Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty

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Alan Hollinghurst is one of my two favorite living gay authors (the other, Joe Keenan has seen his wallet grow too fat working on Frasier to continue his farcical stories of two silly gay men in New York City).

That Hollinghurst has published a new queer novel, The Line of Beauty, was cheering. The publisher's puffery says:

Picking up at the point in time where The Swimming-Pool Library left off, 'The Line of Beauty' traces the further history of a decade of change and tragedy.

Funnily enough it was a remark in passing by Edmund White that Hollinghurst had written the funniest gay novel of the year in the TLS that made me seek him out. Funny because I don't enjoy White, his lack of humor being one of the main reasons.

When The Swimming-Pool Library arrived in the shop I ignored it. We sold the book and later wanting to read Hollinghurst I found myself having to order it. A rare treat to read gay fiction that was both literate and made me laugh.

The Folding Star left me cool. The erotic angst seemed too familiar. Not that the novel didn't give me pleasure. But I think if I'd read it first I might've never pursued the others.

I was hungry enough to special order The Spell from England when it appeared. Typically it mixed misery, good prose and laughter. While reviewers often cite The Spell's serious depth I thought it a good queer sexual comedy. And will always treasure the line about "bossy bottoms and timid tops" as summing up much of my romantic life as something of the latter. I've been waiting for a new Alan Hollinghurst novel ever since.

I'm too broke to justify ordering The Line of Beauty from the UK right now. I'll probably wait for its American publication in November. No complaint in anticipating the pleasure of a new queer novel.

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