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on 30 April 2018
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on 27 September 2015
Sometimes you feel it's over-wordy but relax, you're in the hands of a literary master so all will be well.
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on 24 March 2015
Gay abandon in many ways, but an intriguing insight into the past but with themes equally applicable to the present... Found it pretentious twaddle to begin with but then got mysteriously hooked until the end... Worth a read!
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on 6 December 2017
Great book , can't put it down
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on 13 November 2016
Very good
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on 17 August 2017
A good read but with a very ambiguous ending.
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on 29 August 2017
I got the book as a present for a friend who was delighted with it
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on 14 August 2017
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on 9 June 2013
I think that Alan Hollinghurst is one of the finest styists writing in English today. "The Swimming-pool library" is less mature and brilliant than "Stranger's child" but it is nevertheless a superb piece of literature. The characterisation has improved, from the somewhat awkward types populating his early work to the more subtle and varied psychology of the later stuff. If you love good English, you'll surely love Alan Hollinghurst.
What troubles me about all his books is the sex. Apart from one memorable pairing in The Line of Beauty, hardly any of it ever seems to involve love, which is really bizarre. The ghastly central character of "The Folding Star" speaks about his lust for the under-age boy of his obsession as love and he is the extreme end of a principle which seems to run through Hollinghurst's work like a theme.
It's as if just about none of his characters ever grow up into people who can genuinely and freely give themselves to the other; sexual encounters 90% of the time are onanistic lust-couplings - and it seems that they are the norm for him.
Sexual relationships are not always the fleeting, desperate and loveless experiences which he describes: my thinking is that this is probably the main shortcoming which stands in the way of Hollinghurst being accepted as our foremost novelist.
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on 9 September 2012
In a review for Hollinghurst's 'The Line of Beauty' I described the first eleven chapters as 'absurdly entertaining.' I would say the same of much of 'The Swimming Pool Library.' It provides a real insight into gay life and is highly entertaining. My only reason for not giving this book five stars is that many of the descriptive passages are over blown and I found Lord Nantwich's diary entries tedious. Once again I think that Alan Hollinghurts needs a good editor. Nevertheless I would give this novel the highest recommendation for entertainment value. I also like the way that the author goes inside his narrator's head and describes his thoughts and feelings. I have now read this and 'The Line of Beauty' and 'The Stranger's Child.' What next? Am I ready yet for some Edmund White?
3 people found this helpful
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