The Swimming-Pool Library

The Swimming Pool Library A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS an elegy possessed of chi

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  • Title: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • Author: Alan Hollinghurst
  • ISBN: 9780394570259
  • Page: 462
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything Harpers QA literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with 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.From the Trade Paperback edition.

    One thought on “The Swimming-Pool Library”

    1. i'll start off with a blanket statement: many novels of the Gay Fiction subgenre will fall within two categories. 1. Coming of Age Talesin which the protagonist struggles to come out, often against his unsympathetic surroundings. often tender; occasionally mawkish.2. a category that i like to call Gay World Novels in which, oh, everyone is pretty much gay. fine. dream on, gays, dream on. if you can't live itdream it!to me, the self-relegation of most gay novels between these two categories can b [...]

    2. A wonderful romp around London-town, arguably the gayest city in all of Europe! The novel is exquisite, very smartly titled (Swimming-pool implies the superficial aspect of the gay scene, Library implies all that is intelligent and witty: the book is a merger of these both). It's at once overly-sensual & incredibly literary.“The Line of Beauty” seems to be the culmination of Alan Hollinghurst’s steamy/cranial poetics… this then is barely but a stepping stone toward that epic saga (th [...]

    3. This book is tricksily misleading on a number of fronts. It has been described as deeply thrilling and darkly erotic. I think I might have missed something then. at first appearance it's a breezy but self obsessed commentary by flirtatious man about town, William Beckwith; young, moneyed, unscrupulous, charming and gay. The narrative is archly upper class with frequent references to private mens clubs such as the Corinthian and the Athenaeum. The characters are foppish and callow, self serving a [...]

    4. The plot was only intermittently absorbing, but the narrator's tones are utterly addictive. I can't get enough of Hollingburst's style. It can delicately register so many things--shades of emotion, nuances of intellection, as well as symphonies of physical movement, as in the suburban boxing tournament--but never sounds fussy or over-elaborate; very solid and quick, a model for anyone. I wasn't sure if the rather stark contrast between the rich emotion of Lord Nantwich's old diaries and the seni [...]

    5. This book is extremely good written. Very erotic and very gay-ish. It could have had 50 pages less or 100 pages more, it wouldn't have had any influence on the storyline.(What a storyline?!)It doesn't have a typical beginning, culminating and ending.Here the journey itself is a destination. It is for sure a book I'd like to re-read some day and invest more time in it.

    6. Este que foi o seu primeiro romance publicado valeu a Alan Hollinghurst o prémio Somerset Maugham em 1989. À semelhança de A Linha da Beleza, não se trata de um romance para o qual antevemos à partida um final bombástico, na verdade, obriga o leitor a adquirir um ritmo mais lento, pelos capítulos demasiado longos e demora dos acontecimentos. Mais um vez, senti o autor abandonar partes do enredo e personagens que me pareciam mais interessantes do que aqueles que ele preferiu desenvolver. W [...]

    7. I need to stop doing this thing of, when I'm completely taken with a novel by a writer I've never read before, running out and instantly reading something else by that writer. It's just too much pressure, and I always wind up all pissed-off and disappointed. This has recently happened with Patrick Hamilton, Martin Amis, and now, Alan Hollinghurst – is there something about these Brits that they don’t make good second dates? When I read The Line of Beauty I loved it so much I was sick. Natura [...]

    8. I found Hollinghurst's novel to be very enthralling and wonderfully erotic. It's such a fantastic exploration of what it was like to be a part of the gay community in the early 1980s, before AIDS altered the community and its image forever.From my perspective, very recently influenced by some serious thought about the West Indian community in London, The Swimming-Pool Library struck me as a fascinating perspective: how did the majority view the other, especially an other that was as highly sexua [...]

    9. You never stop learning a language, which is why I buy two unabridged English novels from Audible every month and listen to them with as much concentration as I can muster. Style is very important. I don't like to listen to bad style. So I choose very carefully what I listen to. Those books become like voices in my head. I absorb every cadence. I internalise, verbalise and repeat.Finally I have found time for Alan Hollinghurst. He's been on my list for a long time because everybody in the litera [...]

    10. This book was brilliantly written. I loved the snarky, literary writing style. I wasn't attached to any of the characters but the story itself held my attention very closely. Hollinghurst covers a plethora of themes such as homophobia, while comparing homosexuality before and after the gay liberation movement. Will, the main character, is filthy rich and a hopeless whore. He's extremely attractive and doesn't have to work. A big part of this book covers a diary that Will is reading and those eve [...]

    11. Great writing but it felt a bit half-baked at times. Was he trying to touch every base in post-Wilde gay fiction? Does this explain why the story was a little odd at times?The last chapters brought us to a rather strange place: a "secret" interesting enough to shock a very selfish and generally disinterested young man but not damaging enough for anyone to work very hard to keep and, crucially, not so interesting that any of the young man's friends or family had sought to tell him. That's a funny [...]

    12. I feel like I have nothing to say about this book. Nonetheless I'm going to write a review, because this is what I do. You have been warned.It took an incredibly long time to get started, during which time I struggled with every page, trying desperately to identify with anyone at all and not get too annoyed with the prose style, which was effortlessly elegant and rich, but also plummy and even a little camp in a rather awfully upper-class too-British way. My reaction to the world of over-monied, [...]

    13. I read this book because it's on a lot of "Best Gay Novel" lists. At first I thought it made the lists because there's a ton of sex in it. Maybe that's part of it.I ended up feeling like Will Beckwith was a very thought-provoking character. Will has no occupation and no responsibilities. He's rich, young, extremely attractive and overwhelmingly motivated by sex. It's pretty much the only driving force in his life. Consequently, the world through Will's eyes is not just AIDS-free, it's womanless [...]

    14. Given the number of sex scenes that Alan Hollinghurst crams into his books (approximately one every other page) you'd think it would be more enjoyable for him as well as the reader to inject a bit of variation. In fact they all follow broadly the same template: lingering description of a younger man's abs/chest/arse; comparative analysis of cock size and appearance; followed by a rough penetration in which the narcissistic central character is invariably in the "active" role. Sometimes if he's f [...]

    15. I read up until he tries picking up the sixteen year old hustler and because the young man asks him for money, Will dreams of pissing on him or violently taking him by force etc etc. Look, I'm no prude. I've read graphic books and loved them. But this one bores me to death. There's no dept. No plot. No real characters to hang on to. Last thing: Will's narration and Charles's letters are written in the same voice. The book would have been more fun if in the end we find out that Will is actually i [...]

    16. This has been highly praised as being one of the best British books about gay life.Not knowing a hell of a lot about gay life or the gay community (in Britain or anywhere else) or British fiction, I feel this is something I can't really comment on. But as someone outside of this community and - I feel it's safe to say - that type of life (I don't have that much sex or that much money (and I'm not as sociable)), it was a great look into what goes on in a world I don't frequent; how things work an [...]

    17. This is the longest its taken me to read a book in years. Years. This had nothing to do with Hollinghurst's writing (which, it should be obvious by now, I love) and everything to do with the narrator. I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which is rich, grandiose, sad, and humanistic, and launched straight into this, which isry well-written and well-observed. It was really, really difficult to move from these kind, imperfect characters to William Beckwith. Pretty much any oth [...]

    18. What a steaming pile of turd. I thought the Line Of Beauty was rubbish, but at least there was darkness hiding amongst the explicit sex. The Swimming Pool Library has nothing of the sort. 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. Perhaps it's because there isn't a single woman in this book. Perhaps it's because the main character is one of those awful dying breeds of [...]

    19. this is said to be hollinghurst's first novel, completed at about the age of 33it is clear he pays homage to (or how I say "name-dropping") his inspirations of Firbank and E.M.Forster throughout, his major interest while studying English in schoolin an elevator summary, TS-PL opens with the protagonist, Will Beckwith, coming to the aid of an elder gay man, who in turn is a lord with a complex link to his family Lord Nantwich asks Will to write his personal memoir, and slowly more a more of the c [...]

    20. A semi-interesting story in parts, but ultimately it boils down to the vanity and shallow life of a gay man, William Beckwith, living in 1980s Britain. It's a book about not much happening to an unlikeable sex-crazed man. It is very unclear whether the author is extoling the virtues of this man's life or criticising them; to be honest it reads like he is doing neither and just reporting the tedious antics of this promiscuous man over one summer. The attempts to contrast this with the diary of th [...]

    21. In a hilarious, though slightly improbable, conversation between the narrator and his six-year-old nephew, the latter, who apparently has been told that Uncle Will is homosexual without really understanding it, is looking at a photo album and asking questions, concluding "I mean, almost everyone is homosexual, aren't they? Boys, I mean." The reply "I sometimes think so" sums up the spirit of this book in which continuous cruising and brief but torrid affairs are literally the sum total of the na [...]

    22. Saw this mentioned numerous times on a famous-gay-people-pick-their-favorite-books blog post a few weeks ago. I appreciated parts of Hollinghurst's "The Line of Beauty," but just couldn't find much to connect with in the main character's life of British aristocratic privilege. So I thought I would give this older work a try.Turns out it is one of those books about people having sex in public restrooms. Are. You. Kidding. Me. ?. This is one of the best gay novels ever written? No, no, no. The pro [...]

    23. I totally loved this book and I wish I could write prose as Hollinghurst. His turn of phrase and excellent use of language is stellar.The story is interestingly told through the eyes of a thirtyish gay man in the prime of his life simply lounging, working out, and having sexual encounters of the various kind. The plot dupes you into regarding the plot as non-existent and that the book will tell the typical tale of a lounger, but the author starts dropping hints to an underlying secret.I love Wil [...]

    24. I love Hollinghurst, but I guess I was expecting this book to be a little racier. I know it was racy, but while going on a walking tour through Russell Square past the hotel where the narrator's lover works, I had a professor describe it as "pornographic." I've read better / worse. But Hollinghurst's style is wonderful, and his story of pre-AIDS London and the history of repression and entrapment in England is fantastic. I'm a little annoyed by all of the class issues between the narrator, his l [...]

    25. Goodness, this didn't read like a debut. So damn accomplished. So rude. (I don't mind rude at all, just a warning to those who might.) Will was a character I loved to hate, sleeping around, but upset when his partners (who he claims to be in love with) do the same. I kept hoping he would get his comeupppance, and he almost does, but not quite. It's set in 1983, just before AIDS really took hold - what a different world London must have been just a year or so later. Aside from the extravagant amo [...]

    26. Issues of wealth, race, class and underground gay life in pre-AIDS London permeate this first person novel, a perfect pick for Pride Week (or any week, actually.) Hollinghurst's language is descriptive and transportive. There is a diary of an officer in Sudan in the 1920's juxtaposed with 80's London's club and gym scene. He does a heartbreaking prison scene. He creates a sort of Harriet the Spy 6-year old nephew. His characters are not to be forgotten. Hollinghurst creates scenes of heartbreak [...]

    27. This book really absorbed me. How do I write this? Hollinghurst has a way of getting into the subtleties of perception - how the physical environment and the things people say, and the unconscious social messaging that is all around us combine"He had that look of insincere good behaviour that people have when they are working on their own public relations. As I came in the coppery clack of the shop-bell had all heads turning."Also, it is full of sex, very graphic sex. A great read.

    28. Didn't really get on with this one, the main character will was just too shallow, drifting from one cliche to the next four my likingIt took me a while to decide when it was set, maybe I missed a vital clue, but something about the time made me think much earlier, until there were referenced to televisions and such like.Possibly mildly interesting was the story of Nantwich, but not hugely so in fact by the end of the book I think I'd stopped really taking in what was happening.

    29. Alan Hollinghurst's riveting/haunting/beautiful (Henry Jamesian) depiction of 20th-century gay London (through the 80s) is perfect. Required reading for anyone interested in postwar nonheterosexual literary fiction.

    30. I read this in a buddy read with a couple of friends. I found it vividly brought to my mind the 1980s (and London's gay scene must have been quite similar to Los Angeles where I was at that time). The graphic sex scenes were not offensive to me but there were lots and lots of them. I think I can honestly say that all of us doing the buddy read felt that these scenes were our least favorite parts of the book. Will comes across as emotionally immature or closed off. As the book progresses, I began [...]

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