Alan Hollinghurst’s tour-de-force debut, The Swimming-Pool Library, was a literary sensation. Edmund White called it “the best book on gay life yet written by an English author.” The Village Voice described it as “buoyant, smart, irrepressibly sexy…[with the] heft and resonance of a classic modernist novel.” The New York Times Book Review raved about its “shimmering elegance” and “camp-fired wit.” The New York Review of Books dubbed his second book, The Folding Star, a “miniature Remembrance of Things Past…an expanded Death in Venice…a homosexual Lolita.” The Spell is Hollinghurst’s most polished and entertaining novel to date. Here he marries Jane Austen’s delicious social asperity with a sly eroticism in a story as romantic and surprising as anything he has written. Set in London and the idyllic countryside, the narrative tracks the interlocking passions of four men. As each character falls successively under the spell of love or drugs, country living or urban glamour, The Spell unfurls into a richly witty picture of modern gay life…and of all human affairs of the heart.
A New York Times Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A Book Sense National Bestseller
A Northern California Bestseller
A Sunday Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
And chosen as one of the best books of 2004 by:
Entertainment Weekly • Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle • Newsday • Seattle Times • Salon.com • Boston Globe • New York Sun • Miami Herald • Dallas Morning News • San Jose Mercury News • Publishers Weekly
"In this saga about the Thatcher years Alan Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire from within, just as Proust did. Hollinghurst is never mocking or caricatural but subtly observant and completely participant. He writes the best prose we have today. He brings the eloquence of a George Eliot together with the sexiness and visual acuity of a Nabokov."-Edmund White
"An affecting work of art."-Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Hollinghurst's prose is a genuine achievement-lavish, poised, sinuously alert… The Line of Beauty is an ample and sophisticated delight, charged with hundreds of delicate impressions and insights, and scores of vital and lovely sentences. It is at once domestic and political, psychological and historical. It is funny, moving, and finally despairing."-New Republic
"His finest novel to date."-Geoff Dyer
"Line for line, Hollinghurst's novel about London during the 1980s is the most exquisitely written book I've read in years. Witty observations about politics, society, and family open like little revelations on every page."-Christian Science Monitor
"A rueful, snapshot-accurate portrait of this era."-Seattle Times
"An intoxicating read…each sentence in this book rings as perfect and true as a Schubert sonata."-Hartford Courant
"[A] masterpiece with a skillfully rendered social panorama, a Proustian alertness to social nuance and a stylistic precision that recalls [James]."-Newsday
"The Line of Beauty is itself a thing of beauty-an elegant and seductive novel…readers will hang on every bracing word. The Line of Beauty may perhaps be the author's most mature and accomplished work to date. It might also be his best."-Philadelphia City Paper
"A deliciously snarky portrait of Thatcherite Britain, but Hollinghurst also makes you believe in his characters, and nobody produced better prose this year."-San Jose Mercury News
Alan Hollinghurst's first novel in seven years is a magnificent, century-spanning saga about a love triangle that spawns a myth – and a family mystery – across generations.
In 1913, George Sawle brings charming, handsome Cecil Valance to his family's modest home outside London for a summer weekend. George is enthralled by his Cambridge schoolmate, and soon his sixteen-year-old sister, Daphne, is equally besotted by both Cecil and the stories he tells about Corley Court, the country estate he is heir to. But what Cecil writes in Daphne's autograph album will change their and their families' lives forever: a poem that, after Cecil is killed in the Great War and his reputation burnished, will be recited by every schoolchild in England. Over time, a tragic love story is spun, even as other secrets lie buried – until, decades later, an ambitious biographer threatens to unearth them.
Rich with the author's signature gifts – haunting sensuality, wicked humor, and exquisite lyricism – The Stranger's Child is a tour de force: a masterly novel about the lingering power of desire, and about how the heart creates its own history.