2008: 21. The Line of Beauty

Peter Crowther’s book on the election was already in the shops.  It was called Landslide! and the witty assistant at Dillon’s had arranged the window in a scaled-down version of that natural disaster.”

The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst

The Line of Beauty won the 2004 Booker Prize, and  this time I see what the committee was thinking.*  The book tells the story of a young gay man coming of age in 1980’s England.  He arrives in the city just as the Tories are coming to power, and he ages and is corrupted from innocent youth to jaded young man just as England is coming to terms with the Thatcher reign.  It is a clever satire, because it works as a story on its own terms, but also savages that time period and the ruling class quite devastatingly.  And its about class issues, and sexuality, and AIDS, and all that, and its about a sort of stupid young man adrift in his own life.  And beyond that it is extremely well written.  I bought this on a whim, and didn’t exactly look forward to reading it (I am very, very cautious about books that are marketed as satire), but I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.

*Well, in the sense that I thought this was a good book.  I mean, I don’t know what it was up against.


Date/Place Completed: 2/14/08; Seattle

Categories: Fiction; Booker Prize Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017