Sunday, September 7, 2008

Laura's Review - The Line of Beauty (DNF)

The Line of Beauty
Alan Hollinghurst

Nick Guest is a 21-year-old, gay Oxford graduate in Thatcher's England of 1983. He is temporarily living in the home of his friend Toby, whose father Gerald is a wealthy, conservative Member of Parliament. The story -- at least the first part of it -- deals primarily with Nick's early explorations of his sexual identity, as he experiences his first intimate homosexual relationship with a man named Leo. The book also explores wealth and classism, with Nick as a voyeur into Toby's class of wealthy socialites and Leo's working-class family.

Alas, having read through Part I with only mild interest, I just didn't feel like carrying on with this book. None of the characters were particularly likeable. And, although this book was published fairly recently (2004), it seemed as if the "gay story" were meant to either shock or titillate the reader instead of exploring the very real emotional issues that are dealt with in the process of self-discovery and coming out.
My original review can be found here.


  1. I agree - this book was disappointingly dull!

  2. I don't agree. I thought this was a mature and powerful book. Many books nowadays almost seem like children's books written for adults (and some are!).
    I liked the fact that the plot was subtle and grew over many pages. It had a gay protagonist but the novel wasn't about being gay. I agree that none of the characters were particularly likeable but I found them more real for that. In fact I found the whole book very convincing, unlike many more contrived novels I've read recently.

  3. Thanks for sharing your points of view. It's interesting how the same book can generate such different reactions, isn't it?