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message 1: by Troy (new)

Troy | 73 comments Mod
The book as a whole. Anything goes.

message 2: by Nicole (new)

Nicole  So, I read the book over vacation w/o computer access, so I'm not able to separate my comments into chapter sections. However, on the whole, didn't care for the book. Nothing interesting ever seemed to happen. I did enjoy the bit at the end where Nantwich turns out to have been playing with Will all along, but it would have been nice if something more developed there.

I never felt connected to the characters, or cared what happened to them.

I hated how Will was crushed when Phil was with Bill, but he didn't seem to mind being with other men himself.

In whole, it seemed very shallow - although, perhaps that's what Hollingsworth was trying to do - point out the shallowness of many men of that time. If so, Bravo!

message 3: by James (new)

James I'm going to skip the chapter-by-chapter analysis. Overall, I admire the writing tremendously. Hollinghurst keeps me interested in the shallow, privileged narrator, who learns a lot over the course of the novel, although it seems he's not ready to take them to heart.

Will is oblivious to his place within the political structure of his family and his world. He judges others based on appearance and assumes his beauty makes him powerful. Sex is an expression of political prowess, and Will confuses quantity for quality. He ultimately finds that despite the scores of notches in his bed post, he's hardly conquered gay London. And on a grander scale, he's unaware that having unprotected sex makes him physically vulnerable; he could lose his beauty and his life.

I like that Hollinghurst didn't overdramatize Will's comeuppance. He's not destroyed; he doesn't immediately change all his ways. He gains a greater appreciation for his friend James, but does not see what a hypocrite he is in regard to Phil's philandering.

I do find it distracting how Will seems by chance to conveniently run into just the person he needs to see throughout the novel.

And the lengthy passages from Nantwich's journal, although interesting and important, take the reader away from the present action for too long. And, more important, they don't speak for themselves, in my opinion. Everything else is through Will's point of view, and I'm wondering what Will experiences as he reads them.

But as I said in the beginning, I really admire the writing. He integrates the physical and intellectual experiences of his characters.

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