The Line of Beauty has ratings and reviews. Jessica said: I started this last night, heading home after one of the most dreadful evenings in. Alfred Hickling on sex and snorting in Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty. Everyone who has read The Line of Beauty will recall the party at which the young protagonist, Nick Guest, dances with Mrs Thatcher. Before.
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What has happened in the three-year gap in the narrative? One member of the audience who thought that The Line of Beauty “captures the spirit of the 80s” thought that, in order to relish the novel, “it helps to be a Londoner”.
The author lne that this was the one Evelyn Waugh novel that he did not much like, and that he slightly resented being “saddled with Brideshead ” — and yet he admitted that there was something in the parallel.
Gay literature Historical novel. This story of Nick Guest Sometimes one has to admit that one’s preconceptions about a book are entirely wrong. View all 8 comments. This was a thought-provoking, haunting hollinghufst that has stayed with me quite lucidly since I finished it.
In contrast, other characters describe lines of cocaine as “beautiful”. I enjoyed it well enough. The characters here are delicately drawn, never rendered without colour and shade, and Nick himself shares his creator’s insight and empathy for others. In the gap between paragraphs, Nick has hoplinghurst sex.
The other, potentially more 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. Because adapting to understand any minority is inconvenient.
Between the lines
Forster and Evelyn Waugh here. I guess I could’ve done without all the drugs — why do drugs follow me everywhere I go?
Nick’s conventional middle-class parents are worried by their son’s connection to such a powerful family, and try to discourage it. To count frequency of use for your favorite pet words, and make you cut down? So difficult to rate sometimes… Maybe McEwan should stop writing sentences too!
With characteristic pretension, Nick takes the company name, Ogee, from the sinuous double curve cited by Hogarth as the “line of beauty”, lime Nick’s favoured example of the form in nature is bollinghurst point at which a man’s lower back cleaves to his bottom.
Nick is besotted with beauty. Nick is moving his few possessions out of the Feddens’ house; in the afternoon he is to have an HIV test: This element of the novel provides a solemn filter for the rather frivolous happenings of the Feddens, and as we move closer to the climax, the juxtaposition of the privileged life and the bias towards the gay community, the narration takes on a more serious tone.
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
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. Or had trouble caring about the Feddens except Catherineand I didn’t give a damn about their troubles. I am the only one who is judging my DNF.
He can’t shake the sense that he’s only playacting, that his ambiguous status in the Feddens’ house and in his lover’s life is symptomatic of some deeper failure to be an adult. His ability to portray his characters, as one critic puts it, “from just an inch to the left” of how they would see themselves is masterly, and the result is something like the portraits of Goya, a flattering likeness with just a hint of satire.
It dealt with one of my favourite themes — homosexuality — in an honest and welcoming manner with minimum nostalgia. But the phrase also stands for that fatal line of attraction that leads from one love object to another, or towards some ideal of the beautiful life, that comes crashing down on the characters’ heads at the end of this social comedy which turns out to have been a tragedy after all.
I keep drinking this shit because I have to.
The Line of Beauty: A Novel: Alan Hollinghurst: Bloomsbury USA
Aug 31, Shanley rated it did not like it. We should be able to do what we want to do.
There is little interrogation. Before the event begins, as caterers fuss and tension mounts in the Notting Hill home of Tory MP Gerald Fedden where Nick is a lodger, he slips out “for a walk”. DNF at about pg Very much an outsider, Nick muses and contemplates his moves within the beautg unit as he inches closer to them all, however linee quite achieves the intimacy he so greatly lusts after in this wealthy family.
And for once, the wider political context is embraced rather than ignored – not only is Mrs Thatcher a pervasive influence throughout, she even puts holllinghurst a personal appearance. Although Nick is portrayed as an outsider to the family, I felt like an outsider to the whole world the book described; there was no character to provide the ‘voice of the reader’ and I really felt the story needed one. I had deep sympathy for this soul, and felt a mixture of admiration and disapproval!
The book explores the tension between Nick’s intimate relationship with the Fedden family, in whose parties and holidays he participates, and the realities of his sexuality and gay life, which the Feddens accept only to the extent of never mentioning it. Several readers asked him whether he had felt that the mainstream success of the novel was, however, a breakthrough on behalf of a community. Leo also introduces Nick to Pete, his middle-aged former lover who runs an antiques shop, like Nick’s father, and who is sickly.
Considering AIDS, the boom in cocaine use, and parlimentary scandal, this is nonetheless much more than mere social documentation. Ultimately, this becomes essential to the plot, but for a long time it seems merely an authorial device.