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The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan…

The Swimming-Pool Library (edition 1989)

by Alan Hollinghurst (Author)

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1,667346,811 (3.76)97
This novel centres on the friendship of William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, who is searching for someone to write his biography.
Title:The Swimming-Pool Library
Authors:Alan Hollinghurst (Author)
Info:Vintage (1989), Edition: Reprint, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:toberead, queer, british

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The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

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English (31)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Contrary to the idea of the traditional gay novel, Alan Hollinghurst boldly picks up a protagonist, who is definitely not in any way striking, unique, or different, William Beckwith is a very rich vagabond , who loves sex and searches for physical comforts in his life, but Alan’s prose and style of writing is absolutely brilliant, it is like a breeze, gently flowing, evocatively describing common life, nothing too philosophical or fantastical or even tragic, and that is what makes this novel stand apart from the other tragic and melodramatic stories. Near the end, it is revealed what the novel means to show by its ordinary and beautiful setting, it paints a melancholic picture of the historical struggle, and the description of modern day London, is the best I have ever read in a novel. ‘The Swimming Pool Library’ is a novel that amazes the reader with its unique outlook for delicate and deep psychological insights, it turns out to be surprising and in the end, very moving. Read reviews: https://bit.ly/2mhlYmR ( )
  TheSoundsOfSilence | Nov 9, 2019 |
I'm quitting this. It's well written, but, having put it down to read something else, I feel no inclination to pick it up again. The first sentence of the Goodreads blurb says it all.
  pgchuis | Sep 28, 2019 |
When you know nothing about a book but pick it up because it has the word "library in the title...

(Ok, so I'm slowly working my way through the 1001 books to read before you die and I would have gotten around to it sooner or later, but still...)

Very well written. But ultimately not at all my cup of tea. ( )
  Sammystarbuck | Sep 2, 2019 |
While not literally read so, this came on the heels of 'Dancer from the Dance' for me, and I'm afraid it suffered in comparison. 'The Swimming-Pool Library' is set in a similar time and has a majority of homosexual characters, but by all other standards the two shouldn't be compared so. The style and tone of the two are much different. Likely because Hollinghurst writes of the world not during its zenith but looks back at it wistfully.

The author differs with me, but the hedonistic world William revels in is far too icky for me to be comfortable reading about. The clear, limpid prose only highlights the discomfort. I can set a lot of things aside, and some authors can even get me to see the value of this level of debauchery...but not this one. The plot of the novel eventually brings the aristocratic William Beckwith to a moral dilemma that doesn't deal with who he's fucking at the moment. Hollinghurst seems to point towards a change of character, a discovery of moral fiber, but it seems to me to be a triumph of his laziness. It is very easy to do the right thing when the right thing is doing nothing.

I liked the book enough while reading, but when pressed to say why, I can only say it was elegant. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
St. Barts 2019 #3 - This was a very unexpected read...grabbed it randomly off my shelf for vacation. It was unexpectedly graphic early on, and i thought i might be in for a bit of a sleazy novel of sorts....but then it started going in different directions....and while it remained unexpectedly sexually explicit, it also did a lot more. It was rather 2 stories in one....a current story and one from a few generations back.....the struggle for societal acceptance of gay behavior...both from the 1920'-50's.....and again in the present of the story, the 1980's.....all of this told from the point of view of a rather spoiled rich kid with titled forebears living a carefree and reckless London life of fun and promiscuous frolic, not having to work, who spends time almost daily at his local club with gym, swimming pool, and of course, the showers.....and he is enticed to consider writing the biography of an older, fading gentleman of similar ilk from 2 generations prior he met there.....creating a remarkable revelatory adventure of learning about himself, his family's past, and where he might be heading, all the while piecing together the earlier life of his subject. Interesting, occasionally unexpected, thoughtful, and again, explicit..... but in a seemingly very honest way rather than the gratuitousness i thought i was in for. An insightful story that chronicles the earlier struggles for acceptance that are now oft forgotten and taken for granted. Did not expect to like it when i began, and it ended up with 4 stars, which surprises even me. ( )
  jeffome | Jan 10, 2019 |
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'She reads at such a pace,' she complained, 'and when I asked her where she had learnt to read so quickly, she replied, "On the screen at Cinemas."' The Flower Beneath the Foot
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Alan Hollinghurst's first novel is a tour de force: a darkly erotic work that centres on the friendship of William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, who is searching for someone to write his biography
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