The Line of Beauty

The Line of Beauty➾ [Download] ➾ The Line of Beauty By Alan Hollinghurst ➳ – 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 childre In the summer of twenty year old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens conservative Member The Line PDF/EPUB or 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 friendsRichly textured emotionally charged disarmingly comic this UK bestseller is a major work by one of our finest writers.

Alan Hollinghurst is an English novelist and winner of the Booker Prize for The Line of BeautyHe read English at Magdalen College Oxford graduating The Line PDF/EPUB or in ; and subseuently took the further degree of Master of Literature While at Oxford he shared a house with Andrew Motion and was awarded the Newdigate Prize for poetry in the year before MotionIn the late s he became a.

The Line of Beauty MOBI Ä The Line  PDF/EPUB or
  • Paperback
  • 438 pages
  • The Line of Beauty
  • Alan Hollinghurst
  • English
  • 21 July 2016
  • 9780739464465

10 thoughts on “The Line of Beauty

  1. Jessica says:

    I started this last night heading home after one of the most dreadful evenings in recent memorySo 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 an artificial flavor that's kind of alluringly disgusting I keep drinking this shit because I have to But it doesn't taste goodAnyway riding back home half drunk from a novelistically bad party I opened The Line of Beauty and started to read I'd put this on my to read list ages ago after pillaging a beloved professor's reviews and reviews by terrifyingly literate Eric of the drink and wide smirk have recently pushed Hollinghurst back into my mindThis man's writing is like cream you only get at the farm I am holding my mug underneath the cow's teat here I guess while Farmer Alan suirts this magical substance in It's like smooth white gold a dream mouthful delicious This coffee tastes fabulous I could drink it all dayMaybe that's a gross metaphor just wrong or too dumb And yeah I'm only fifty pages in but seriously he writes like a dream It's been awhile since I've started anything that felt this good Late last night finishing a cigarette on the fire escape inventorying the bitter dark stinking thing that's my life these days I tried to think of promising reasons to wake up in the morning to drink literal coffee and walk out the door And when I thought of reading of this novel I got really excited Because honestly it kind of doesn't matter if your life's watery burnt crap if you're reading something good enough you can usually get byI hope this book lives up to its promising opening But even if it doesn't I'm grateful for the feeling Sometimes you have a bad run when no books can engage you and you start to wonder what the point of reading is if it's anything than a banal time filling hobby Like is this any better than playing games on my cellphone? Am I not just killing time on my daily commute? I love being reminded that that's not it at all We read to save our mouths from burning we read to slow the ulcers We read because we have to because otherwise this cupful's just too rank to swallowOkay I'm done I have accomplished little this week besides reading this book I looked forward to commutes took the local train instead of the express; I waited for buses and elevators when I normally would've walked and showed up early at dinner dates so I'd have time first to readMy main impression while reading was an image of Alan Hollinghurst encountering The English Language one night on a stroll through the park I pictured him coaxing it into some unlit shrubbery and then gently but manfully bending The English Language over against an oak tree sort of holding it there unzipping his trousers and masterfully generously turning it gayGod these ENGLISH and their NOVELS How do they do it? A lot of sentences in here made me feel I should stop embarrassing myself and degrading the language by writing any sentences of my own Of course I used to say that about Ian McEwan but Hollinghurst can make McEwan sort of look like a hack Maybe McEwan should stop writing sentences too The only reason McEwan's famous must be because his TMI sex scenes tend not to be gay and a lot of people really are inexplicably freaked out by gay male sexNot this reader The sex in the opening and best section of the novel conveys the thrill of first love and being young and the figuring of that stuff out with a touching accuracy that many writers have shot for but few have so successfully nailed This is a book that would make E M Forster blush not just for being too graphic for his era's sensibility but because he might've wished he'd lived long enough to have written it To me this was about as good as a Forster novel which is HIGH PRAISE FRIEND I almost never say dumb stuff like that how embarrassing Actually I guess it's supposed to be Jamesian as the protagonist's a James scholarfanboy but it's been so long since I've read James and I've read so little that I really don't know if this was Jamesian or not I do think though that The Line of Beauty might've helped heal me from the ancient thwarting trauma of trying to read The Awkward Age in college so maybe I'll give the old guy another chanceAnyway where was I? What was I saying? Oh I was fawning and drooling all over this book and it was frankly pathetic Obviously not everyone would love this as much as I did It's a very straightforward novel set in Thatcher era England following the winkingly named Nick Guest a middle class gay aesthete who has insinuated himself though his friendship with an Oxford classmate into the very wealthy household of a Tory MP It takes place between the years 1983 and 1987 and follows Nick's relationship with the family his romances and sexual development his preoccupations with beauty and pleasure and some other stuff You know it's your fairly standard kind of thing I just thought it was spectacularly well written The plot developments and characters were predictable and I could see how one might argue they were cliched but somehow even this kind of worked for me and made it seem like an older novel in a good way I guess I could've done without all the drugs why do drugs follow me everywhere I go? I'll be reading the classiest most seemingly together book and all of a sudden the author pulls out a bag but I guess that's what I get for picking up a novel about rich people in the eightiesThere were a few things here I wasn't so crazy about For one thing while I must applaud Alan Hollingsworth's discovery of the adverb illusionlessly which truly is precious even priceless when used to describe a facial expression or tone of voice I wish someone had told him he could only use it once Maybe twice but not every thirty pages Alan Restrain yourself Please There were a couple things in here like that overuse of certain words and while on some I'll give him a who knows how rich people talk over there not me pass on some such as longing the language was so gorgeous and memorable and almost perfect to me that the exceptions glared out Isn't this what editors are for? To count freuency of use for your favorite pet words and make you cut down? I feel like you tend to see this problem in short story books; it's less forgivable in a novel Maybe I am missing some in joke about Henry James who used these particular words ceaselessly and I just don't get it Still Oh but I only complain because otherwise I'd melt There were sentences in here that made me cry As you may know I do cry easily but it's not usually just from sentences There were a few in here man whew Oh boyThe other potentially serious thing I took issue with here was towards the end when the book got all plotty and reached what I felt was an unnecessary and awkwardly clunky climax I like the kind of books I can only assume Hollinghurst also likes in large part because they don't ruin themselves with plots I'm obsessed lately with the idea that some compulsion to plot often prevents an author telling the real story I think that happened here somewhat The events felt distracting from what was really going on and just on the whole the that was happening the less masterfully it was handledNick Guest is really an incredible main character Reading this gave me the first faint interest in rereading Gatsby for the first time since high school because I feel like there's a joke there and I want to get it Isn't the main character in that Nick too? Anyway the way he makes this guy and the relationship I developed with him as the reader was just awesome in the older sense of the term I was awed by it really I'm embarrassed by this review I'm nervous about all this gushing because I don't want everyone to run out and get this and then be like What's your problem Jessica? Why the fuss psycho? I guess a lot of this just appealed to certain of my own sensibilities If for instance you are somehow not captivated by gay male sexuality Thatcherite England or novels about rich people you might not love this There You have been warned But seriously you're not into that stuff? Really? How can you not be? Maybe YOU'RE the one with the problem you ever think of that?Anyway I'm dawdling because I'm not that excited about going to bed right now I'm truly dreading tomorrow's commute to work for the first time this week Where can I go from this? Middlemarch? I think it might be time This is the first book that's really made me feel this way since the end of that affair with Proust all those many months ago and I just can't see a rebound now with some random library pickup I guess I'll have to try a classic and hope for the best High praise again truly a tough book to follow

  2. Fabian says:

    It makes me angry that I don't know much about US history modern US history 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 agosince it adds the reuisite magic to elevate them these modern classicsIt's about gay sex drugs the 1980's financial power The politics do take second stage with grace What's not to love? Insanely sexy and exuisitely old fashioned it has the clout of Henry James too it's somewhat difficult to read but that's why it's all the exuisite THE LINE OF BEAUTY has all the best of what American Bret Easton Ellis has to offer in the world of risue lit plus a distinguished intelligent language of its own a master's effortlessness with prose form I must say that politics aside the story is BRIDESHEAD REVISITED 20 What was never shown in that particular work of British manners bourgeois life is found nestled here Thank god for the Modern Age

  3. Agnieszka says:

    There are many models of beauty and as old saying goes beauty is in the eye of the beholder There is a classic definition of the line of beauty depicted by Hogarth in his work Analyse 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 backNovel starts in the summer 1983 when young Nick Guest moves into the house of his friend Toby Fedden This part breathes newness and freshness there is an expectation of love and an air of innocence though the way Nick loses his virginity is far from romanticism Second part brings sophisticated Nick fatigued in his pursuit of pleasure rather satiated than fulfilled with love but also a new romance with not so unexpected partner The final chapter is just overshadowed by death and sadness of recognitionI was captivated by that novel though neither the background political and social nor protagonists are my thing Alan Hollinghurst’s prose is exuisite sharp and ironic when depicts the Feddens their friends and relatives and the whole Tory related milieu But we can as well sense the spirit and the mood of EM Forster and Evelyn Waugh here The same story of a young man from the lower classes seduced by wealthy friends their beautiful houses impeccable manners falsehood and hypocrisy lurking behind the bright facade Though it is Henry James who provides patronage for whole story Henry James whom Nick adores and generously uotesNick Guest is not all lovable figure Hedonist admirer of beauty and connoisseur of art Strangely passive and unreflective with his mouth packed with platitudes on beauty and style Feddens’ eternal resident somehow inept to live on its own still loyal and attached to the family His attitude bespeaks some kind of emptiness and indolence emotional immaturity and his search for love and pleasure ends with desperate spasms in the fumes of alcohol and cocaine But towards the end when Nick makes an appearance of perfect scapegoat and in an air of scandal abandons the Feddens’ house just then embracing all spent there years foreboding years that were yet to come sensing in fact his absence only then has finally brief vision of clear beauty455

  4. Hugh says:

    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 apologiseThis story of Nick Guest a young man whose position as a lodger in the house of a Tory MP in Kensington puts him at the periphery of various powerful circles at the height of the Thatcher government in the 80s works on many different levels On the surface it is a study of these elites how they operate and how ruthlessly they ditch those who no longer serve them on another it is a gay coming of age story in which the shadow of AIDS inevitabily looms and a third is as a tribute to Henry James I was struck by a paragraph where Nick is trying to justify his vision of an artistic film of a James book The Spoils of Poynton to a rich but philistine potential backer who has just told him that the story kinda sucks 'Does it?' said Nick; and trying to be charming 'It's just like life though isn't it maybe too like life for a conventional movie It's about someone who loves things than people And who ends up with nothing of course I know it's bleak but then I think it's probably a very bleak book even though it's essentially a comedy Nick could eually be talking about the book in which he is the central character which does contain some brilliant satire but is ultimately rather tragic

  5. Paul says:

    35 stars rounded upBooker prize winner in 2004 Hollinghurst writes about the 1980s and particularly about Thatcher’s Britain and the onset of HIVAIDS 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 lodgerThe 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 It runs through the book via Henry James Nick is studying him at post grad level to cocaine; another beautiful line in the book and on to the concept of beauty in physical terms For Nick this is male beauty Against the glamour and the wealth is a political backdrop of the conservatives in power The shadow of Thatcher is never far away as Gerald works hard to ingratiate himself and gain political power Nick’s sexuality is also to the fore as we follow him through two relationships; with Leo who is black and working class and Wani who is very rich and Lebanese The spectre of AIDS gradually grows as the book goes on although it does not really affect the Fedden’s and their political circles nor the sections of the upper class they mix with It’s all beautifully written and Hollinghurst captures an aspect of the culture of the time very well Nick is an amiable narrator who seems to drift through the book without being too greatly affected by it all Inevitably comparisons have been made with other works I can see the similarities to Brideshead Revisited less so to Maurice The obvious comparison is to Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time series but it doesn’t have the scope and depth Powell gave to his series There was for me hollowness at the centre Nick is amiable but for me his character is summed up by an incident near the end of the book He goes into a bar and sees someone he had a relationship with earlier in the book This someone is gaunt very ill and dying of an AIDS related illness Nick avoids him and manages to leave without being seen He manages to drift through the lives of the Fedden’s and their circle with few moral ualms I do remember the 80s; I was living in the north of England mostly in working class and mining areas; the Tories and Thatcher were the enemy It was difficult to engage with any of the characters apart from Leo; but it does capture a place and time

  6. Helle says:

    Update The BBC World Book Club podcast with Alan Hollinghurst in which he talks about this novel is available now at and I make a brief appearance with a uestion about 42 minutes into the programme Just FYI Review below from October 2014I 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 Hollinghurst could produce nextThe story is centered round an upper middle class family in London whose son of the house Toby has a friend Nick stay over at the family’s posh Kensington home a situation that lasts longer than any of them had expected and which has conseuences for all During this same period Nick can no longer ignore his own homosexuality and begins a guilt ridden yet thrilling exploration of it As in The Swimming Pool Library and the Stranger’s Child there isn’t in my view much plot in The Line of Beauty It is largely composed of scenes and situations a satire of rich people and politicians as experienced by the protagonist Nick Guest who indeed feels like a guest in the privileged lives he witnesses but never uite belongs to The novel paints a picture of the 1980s and of Thatcher’s Britain as seen from the perspective of a young man who can’t uite find his feet or a sense of purpose in life and towards the end it also becomes a story about AIDS That said the story didn’t really get underway or become interesting to me until almost 300 pages into the book exactly the opposite of The Stranger’s Child where I loved the first few hundred pages and then not so much the rest Hollinghurst has the uncanny ability to turn even base human emotions into beautiful lyrical prose which time and again made me stop and wonder at his incredible skill But it isn’t just the words It is also his insight into human psychology his knowingness when it comes to human stupidity triumphs and pretensions his ability to observe and name every little tic gesture and hidden meaning which conversations in society are so full of Where Zadie Smith captures the characteristics of some of the conversations belonging to London’s NW Hollinghurst captures those of the privileged classes and these parts were amazing – a comedy of manners almostTo me this is some of the most beautiful English prose in contemporary English literature And yet at the same time there isn’t a single character that I really invested in Especially the main character felt rather anemic to me pathetic even in his strange insistence on politeness without integrity which of course sets off the shallowness of some of the other characters but still had the effect that there was no one to root for I’m still wondering what the intended effect was exactly Perhaps what I love most about his style is how it is the complete antithesis to the much praised Scandinavian minimalism that I feel surrounded by living in Denmark and for that alone I applaud him Hollinghurst is inspired by writers like Forster and James whose works were written a hundred years ago or and even if I was not exactly bowled over by his story there were times where I almost wanted to weep at the exuisiteness of his prose his lines of beauty 2 3 stars for the story 5 stars for the language leaving me a little above 35 So difficult to rate sometimes

  7. Pedro says:

    This wasn’t my introduction to Hollinghurst’s writing Some years ago I read his ultra boring but brilliantly well written tome “The Stranger’s Child” Because of that first reading experience my expectations were not exceptionally high for this one which we all know can only be a good thing And it was a good thing indeed I finished this book feeling totally smashed by the power and beauty of Hollinghurst’s writing skills I’m not going to go round and round in circles with this review trying to convince you to read this I know I don’t have the words in me to do this book justice I just don’t And perhaps no one does The writing the characters the stunning imagery the eighties sex love money power betrayal loss and hope Yes there’s definitely a line of beauty running through these pages and beauty is not something that can be described it has to be experienced A strong four star read all along boosted up to five stars because of that unforgettable ending Stunning I don’t usually wear a hat but if I did I’d definitely take it off to you Mr Hollinghurst

  8. Peter Boyle says:

    The Line of Beauty beat Cloud Atlas to win the 2004 Booker Prize If it was deemed a deserving recipient than David Mitchell's magnum opus I thought to myself it must be worth reading And it is very good indeedThe story begins in 1983 Our protagonist Nick Guest moves into the Notting Hill home of Gerald Fedden MP having befriended his son Toby at Oxford He is given the job of keeping on eye on Catherine Toby's unstable sister and uickly becomes a member of the family Coming from a much humbler background Nick is thrilled at his induction to high society attending lavish parties and holidaying with the Feddens at their French manoir He also indulges in London's gay scene losing his virginity to a Jamaican council worker and lusting after Wani Ouradi a wealthy Lebanese associate As the decade moves on Nick's fortunes become entwined with that of the Feddens and there is a nagging feeling that there may be a price to pay for this life of decadence and debaucheryI loved the book's portrayal of British life in 80s The Conservative Party dominated the political landscape and MPs like Gerald Fedden must have believed that the good times would never end The materialism and greed that characterized this decade is depicted brilliantly in the story Men like Gerald can only fail upwards while his peers vie for titles and the approval of the Lady as Thatcher is commonly referred to For Nick's generation life is about the pursuit of pleasure sex and drugs are his own particular vicesI also found the novel's depiction of the gay scene uite fascinating Homosexuality was still uite a taboo subject back then Nick begins his journey through an innocent lonely hearts column As he grows confident he freuents bath houses and gay bars and by the end he knows which public toilets will serve to satisfy his sexual appetite He conducts a secret relationship with his crush Wani who is engaged to a woman It's all very hush hush for Wani there is still a sense of shame and guilt attached to being gay And of course the dark shadow of AIDS eventually touches their livesIf I have a small complaint it's about the amount of drugs and sex in the book it just becomes a little wearisome after a while But there is still so much to enjoy here The intelligence and wit of Hollinghurst's writing is a pleasure to behold A dazzling and sharply observed ode to the decade of excess

  9. Kimberly says:

    Be Forewarned This well written society critiue 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 antiues Talk about a nicheIt 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 resigned to watching the full catalog of international TV comedies Hum Paanch anyone? on Singapore Airline's TV on demand Thanks a lot Man Booker Prize committee

  10. K.D. Absolutely says:

    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 that little novel that I have started writing after attending a novel writing workshop three months ago Line of Beauty is a 2004 Booker Prize winning novel by Alan Hollinghurst It is about gay men most of them rich in Thatcherite Britain in the early to mid 80’s It is the first gay themed book that won the Booker Based on Wiki the composition of the panel of judges changes every year so maybe its members were predominantly gays during that year since 2 the other was Colm Toibin’s The Master of the 6 finalist books are gay themed and this one won over the stylist – and my favorite – David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas Prior to reading “Beauty” I already read “Cloud” and “The Master” and both gave them 4 stars I liked the brilliant structure of “Cloud” and the ethereal prose of “The Master” and they did not prepare me to the fact that there is still a better book than them and that is this Hollinghurst book I agree with the Booker jurors Line of Beauty is taut and cohesive It is neither pretentious nor self serving It tells the story flawlessly like there is no story worth telling than those of the characters in it The plot is focused crystal clear in sharpness that it is illuminating and mesmerizing It tells the story of Nick Guest a 21 yo virgin gay who just graduated from Oxford and is currently working on his analysis of Henry James works for his masteral degree Interestingly Toibin’s finalist book “The Master” is the retelling of the early part of Henry James’ life Nick is invited by his fellow Oxford graduate and secret crush a straight man Toby to stay in the attic of their beautiful London upper class house Toby still lives with the rest of the Feddens his father Gerald mother Rachel and his bi polar sister Catherine What follows is the 4 5 year awakening of Nick from the naïve and almost clueless Oxford graduate to somebody who’s aware of what’s going on in his surroundings He ends up looking at the stark realities of London’s life in the 80s being gay and relatively poor amidst the highly materialistic and generally homophobic London upper class society All these punctuated by the emerging threat of AIDS that spread like wildfire in the 80’s in all countries and levels of societyIt will be outright dishonesty if I say that I really liked this book because of its gay theme The homosexual acts are just too much for my taste However I am not familiar with the sex lives of gay people and I don’t have any idea how freuent an average gay man gets laid or needs to get laid for him to have a sexually fulfilling life I am not sure if Hollinghurst only wants to project an honest to goodness portrayal of the lives of gay men in the London in the 80’s but the language he used in this novel could be too much for some readers It was a bit shocking for me considering that this is a Booker winner However if you look over this supposedly “honest” language and portrayal and focus on the prose theme plot and character development you will see the beauty in the novel as a whole I am just not sure about the metaphor of the double “S” being the so called “line of beauty” since I have not seen – not that I am looking – a man with that curve all my lifeThanks to Angus for being my buddy read for this book You rock Eng ghez

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