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The Swimming-Pool Library (Vintage International) Kindle Edition
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“A buoyant, smart, irrepressibly sexy book . . . that has the heft and resonance of a classic modernist novel, the sprawl and surprise of an intimate memoir.” —The Village Voice Literary Supplement
“I can think of no other book that is at once so literary and so highly sexed, with the exception of Lolita and Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers.” —Edmund White
“The Swimming-Pool Library beautifully welds the standard conventions of fiction to a tale of modern transgressions. It tells of impurities with shimmering elegance, of complexities with a camp-fired wit and of truths with a fiction’s solid grace.” —The New York Times Book Review
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- Publication date : September 21, 2011
- File size : 2089 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 351 pages
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B005KDE59Y
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (September 21, 2011)
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #362,684 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I first read Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty several years ago and immediately found myself admiring the quality of his writing and storytelling. I find that I enjoyed The Swimming-Pool Library at least as much, if not more. My familiarity with the world portrayed in both novels, and of the wonderful characters inhabiting this world only enhances my appreciation for his work: reading his books gives me a genuine sense of a place and time when I was, for better and for worse, a lot like the young men he writes about. I highly recommend The Swimming-Pool Library as a precursor to The Line of Beauty, both of which are among my favorite works of modern fiction.
The plot is like having cocktail snacks: nothing sustains, nothing much stays with the reader. Everyone is too-too, and virtually all of them are interchangeable and, ultimately, forgettable. The dialog and often descriptive passages are arch and snobbish in tone; the speaker (and the writer?) seem to suffer from terminal ennui.
Why Hollinghurst has garnered the praise he has is a mystery even deeper than the central mystery of "The Swimming-Pool Library" that, when revealed, turns out to be of interest to shallow Will and his even shallower acquaintances and "friends." If your taste is for canapes and mixed nuts at cocktail time, you may enjoy this book. If you're a more serious reader, turn your attention elsewhere.
Nor is it enough to say that it is well-written. It is also beautifully composed, something that goes much deeper and is much more complex than mere "good" writing. For several chapters, the book may seem episodic and rather pointless, but then, almost subconsciously, the reader starts to sense the heave of a theme, the faint strain of a story, like the weaving of beautiful music. And then you're caught and swept along . . . .
I won't belabor plot details and character analyses. There have been plenty of other reviews covering those points. What struck me was that after it was all over, it wasn't all over. I've been haunted for days by possibilities of interpretation that only re-reading might help to clear up. Just how trustworthy was our narrator, after all? Just how "nice" was Lord Nantwich, after all? How much of what happened to Will was contrived far in advance? Questions about the ultimate meanings of certain events and about the real emotional impact of events last long after the final page. It's a living, pulsing piece of music. It's a wonderful work of art.
Top reviews from other countries
I'm glad I read this book and I'm not even gay !
NEVER have I read a book in which EVERYONE is a) male , b) homosexual and c) constantly horny THE (W)HOLE TIME
reading someone else's sexual fantasies is usually TOTALLY boring
I almost never get to the end of straight erotica
but I managed to get to the end of this because between all the bonking there's an interesting story about changing attitudes ( to homosexuality , obviously ) + neat , original observations about London life + one or two rather colourful characters .
Martin Amis he ain't but its totally fascinating to hear from men who have no interest at all in women
for us , that's just weird !
or to be more politically correct : far out , man !
From the start I struggled to engage with the main character. He is different to me but that shouldn't matter. An author should always try to connect with any reader and, here, it seems that the author is using shock tactics to alienate the reader.
There was a lot of sex but it is appropriate in the setting of the plot and the characters.
The book has beautiful language but there is too much of the laborious process in the author's writing. The problem is that it is boring which is difficult to do with such a rich topic. The narrative needed more pace to keep readers interested.
It was an interesting reflection on the background of the 1980’s with its comparatively liberal freedoms in comparison to the fears and aprehension of the pre and post war eras of one of the main characters.
Interesting to read in this modern era and serves as a timely reminder of just how hard times were for the protagonists and how (viewed within our contemporary experience) they accepted the very little relaxation on attitudes even during the 1980s.
At times very lovely and also starkly scary reminder of past attitudes