Nicholas Cavenagh's Reviews > The Stranger's Child

The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
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's review
Nov 01, 2011

liked it

The Line of Beauty is one of the most beautiful books I have read, so I was looking forward to The Stranger's Child very much. Any author that makes a true masterpiece has the pressure of living up to very high expectations on their future works.

The novel appears to be in some sense a history of 20th century England, though is as much perhaps a work about the nature of history and the hidden histories that are never recorded because of class and homophobia. As in the Line of Beauty, the Stranger's Child features middle class characters who are captivated by the upper class but are excluded from their world in ways that are sometimes very subtle and at other times very unsubtle! I didn't find it immensely satirical, I think there are parts of this novel that you have to be British to fully appreciate. The prose was a little scattered and disjoint (intentionally, perhaps, to create multi-faceted perspectives) and it didn't overwhelm me the way that Line of Beauty did. I missed being completely drawn into the inner and emotional world of a character as I did with Nick Guest in Line of Beauty.

But certainly a novel great for a reading group with a wealth of things to discuss and analyse.

I wonder if it missed out on the Booker shortlist because it was compared too much with Line of Beauty.
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