Free Audiobooks The Line of Beauty (Audio Download): Alan Hollinghurst, Alex Jennings, Macmillan Digital Audio: Audible Audiobooks –

With an introduction by Sebastian Faulks Winner of the Man Booker Prize, The Line of Beauty is a classic novel about class, politics and sexuality in Margaret Thatcher s s Britain There was the soft glare of the flash twice three times a gleaming sense of occasion, the gleam floating in the eye as a blot of shadow, his heart running fast with no particular need of courage as he grinned and said, Prime Minister, would you like to danceIn the summer of ,year old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the wealthy Feddens Gerald, an ambitious Tory MP, his wife, Rachel, and their children, Toby and Catherine Innocent of politics and money, Nick is swept up into the Feddens world and an era of endless possibility, all the while pursuing his own private obsession with beauty The Line of Beauty is Alan Hollinghurst s Man Booker Prize winning masterpiece It is a novel that defines a decade, exploring with peerless style a young man s collision with his own desires and with a world he can never truly belong to An appropriately applauded modern day masterpiece where the author understands that effective prose has got a function beyond acting as an engine for the plot He maximises the use of language to let the reader inhabit the deep ambiguities that are at the heart of human experience After a long time, I felt like I got to feel the throb of the heart that keeps literary fiction alive, and a page of Hollinghurst is all one needs to feel the heat and the beat.Courageously written in third person narrator spanning four years in Thatcher years, it tracks the experience of a middle class emphasis on his class fresh out of university Nick who starts boarding in one of his affluent friend s house in Kensington Between holidays in rural France, clocking up boyfriends secretly , and paryting with the rich and the powerful it s boom time for the Tories he graduates slickly from a tagalong to a self fashioned aesthetic advisor, and smugly, mistakenly believes he has become one of them an Insider Then he missteps or rather finds himself at the wrong end, the chips fall, and he is promptly shown the door Around this misunderstanding of intimacies and loyalties, he witnesses some of his paramours swallowed whole by the raging AIDS epidemic.I found Nick to be a very curious narrator and was absolutely bewitched by his contradictions He is, at heart, a deeply sensitive man with a penchant to appreciate beauty of the surfaces, art, architecture, with a repertoire of appreciating ranging from Henry James poised prose all the way to the contrapuntal beauty in Rachmaninov s Symphonic Dances And yet, other than a literal extrapolation of this sensitivity to his gaze at the male anatomy, his engagement with the people and enquiry into his own behaviour remains detached, analytical and oddly passive for a good two thirds of the book This makes him a phenomenally interesting protagonist who in equal parts enticed and indifferent, is traipsing through the aisles of high life, casually soaking the decadence without letting the moral radar prod through Despite being given a credible eye for surfaces, Hollinghurst has packed him chockfull with deep interiorities And the result is that the book reads very deeply.Suffice to say, I have found in Hollinghurst a master prose stylist absolutely in control of all the elements literal, tonal, subtextual which means that the literalities do not matter for the longest of times, even though the author has painstakingly researched and concealed this research to let the characters breathe and the reader feel their company and the times they live in There is not a sentence wasted or spent wandering In what could be termed a traditional manner of constructing and delivering big novels, little character and event details mentioned quietly like leitmotifs in the initial pages are made to gradually develop, seemingly organically over the four years but obviously the author is pulling the strings and made to come together to form a climactic movement in the foreground that wrenches an ephiphany and an emotion out of his reader, almost like a musical symphony.Rest assured I d be returning to this book for the sheer brilliance of the writing performance and an offensively high number of quotable lines Bravo This was the first novel by Alan Hollinghurst I read, and so far my favourite He is able to write paragraphs of description where not much happens but I m still enthralled The storyline is fairly basic, it s a bunch of characters going through a few years together, but it works This is about the characters, the tongue in cheek humour and themes than it is about the story It doesn t come down on any sides really, politically or otherwise, it s an explanation of the people and how they see the world As a Londoner I enjoyed the setting and it was interesting to see how gay people navigated the world ten years before I was born.Since this I ve only read The Swimming Pool Library by Hollinghurst I did enjoy that, but not as much as The Line of Beauty. Hollinghurst s PhD was about homosexuality in Forster, Firbank and Hartley, and he s used a series of novels to point up the gay s dilemmas at various stages of c20 In Lo B we re in 1980s, where Greed is Good and corruption at the heart of public life, But when the affluent Feddens need, first a babysitter for their bi polar daughter and then a scapegoat for the disgrace which comes to them partly through her they turn to, or on, the gay person whom until now they have been content to admit and even cultivate, seeing him not so much as a gay but as a eunuch The situation is complicated by the use of cocaine one meaning of The line of beauty in which Nick central character is complicit but AH s essential point is, despite the permissiveness not available to earlier gays like Firbank, secrecy and pretence is still the order of the day, with the threat of Aids ever present An excellent piece, with a strong plot line and facing a tough issue.