A literary sensation and bestseller in both England and America, The Swimming-Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of gay life before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with total impunity. “Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything” (Harpers & Queen), it focuses on the friendship of two men: William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, an old Africa hand, searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.
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Alan Hollinghurst was born in 1954. He is the author of one of the most highly praised first novels to appear in the 1980s, The Swimming-Pool Library (1988), and was selected as one of the Best Young British Novelists 1993. His second novel, The Folding Star, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize. He has since written The Spell and The Line of Beauty, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2004. He was on the staff of the Times Literary Supplement from 1982 to 1995.From Publishers Weekly:
On entering a London public lavatory in blithe pursuit of quick, anonymous sex, beautiful and roguish young aristocrat William Beckwith isconfronted instead with an ancient, doddering member of the British House of Lords who, after muttering an incoherent string of polite non sequiturs, promptly keels over at his feet in embarrassed but undeniable coronary arrest. After saving the old man's life, Will is invited to tea by the grateful and slightly senile Lord Nantwich, who, surprised by Will's impressive lineage and appalled at his state of idle unemployment, engages the young man to write the Nantwich life story. Thus begins the unusual relationship that forms the core of this funny, sad and beautifully written novel. The Swimming Pool Library weaves a rich and fascinating tapestry of Britain's gay subculture spanning pre-World War I through the sexually abandoned early '80s, stopping short at the doorstep of AIDS. Hollinghurst's prose is fresh, witty and wise, and his ever-surprising, sinuously unfurling story is told with insouciant grace and unabashed sexuality. BOMC and QPBC alternates. (September) .
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