2012: 56. The Stranger's Child

"She'd been lying in a hammock reading poetry for over an hour."

The Stranger's Child, Alan Hollinghurst

     I really enjoyed this book.  It's about World War One (check!) and it's one of those books where the characters think they know what's going on, and they really don't, and so it's about truth and what we can really know about each other, and I love books like that, too.  It starts off in pre-war England at a country house where the poet Cecil Valance is visiting his friend/ lover, George Sawle.  Cecil and George are besotted, but George's sister thinks that he's interested in her - and that the famous poem he writes about their house is really about their relationship.  Then we jump ahead to the post-war years, and see their lives then, and how each takes claim to Cecil's memory (SPOILER - he died in the war).  And then we jump ahead to the biographers who are trying to figure out who Cecil was.

    I don't think I explained it well, but let me just say that I loved it - loved the way time made the actual facts dissipate, and drift away from the truth seekers.  It was almost like a reverse mystery - you kept hoping someone could figure out the truth that you, the reader knew.  Anyway, Hollinghurst is a Booker Prize winning type (I've read and blogged about his The Line of Beauty, but not copied it over yet), and the writing is the real deal, but best of all, this is one of those interesting literary fiction novels that is actually a real, honest good read.  

Categories:  Fiction, Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017