Becky's Reviews > The Swimming Pool Library

The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
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's review
Dec 27, 10

did not like it
Read in December, 2010

** spoiler alert ** What a steaming pile of turd. I thought the Line Of Beauty was rubbish, but at least there was darkness hiding amongst the explicit sex. The Swimming Pool Library has nothing of the sort. Described by some as an elegy to the pre AIDS homosexual world, this was a tale without a single likeable character, with no human bases I could touch down with whatsoever. Perhaps it's because there isn't a single woman in this book. Perhaps it's because the main character is one of those awful dying breeds of monied posh sorts who can do nothing with their lives and still live them quite handsomely. Perhaps it's the attitude of "well, if they ban us here, let's just take our exciting news ideas to the sub continent and have our way with people who have no recourse to do anything about it."

There is a plot of sorts, where a rich posh old guy who spent a month in prison leads our wonderful protagonist down the garden track, pretending he wants him to write his memoirs when what he actually wants is for him to find out that his grandfather was the one who threw him in jail. Well goodness gracious, what a dilemma? Never mind, I'll just get back to preying on men below my social station in the shower at my club. That's the gentlemanly thing to do, unlike that nasty Argentinian type with the gimp mask. No class, those South Americans.

The prose is awful, turgid, overcooked so many times that I needed the fire brigade on constant standby. The characters are one dimensional dullards. The glow of so much money, and so little done with it in a time of real social discontent is sickening. It's a very strong word, but I think I actually hated this book. Possibly the worst yet.
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Barbara Hated this one, didn't finish it. Should have known better since I loathed Line of Beauty when I read it the year it won the Booker.

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