The Line of Beauty

The Line of Beauty In the summer of twenty year old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens conservative Member of Parliament Gerald his wealthy wife Rachel and their two chil

In the summer of 1983, twenty year old Nick Guest moves 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 As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocIn the summer of 1983, twenty year old Nick Guest moves 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 As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in the world of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of this glamorous family His two vividly contrasting love affairs, one with a young black clerk and one with a Lebanese millionaire, dramatize the dangers and rewards of his own private pursuit of beauty, a pursuit as compelling to Nick as the desire for power and riches among his friends.Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly comic, this U.K bestseller is a major work by one of our finest writers.

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The Line of Beauty

  1. Alan Hollinghurst is an English novelist, and winner of the 2004 Booker Prize for The Line of Beauty.He read English at Magdalen College, Oxford graduating in 1975 and subsequently took the further degree of Master of Literature 1979 While at Oxford he shared a house with Andrew Motion, and was awarded the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1974, the year before Motion.In the late 1970s he became a lecturer at Magdalen, and then at Somerville College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford In 1981 he moved on to lecture at University College London In 1997, he went on an Asia book tour in Singapore.In 1981 he joined The Times Literary Supplement and was the paper s deputy editor from 1982 to 1995.He lives in London.

542 Reply to “The Line of Beauty”

  1. I started this last night, heading home after one of the most dreadful evenings in recent memory.So lately my life does seem like a pot of thick, scalding acrid coffee I read books in the hope that they ll help me choke it down But for some reason everything I pick up lately s been unsatisfying, like skim milk or soy It might take the edge off, but not nicely, and with some of this stuff I think I might be better off drinking the coffee black That Martin Amis is like some synthetic creamer, with [...]

  2. There are many models of beauty and as old saying goesbeauty is in the eye of the beholder There is a classic definition of the line of beauty depicted by Hogarth in his workAnalyse of beauty , it s a S shaped double curve, though for Nick, the main protagonist of Alan Hollinghurst novel, the perfect line of beauty creates delicate curve of lover s back.Novel starts in the summer 1983 when young Nick Guest moves into the house of his friend Toby Fedden This part breathes newness and freshness, t [...]

  3. Sometimes one has to admit that one s preconceptions about a book are entirely wrong Despite having read most of the Booker winners I had been oddly reluctant to tackle this one, partly because I had heard about its graphic descriptions of gay sex and that is just not a subject that interests me This book confounded such baseless expectations, and the final part in particular is very moving I can t really do justice to the book in a short review, for which I apologise.This story of Nick Guest, a [...]

  4. It makes me angry that I don t know much about U.S history, modern U.S history and British history Fuggedaboutit I wish I knew about the Thatcher administration since the novel is coupled with those years as efficiently as THE HUMAN STAIN goes hand in hand with the Lewinski scandal One must know how much pathos is ingrained in these particular events from not too long agonce it adds the requisite magic to elevate them, these modern classics.It s about gay sex drugs, the 1980 s and financial pow [...]

  5. Update The BBC World Book Club podcast with Alan Hollinghurst, in which he talks about this novel, is available now at bbc programmes w3csvtz0 and I make a brief appearance with a question about 42 minutes into the programme Just FYI Review below from October 2014 I wanted to savour every word in this novel I alternately dragged out the reading experience to relish the language, and sped through sections because I felt greedy and impatient and wanted to see what linguistic marvels Alan Hollinghu [...]

  6. Alan Hollinghurst s prose is simply beautiful His words make made me breathless even if his milieu is something that I am not very familiar with London in the eighties His prose is so beautiful that I felt that I would never be able to write a novel myself Hollinghurst is like a god in the Olympus and I am just a mortal slave and I am not even worthy to kiss the ground he steps on It is so beautiful, I felt like putting it at the altar stare at pray that it would inspire me to continue writing t [...]

  7. 3.5 stars rounded upBooker prize winner in 2004, Hollinghurst writes about the 1980s and particularly about Thatcher s Britain and the onset of HIV AIDS It is the story of Nick Guest, a young gay man from a middle class background He meets the son Toby of a rising Tory MP Gerald Fedden at Oxford and after graduating moves in with Toby s family as a lodger.The backdrop is London of the 1980s Nick moves in glamorous circles and the line of beauty goes back to Hogarth s s shaped curve in his book [...]

  8. An unusually powerful and deserving winner of the Man Book Prize, this is one of the few books that took me over a year to read, not because it was ever boring or sluggish, but because each sentence was so beautiful, I wanted to give every passage its due attention I rarely say such things about books, so Hollinghurst must be a magician or a hypnotist As it took me so long to read, I spent an embarrassing amount of time repeating to people who asked me what I was reading that it was Line of Beau [...]

  9. 3.5 stars A really masterful novel, though not one that I d say I always particularly enjoyed The dragging middle was book ended by some wonderfully flagrant and emotional moments I especially loved how Hollinghurst was able to stir up so emotion in the final scenes It touches on public and private selves, love, beauty, all rather grandiose themes, in a startlingly humorous and down to earth manner.

  10. Be Forewarned This well written society critique and winner of the 2004 Man Booker prize will bore the pants off you unless you are deeply interested in class struggle, gayness, politics, ethnicity, and AIDs, the intersection of in England in the mid to late 80s Oh, and antiques Talk about a niche It was one of two books I brought on my 20 hour flight to Singapore, where I was planning on enjoying, at long last, some time to myself to read About 50 pages into it, my mind cried, Noooooo and I was [...]

  11. Hollinghurst s gay protagonist, Nick Guest, or less ingenuously follows his sexual and aesthetic inclinations, which lead him, somewhat incongruously, into the house of Tory MP Gerald Fedden, the arms of a Lebanese millionaire s son, and finally personal disaster and tragedy The thin thread that binds and shapes Nick s muddling way through his life is beauty, and his trajectory is in a way a test of its strength and worth Hollinghurst holds up for us the thinness of beauty and the foolishness o [...]

  12. It took me a little while to get into this book, but when I did, I couldn t stop For a little while I couldn t see what the point of the story was The 1980s and especially Conservative politicians, and rich families weren t something that I thought interested me, but although that s the decade this book is set in, and that s the backdrop to what happens, it isn t about that at all It s about thinking that you are accepted and welcomed, and then suddenly those that you thought loved you, turning [...]

  13. DNF at about pg 228.The Line of Beauty is actually the first book I don t finish It is a bittersweet feeling, but I am quite happy with my decision and I feel absolutely relieved.I always pressure myself to finish the book even if I don t like it and such However, I don t think that is the best approach to reading We should be able to do what we want to do We don t like a book and don t want to reach the end Fine Do we want to push ourselves till the last page Do it.There are so many books and s [...]

  14. I find it difficult to rate and review this book There are aspects I thoroughly enjoyed the themes, the writing, the wit and others that I disliked equally strongly the pacing, the clich characters not even the main character, Nick, come alive for me, he stayed bland and somewhat aloof Despite these negative aspects, the book provided an insightful view on the politics of the Thatcher years, and importantly for me personally it brought back the beginning of AIDS in the early and mid eighties I [...]

  15. O livro come a com a segunda vit ria eleitoral de Margaret Thatcher em 1983 e termina em 1987, no ano em que acaba esse mesmo mandato Nick Guest convidado a permanecer com os Fedden em Notting Hill, por ser amigo do filho mais velho Toby, tendo ambos frequentado a Universidade de Oxford Na primeira parte da hist ria Alan Hollinghurst foca se sobretudo na vida amorosa de Nick Jovem, atraente e homossexual assumido, Nick procura o seu ideal parceiro e tudo leva a crer que o encontra em Leo Por m, [...]

  16. 2004 Another Booker Prize Winner I liked but couldn t love Another year when the winner was less impressive than those it beat And now it is 2011 and Alan Hollinghurst s new book The Stranger s Child has been long listed for this year s prize and already he s the bookmakers pick to win.He probably will, and maybe this time he ll deserve it.That s not fair of me, though It s not like The Line of Beauty was a bad book I enjoyed it well enough The characters were engaging I especially liked Catheri [...]

  17. Finally finished the plot started to pick up or rather, the author found the plot in the last third of the book or so, but that was 300 pages in Painful The writing was supposed to by lyrical and graceful, but it was just long winded and poorly executed For beautiful prose, this book tries but does not hit the mark The author needed a better editor, one who loves the delete key It may be because I have been reading this book sporadically over the past year or , but at the end of the story there [...]

  18. I m mixed on this one The characters are beautifully crafted, the era 1980s London is brilliantly captured and the story well told with a twist that changes the languid to the anguished It was all very Henry James and I mean that with the greatest respect I think what I struggled with is the utter depravity and despicability of these people the pointlessness of their privileged, selfish lives The sex wasn t shocking but it did get tiresome I d rather have learned about the families But all in a [...]

  19. I enjoyed this enormously Hollinghurst is a great stylist and his debt to Henry James, suggested throughout the protagonist is writing a thesis on The Master , is always evident Best of all is his subtle but uncompromising social satire few of the characteres are particularly sympathetic but all are energetically realised and very believable There are some terrific set pieces an aristocratic twenty first birthday, awkward introductions of gay lovers to parents who don t know or won t admit their [...]

  20. The Line of Beauty is an elegant portrait of the rise and fall of a recent Oxford graduate playing at being privileged is a coming out story of said grad who does not quite come of age is a British period piece during the Thatcher reign is an expos of useless pedantry shows that a social class, by any name, is a social class is reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh in prose and moodI read this after seeing the movie, so had pictures in my mind of the characters It did not ruin the book for me I loved this [...]

  21. Nick is a young educated middle class man who sides himself with the family of a wealthy politician, and ingratiates himself into the family s life, taking occupancy in their son s old room Set in the 1980 s, Nick begins to share intimacies with the reading audience quite early on He s recently come out to his closest friends however not his family and is beginning to live the life that he thinks a young gay man should live He s answering advertisements in gay meet up magazines, and fulfilling t [...]

  22. Excellent in every respect Reading this, I often felt to be in masterly hands Hollinghurst has that completeness of play, that perfect union of the dramatic and the psychological He does the scenic work of artfully describing characters interplay of gestures and tones and tics, but is just as adept amidst the impalpables of sensibility, where the motives for their gestures and tones and tics are found to lie Hollinghurst has superb senses for texture, heft, sound, movement The old James advice t [...]

  23. This was a thought provoking, haunting read that has stayed with me quite lucidly since I finished it The narrative is so powerful that I was able to picture much of the story as clearly as if I had actually witnessed it all taking place, and several of the disturbing scenes were so real to me that they stuck in my head in graphic detail, as if they were horribly memorable scenes from a film, for days afterwards I loved the innovative, inspiring description a favourite line Sally Tipper had a l [...]

  24. I d been meaning to look into Hollinghurst for years, ever since I read a rave review of The Swimming Pool Library by a writer whose opinion I respected but whom I can t remember now Martin Amis, maybe I want to say John Updike, but given the controversy over his New Yorker review of Hollinghurst s later The Spell, I m not sure I could handle the irony In any case, I always look for Swimming Pool Library in book stores, but they never seem to carry it So finally I got this instead, to help assua [...]

  25. One thing about Booker winners is that with each re read, they get better and in the process you discover some detail you missed out first time round I last read TLoB in 2008 and now now 8 years later I realise that I forgot a lot of it.The story is about a lower middle class gay man called Nick Guest, as his surname states, he is a guest at the upper class Feddens The mother is a descendant of a noble family while Gerald Fedden is a minister The book takes place in the 80 s at the height of Tha [...]

  26. DNF 1 2When I broke and read the story summary, I was like, Ohhhh that s what this book s about Why didn t it tell me It makes an interesting point, then, that even a hidden intolerance is deadly I guess That one hand you re like, well, you guys have your gay bars and your drugs and your outside sex what s not to like But they re like, well, what choice do we have You don t want us at your regular people bars, won t let us sleep in the same bed in our homes without feeling guilty about it, and w [...]

  27. The preemptive assumption of this novel is that Nick is an innocent in the ways of the world in regards to politics, finance, and romance The author sets up this character to be seemingly sterotypically innocent describing that everything in life comes to him as a shock Throughout the book you see that, although Nick is innocent to the evils that lurk behind the corporate power structure and elite of society, and never quite knows the proper thing to say, neither does anyone else The dialogue in [...]

  28. Is it the particularity of things or their congruence with the universal that reveals their beauty Hollinghurst s The Line of Beauty briefly calls into question for me whether being a heterosexual female is that great, once compared to the heady intimacy enjoyed by men who love men and the even their particular burdens This is not an especially lurid book overall, but its sex scenes are minutely detailed and veer between the erotic and the unsettling The way Nick Guest, our protagonist, assesses [...]

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