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The Swimming-Pool Library

The Swimming Pool Library A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS an elegy possessed of chi

  • Title: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • Author: Alan Hollinghurst
  • ISBN: 9780679722564
  • Page: 471
  • Format: Paperback
  • A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything Harpers QA literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything Harpers Queen , it focuses on the friendship of two men William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, an old Africa hand, searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.

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    • Free Read The Swimming-Pool Library - by Alan Hollinghurst
      471 Alan Hollinghurst

    About Author

    1. Alan Hollinghurst says:
      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.

    Comment 862 on “The Swimming-Pool Library

    1. mark monday says:
      i ll start off with a blanket statement many novels of the Gay Fiction subgenre will fall within two categories 1 Coming of Age Talesin which the protagonist struggles to come out, often against his unsympathetic surroundings often tender occasionally mawkish.2 a category that i like to call Gay World Novels in which, oh, everyone is pretty much gay fine dream on, gays, dream on if you can t live itdream it to me, the self relegation of most gay novels between these two categories can be annoyin [...]

    2. Fabian says:
      A wonderful romp around London town, arguably the gayest city in all of Europe The novel is exquisite, very smartly titled Swimming pool implies the superficial aspect of the gay scene, Library implies all that is intelligent and witty the book is a merger of these both It s at once overly sensual incredibly literary The Line of Beauty seems to be the culmination of Alan Hollinghurst s steamy cranial poetics this then is barely but a stepping stone toward that epic saga the Booker winner was tur [...]

    3. Shovelmonkey1 says:
      This book is tricksily misleading on a number of fronts It has been described as deeply thrilling and darkly erotic I think I might have missed something then at first appearance it s a breezy but self obsessed commentary by flirtatious man about town, William Beckwith young, moneyed, unscrupulous, charming and gay The narrative is archly upper class with frequent references to private mens clubs such as the Corinthian and the Athenaeum The characters are foppish and callow, self serving and fri [...]

    4. Eric says:
      The plot was only intermittently absorbing, but the narrator s tones are utterly addictive I can t get enough of Hollingburst s style It can delicately register so many things shades of emotion, nuances of intellection, as well as symphonies of physical movement, as in the suburban boxing tournament but never sounds fussy or over elaborate very solid and quick, a model for anyone I wasn t sure if the rather stark contrast between the rich emotion of Lord Nantwich s old diaries and the senile, mu [...]

    5. Lena♥Ribka says:
      This book is extremely good written Very erotic and very gay ish It could have had 50 pages less or 100 pages , it wouldn t have had any influence on the storyline What a storyline It doesn t have a typical beginning, culminating and ending.Here the journey itself is a destination It is for sure a book I d like to re read some day and invest time in it.

    6. Hugo says:
      Este que foi o seu primeiro romance publicado valeu a Alan Hollinghurst o pr mio Somerset Maugham em 1989 semelhan a de A Linha da Beleza, n o se trata de um romance para o qual antevemos partida um final bomb stico, na verdade, obriga o leitor a adquirir um ritmo mais lento, pelos cap tulos demasiado longos e demora dos acontecimentos Mais um vez, senti o autor abandonar partes do enredo e personagens que me pareciam mais interessantes do que aqueles que ele preferiu desenvolver William n o um [...]

    7. Jessica says:
      I need to stop doing this thing of, when I m completely taken with a novel by a writer I ve never read before, running out and instantly reading something else by that writer It s just too much pressure, and I always wind up all pissed off and disappointed This has recently happened with Patrick Hamilton, Martin Amis, and now, Alan Hollinghurst is there something about these Brits that they don t make good second dates When I read The Line of Beauty I loved it so much I was sick Naturally I ran [...]

    8. Francisco says:
      I found Hollinghurst s novel to be very enthralling and wonderfully erotic It s such a fantastic exploration of what it was like to be a part of the gay community in the early 1980s, before AIDS altered the community and its image forever.From my perspective, very recently influenced by some serious thought about the West Indian community in London, The Swimming Pool Library struck me as a fascinating perspective how did the majority view the other, especially an other that was as highly sexuali [...]

    9. Vanessa Wu says:
      You never stop learning a language, which is why I buy two unabridged English novels from Audible every month and listen to them with as much concentration as I can muster Style is very important I don t like to listen to bad style So I choose very carefully what I listen to Those books become like voices in my head I absorb every cadence I internalise, verbalise and repeat.Finally I have found time for Alan Hollinghurst He s been on my list for a long time because everybody in the literary esta [...]

    10. Didi says:
      This book was brilliantly written I loved the snarky, literary writing style I wasn t attached to any of the characters but the story itself held my attention very closely Hollinghurst covers a plethora of themes such as homophobia, while comparing homosexuality before and after the gay liberation movement Will, the main character, is filthy rich and a hopeless whore He s extremely attractive and doesn t have to work A big part of this book covers a diary that Will is reading and those events ar [...]

    11. David says:
      Great writing but it felt a bit half baked at times Was he trying to touch every base in post Wilde gay fiction Does this explain why the story was a little odd at times The last chapters brought us to a rather strange place a secret interesting enough to shock a very selfish and generally disinterested young man but not damaging enough for anyone to work very hard to keep and, crucially, not so interesting that any of the young man s friends or family had sought to tell him That s a funny sort [...]

    12. C. says:
      I feel like I have nothing to say about this book Nonetheless I m going to write a review, because this is what I do You have been warned.It took an incredibly long time to get started, during which time I struggled with every page, trying desperately to identify with anyone at all and not get too annoyed with the prose style, which was effortlessly elegant and rich, but also plummy and even a little camp in a rather awfully upper class too British way My reaction to the world of over monied, ov [...]

    13. Nathan says:
      I read this book because it s on a lot of Best Gay Novel lists At first I thought it made the lists because there s a ton of sex in it Maybe that s part of it.I ended up feeling like Will Beckwith was a very thought provoking character Will has no occupation and no responsibilities He s rich, young, extremely attractive and overwhelmingly motivated by sex It s pretty much the only driving force in his life Consequently, the world through Will s eyes is not just AIDS free, it s womanless and 95% [...]

    14. Mark Joyce says:
      Given the number of sex scenes that Alan Hollinghurst crams into his books approximately one every other page you d think it would be enjoyable for him as well as the reader to inject a bit of variation In fact they all follow broadly the same template lingering description of a younger man s abs chest arse comparative analysis of cock size and appearance followed by a rough penetration in which the narcissistic central character is invariably in the active role Sometimes if he s feeling partic [...]

    15. Becky says:
      What a steaming pile of turd I thought the Line Of Beauty was rubbish, but at least there was darkness hiding amongst the explicit sex The Swimming Pool Library has nothing of the sort Described by some as an elegy to the pre AIDS homosexual world, this was a tale without a single likeable character, with no human bases I could touch down with whatsoever Perhaps it s because there isn t a single woman in this book Perhaps it s because the main character is one of those awful dying breeds of moni [...]

    16. Mel Bossa says:
      I read up until he tries picking up the sixteen year old hustler and because the young man asks him for money, Will dreams of pissing on him or violently taking him by force etc etc Look, I m no prude I ve read graphic books and loved them But this one bores me to death There s no dept No plot No real characters to hang on to Last thing Will s narration and Charles s letters are written in the same voice The book would have been fun if in the end we find out that Will is actually in a padded ro [...]

    17. Kirstine says:
      This has been highly praised as being one of the best British books about gay life.Not knowing a hell of a lot about gay life or the gay community in Britain or anywhere else or British fiction, I feel this is something I can t really comment on But as someone outside of this community and I feel it s safe to say that type of life I don t have that much sex or that much money and I m not as sociable , it was a great look into what goes on in a world I don t frequent how things work and the diffe [...]

    18. Jackie says:
      This is the longest its taken me to read a book in years Years This had nothing to do with Hollinghurst s writing which, it should be obvious by now, I love and everything to do with the narrator I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay, which is rich, grandiose, sad, and humanistic, and launched straight into this, which isry well written and well observed It was really, really difficult to move from these kind, imperfect characters to William Beckwith Pretty much any other book would [...]

    19. Adam says:
      this is said to be hollinghurst s first novel, completed at about the age of 33it is clear he pays homage to or how I say name dropping his inspirations of Firbank and E.M.Forster throughout, his major interest while studying English in schoolin an elevator summary, TS PL opens with the protagonist, Will Beckwith, coming to the aid of an elder gay man, who in turn is a lord with a complex link to his family Lord Nantwich asks Will to write his personal memoir, and slowly a of the characters ar [...]

    20. Dominic says:
      A semi interesting story in parts, but ultimately it boils down to the vanity and shallow life of a gay man, William Beckwith, living in 1980s Britain It s a book about not much happening to an unlikeable sex crazed man It is very unclear whether the author is extoling the virtues of this man s life or criticising them to be honest it reads like he is doing neither and just reporting the tedious antics of this promiscuous man over one summer The attempts to contrast this with the diary of the el [...]

    21. Bob says:
      In a hilarious, though slightly improbable, conversation between the narrator and his six year old nephew, the latter, who apparently has been told that Uncle Will is homosexual without really understanding it, is looking at a photo album and asking questions, concluding I mean, almost everyone is homosexual, aren t they Boys, I mean The reply I sometimes think so sums up the spirit of this book in which continuous cruising and brief but torrid affairs are literally the sum total of the narrator [...]

    22. Davie Bennett says:
      Saw this mentioned numerous times on a famous gay people pick their favorite books blog post a few weeks ago I appreciated parts of Hollinghurst s The Line of Beauty, but just couldn t find much to connect with in the main character s life of British aristocratic privilege So I thought I would give this older work a try.Turns out it is one of those books about people having sex in public restrooms Are You Kidding Me This is one of the best gay novels ever written No, no, no The protagonist, Will [...]

    23. Scott says:
      I totally loved this book and I wish I could write prose as Hollinghurst His turn of phrase and excellent use of language is stellar.The story is interestingly told through the eyes of a thirtyish gay man in the prime of his life simply lounging, working out, and having sexual encounters of the various kind The plot dupes you into regarding the plot as non existent and that the book will tell the typical tale of a lounger, but the author starts dropping hints to an underlying secret.I love Willi [...]

    24. Colin says:
      I love Hollinghurst, but I guess I was expecting this book to be a little racier I know it was racy, but while going on a walking tour through Russell Square past the hotel where the narrator s lover works, I had a professor describe it as pornographic I ve read better worse But Hollinghurst s style is wonderful, and his story of pre AIDS London and the history of repression and entrapment in England is fantastic I m a little annoyed by all of the class issues between the narrator, his lovers, a [...]

    25. Claire Fuller says:
      Goodness, this didn t read like a debut So damn accomplished So rude I don t mind rude at all, just a warning to those who might Will was a character I loved to hate, sleeping around, but upset when his partners who he claims to be in love with do the same I kept hoping he would get his comeupppance, and he almost does, but not quite It s set in 1983, just before AIDS really took hold what a different world London must have been just a year or so later Aside from the extravagant amount of sex, i [...]

    26. Iva says:
      Issues of wealth, race, class and underground gay life in pre AIDS London permeate this first person novel, a perfect pick for Pride Week or any week, actually Hollinghurst s language is descriptive and transportive There is a diary of an officer in Sudan in the 1920 s juxtaposed with 80 s London s club and gym scene He does a heartbreaking prison scene He creates a sort of Harriet the Spy 6 year old nephew His characters are not to be forgotten Hollinghurst creates scenes of heartbreak and pass [...]

    27. Ilya says:
      This book really absorbed me How do I write this Hollinghurst has a way of getting into the subtleties of perception how the physical environment and the things people say, and the unconscious social messaging that is all around us combine He had that look of insincere good behaviour that people have when they are working on their own public relations As I came in the coppery clack of the shop bell had all heads turning Also, it is full of sex, very graphic sex A great read.

    28. Louise says:
      Didn t really get on with this one, the main character will was just too shallow, drifting from one cliche to the next four my likingIt took me a while to decide when it was set, maybe I missed a vital clue, but something about the time made me think much earlier, until there were referenced to televisions and such like.Possibly mildly interesting was the story of Nantwich, but not hugely so in fact by the end of the book I think I d stopped really taking in what was happening.

    29. Matthew Gallaway says:
      Alan Hollinghurst s riveting haunting beautiful Henry Jamesian depiction of 20th century gay London through the 80s is perfect Required reading for anyone interested in postwar nonheterosexual literary fiction.

    30. Leslie says:
      I read this in a buddy read with a couple of friends I found it vividly brought to my mind the 1980s and London s gay scene must have been quite similar to Los Angeles where I was at that time The graphic sex scenes were not offensive to me but there were lots and lots of them I think I can honestly say that all of us doing the buddy read felt that these scenes were our least favorite parts of the book Will comes across as emotionally immature or closed off As the book progresses, I began to fee [...]

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