Editions. The Swimming-Pool Library . Alan Hollinghurst · Paperback · Ebook. View more editions. Buy from Buy from – arrow icon. Buy The Swimming-Pool Library (Vintage Classics) by Alan Hollinghurst (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free. The Swimming-Pool Library [Alan Hollinghurst, Samuel West] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A literary sensation and bestseller in both.

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Push aside the sex and what you have is a novel about numerous versions of England multiples pasts and multiples presents uneasily coexisting. In fairness to the author, the book’s title strongly suggests that this is supposed to be a not entirely flattering portrayal of the superficiality of a certain type of urban, physical beauty-obsessed gay scene. I guess there were things I didn’t understand and didn’t share hollingjurst him.

Hollinghurst’s large flat, spread over three floors, overlooks the southern edge of Hampstead Heath. Masc4masc, no fats, femmes or Gollinghurst, DDF, you be the same. Jul 15, Mel Bossa rated it it was ok Shelves: Maybe he hasn’t, maybe that was the point, but it still fell very flat to me.

Views Read Edit View history. Will, the main character, is filthy rich and a hopeless whore. We are asked to identify with the philanderer. At librrary Corry, Will is attracted to Phil, a young bodybuilder.

The Swimming-Pool Library

I ask Hollinghurst if immense societal and political change, whether legislative or technological, poses a problem to a writer whose subject has been what happens to desire when it is forced to express itself in covert fashion.

Writing about sex tends to go wrong in one of two related ways. Hollinghurst does the odd book review and literary essay, but he doesn’t do punditry. Both by me, as a reader, but also by the characters in the book.

To avoid death duties, that grandfather has already settled most of his estate on Will, who therefore has substantial private means and no need awimming work.


I don’t know what to say about that except that it is so completely dated. Not tbe my thing perhaps. He is the grandson and heir of Viscount Beckwith, an elder statesman and a recent peer. I ring the bell with trepidation. From there, he went to Canford public school in Dorset, also as a boarder, and it proved an artistic awakening. Described by some as an elegy to the pre AIDS homosexual world, this was a tale without a single likeable character, with no human bases I could touch down with whatsoever.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books. Charles becomes aware that he is strongly attracted to swwimming men when he is openly propositioned by an American soldier. Refresh and try again. Hollinghurst does indeed look tweedy and staid in the hollingjurst photograph that accompanies his article in the Canfordian. View all 10 comments. Possibly the worst yet. Just such a town is the setting for one section of The Hoplinghurst Child; there is even a bank and a bank manager, who is married to Daphne’s daughter and has been psychologically damaged by the second world war.

And I rather beat myself up about this, before facing up to the fact that actually I was writing a and-something page book and just have to live with it. Charles has sex with one of them; a young man who feels insecure about his comparatively modest background and slan inexperience.

Will and his boyfriend at the time, Phil both are in the clubare assumed to be on alqn prowl for some “brown,” as one of Will’s former flames refers to the “white hunger” of the time.

That double sense of being an outsider, wanting to penetrate a world, but also having a sort of self-reliance that I think only children have. I ask whether there is anything of his own father in that portrait. I suppose I swimjing more energy then. Will is deeply sexual and physically very attractive.


In The Line of Beautythough, he did set himself the Jamesian task of writing in the third person, entirely from the viewpoint of one character, the symbolically named interloper Nick Guest. I knocked off a star because there were moments where I found some of the characters too one dimensional and cartoonish certainly a Dickensian inspiration there. Charles gives Will a beautiful edition of one of Firbank’s novels as a gift.

One of the ideas of the book is about the unknowability or uncategorisability of human behaviour, and I was rather tempted into those ambiguous sexual areas. It was also exciting to read a book that was very unashamed of its homoeroticism. Whilst cruising a young man lool a London park, Will enters a public toilet to find a group of older men cottaging. Published September 19th by Vintage first published February 22nd He discovers Arthur, who has been working for his brother Harold, in the bathroom and attempts to have sex with him.

The Swimming-Pool Library – Wikipedia

It was really, really difficult to move from these kind, imperfect characters to William Beckwith. Staines reveals that Charles’s brother was homosexually insatiable, exploited his servants and was subsequently beaten to death and that Charles’s uncle was likewise into rough trade.

I’ve given this book to two gay friends to read. The reader is forced to look critically on Will as an Oxford graduate and as the grandson of a Peer of the British Empire.

James became his art; forswore life to write perfect fictions. The writing, as I mentioned in my Rabbit Is Rich blurb, has a casual elegant brilliance that quite transcends the subject, though as portrait of gay life, it rivals Andrew Holleran’s Dancer From The Dance for entertainment value and no, Larry Kramer’s Faggots is not plol as good.