Lazarus P Badpenny Esq's Reviews > The Stranger's Child

The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
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Apr 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, contemporary, england, stories, twentieth-century
Read from June 29 to July 24, 2011 — I own a copy

In fastidious - if occasionally fussy - prose Hollinghurst has fashioned his own kind of family saga - part Evelyn Waugh, part EM Forster, part Mary Wesley. Once again his writing exhibits all the heightened sensory awareness and self-conscious eroticism of an extended seduction. There is the perhaps inevitable comparison with Atonement, Ian McEwan's postmodern carbuncle - with all its internal workings hanging out like some Richard Rogers monstrosity - but this is much more a Palladian folly of a novel. And therein may lie its downfall with many of its narrative echoes too subtley clever for its own good. That said, and although there is a tendency towards self-parody (at times the reader may be forgiven for thinking that homosexuality was the best and only way to avoid having a 'bad' war - the death of Cecil Valance, the all-but-absent central character, a kind of collapsed supernova, a literary black hole about whose irresistible gravitational pull all the other characters irrevocably orbit, being the possible exception that proves the rule) - The Pale King notwithstanding and with the Murakami translation still to come - Hollinghurst may well have crafted the most satisfying literary novel of the year.
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06/29/2011 "as lithe and velvety as a stoat." 3 comments
09/16/2016 marked as: read
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