Sarah Dawson's Reviews > The Swimming-Pool Library

The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
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May 09, 2012

really liked it

** spoiler alert ** I love this book. The only reason I haven't given it five stars is that I find the very end of the book inappropriately airy; it didn't quite satisfy me. Other than that... I've noticed a lot of people here really dislike Will as a character, but I think Hollinghurst makes it pretty clear how flawed he is, by making him fail to see the absurdity of his reaction to Phil's cheating when he's only narrowly backed out from doing the same thing himself, for instance, and also by placing him alongside James, who is a much more obviously sympathetic character. The sex is all brilliantly written, and I like that Hollinghurst has written a detailed and non-judgmental book about someone who places sex at the center of his life. I was moved by the book too, although that crept up on me about two thirds of the way through... If you can't bring yourself to feel any sympathy for Will or Charles, (and I think you have to see Charles as at least partly the product of a society that won't allow him to live openly), you must surely see some pathos in James' situation? No? Oh well, I'm onto The Line of Beauty now.
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