Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Swimming Pool Library

Title: The Swimming Pool Library

Author: Alan Hollingsworth

Number of pages: 304

Started: 3 February 2011

Finished: 12 February 2011

Opening words:

"I came home on the last train. Opposite me sat a couple of London Transport maintenance men, one small, fifty, decrepit, the other a severely handsome black of about thirty-five. Heavy canvas bags were tilted against their boots, their overalls open above their vests in the stale heat of the Underground. They were about to start work! I looked at them with a kind of swimming drunken wonder, amazed at the thought of their inverted lives, of how their occupation depended on our travel, but could only be pursued, I saw it now, when we were not travelling."

Plot summary:

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.

What I thought:

I liked this book, but it was one that I felt slightly uncomfortable reading on the tube! It has quite a lot of fairly explicit sexual references in it and it made me a touch paranoid that someone might peer over and see the content of parts of the book. But, perhaps I need to get out more.

That said, it was a good book. I thought it was well written and touched on some difficult issues and told the story well. It’s just not the sort of book most people would recommend to their mum.

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