something filmic in the book s enveloping embrace; not the heritage cinema of Merchant Ivory et al, but the more experimental, argumentative efforts of the Sixties and Seventies. I often found myself recalling Joseph Losey's version of The Go-Between, and occasionally the anguished exquisites of Michelangelo Antonioni... there s also a lot that is purely and simply very funny Daily Telegraph 4-star review

A showcase for bravura writing. Such praise could be off-putting: the glitter of fine writing often elevates style over substance. Perhaps I should therefore stress straight away that The Stranger s Child is not only written with extraordinary beauty, but is also exceptionally readable and this even though the narrative is fragmented by chronological leaps, the characterisation disrupted by shifts in perspective. The author s imagination is teased by the extent to which we are strangers to each other, and the way in which the past becomes strange to the present. His genius lies in his ability to intrigue the reader, too, suggesting the hinterland of a secret, vivid life, glimpsed out of the corner of the eye, as it were. Hollinghurst is superbly skilled at heightening awareness of the liminal Standpoint magazine

A rollicking ride with biting wit and observant prose. Bring it on --Country & Town House magazine


"'With The Stranger's Child, an already remarkable talent unfurls into something spectacular' Sunday Times 'I would compare the novel to Middlemarch... a remarkable, unmissable achievement' Independent 'Magnificent... universally acclaimed as the best novel of the year' Philip Hensher"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1363 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307474348
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (27 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00500YCCC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars 343 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,880 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Hollinghurst often reminds me of E.M.Forster with his nostalgia for the early C20 and his focus on the minute details of people's thoughts, observations of one another and interrelationships, all presented in well-crafted prose (apart from the odd clunky phrase like "she said carryingly").

Charismatic, arrogant and manipulative, the aristocratic Cecil Valance achieves a possibly undeserved popularity as a poet after his early death in the First World War. Can the truth of his life ever be told by biographers? This seems unlikely since even those who claim to know him have very different perceptions. In five separate sections separated by gaps of several years or even decades, the author aims to show the false nature of memory.

You could argue that Hollinghurst is daring in discarding many of the "conventions" of novel-writing. The development of a strong plot is given second place to what often reads like a series of short stories: portrayals of characters who make only brief appearances, or the description of quite minor incidents, evocative of past generations, but very amusing, ludicrous or in the style of a black comedy. The author tends to build up anticipation of a certain outcome, only for it not to occur, insofar as one can judge! Significant events are frequently no more than implied.

Although this book promises much, my growing suspicion that it would not deliver proved justified. It suffers from being too long, repetitive in its limited revelations and self-indulgent, not least in its campness - I grew tired of "blushing" and "giggling" men of all ages.
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By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read The Stranger's Child with some trepidation having not greatly enjoyed Line Of Beauty. I had pigeon holed Alan Hollinghurst as a pompous man who was obsessed by the class system, big houses, Oxbridge and gay sex. After reading the first part of The Stranger's Child, I was reassured to see that my prejudices were well founded. A book I could truly loathe.

But as the novel wore on, something quite subtle happened. It became more and more engrossing - the gradual layering of history; the changing perceptions over time. Cecil the dandy of Part One became a hero, and then a cult and finally a distant and second hand memory. His light burned brightly for a while, but he slipped back to the marginalia of literature.

Hollinghurst's technique is to report very few events in real time. He narrates through set piece parties, gatherings, weekends when conversation turns to past events. This can be frustrating at first (and I don't think it ever stopped being frustrating in Line of Beauty) but it is used to very good effect in The Stranger's Child - allowing different perspectives and allowing changes in perception or opinion over time. This was echoed in Cecil's most famous poem, Two Acres, and his letters - being controlled, edited and drip fed by those holding the documents to amend public perception of the man. By the end, the real Cecil was irrelevant - people each had their own personal agenda to pursue and the memory of the man was manipulated to those ends.

The writing, whilst well done, is not particularly flowery or pompous. The pomposity of the opening sections mellows and by the end, one is prepared to accept that it derives from the characters and situations rather than the author.
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Format: Hardcover
I started this book full of hope. I adored The Line of Beauty - and the first chapter of The Stranger's Child drew me in so completely I immediately put the book down as i didn't want to finish it too soon! The characters pre WW1 were so engaging and the elegance and wonderful descriptions were what I expected after LOB. I was glad to see such strong female characters here and i know that had been a criticism in the past - in fact they stood head and shoulders above all the men. Alan Hollinghurst is obsessed with class but that is okay as so are most of we, the subtle tell tale signs which give the imposters away are so well described - as are all the socially awkward situations as we expect. The only question I would have is does Mr H really think every man has had/would have a gay experience? or is it an aristocracy thing? This aspect made it seem unlikely as I cant recall one male in the book where at least a liaison was suggested. However I was dying to see how the secret which had been believed destroyed for so long would emerge - but it didn't emerge and the end of the book was the biggest let down ever - I felt like it just trailed off. I actually started thinking I must have skipped a chapter but no - perhaps it leaves it open for a sequel but I wont be buying in hard back next time. Whilst I am still thinking about the characters in the earlier chapters, the later ones were less charming. I still love the wonderful writing - but after such a wait for this - I was a little annoyed by the last page - I was robbed!
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