CHARACTERS ↠ The Swimming Pool Library

CHARACTERS The Swimming Pool Library

CHARACTERS ↠ The Swimming Pool Library ç ❰KINDLE❯ ✿ The Swimming Pool Library Author Alan Hollinghurst – A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy poFor ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything Harpers ueen it focuses on the friendship of two men William Beckwith. This book is tricksily misleading on a number of fronts It has been described as deeply thrilling and darkly erotic I think I might have missed something then at first appearance it's a breezy but self obsessed commentary by flirtatious man about town William Beckwith; young moneyed unscrupulous charming and gay The narrative is archly upper class with freuent references to private mens clubs such as the Corinthian and the Athenaeum The characters are foppish and callow self serving and frivolous This is the sort of thing you can get away with when you're hideously moneyed apparently The prose is written in such a way that it took me about 50 pages until the mention of Bucks Fizz the pop group not the drink to work out that this book is set in the 1980's The plumy language and old school tie networking really leads you to believe that the setting is the 1920's or 30's and the lives loves and language would not be out of place in an Evelyn Waugh novel Or maybe that was just me and I have read too much Waugh and Wilde of late The principle character is presented as a watered down version of Boy Mulcaster and Anthony Blanche after they've been through a blender together However this book has a moral agenda sort of a history lesson and hidden depths William is approached by Lord Nantwich a man whose life he had previously saved while loitering in a public lavatory to write his biography and through the research and reading Nantwich's diaries he uncovers elements of a sad and unpleasant past previously hidden to himI've given this book to two gay friends to read They both hated it but were not able to explain why and while I continued to turn the pages until the very end it did not have a profound enough effect to make me read any of of Hollinghurst's work


A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America The Swimming Pool Library is an enthralling darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS an elegy possessed of chilling clarity. i'll start off with a blanket statement many novels of the Gay Fiction subgenre will fall within two categories 1 Coming of Age Tales in which the protagonist struggles to come out often against his unsympathetic surroundings often tender; occasionally mawkish2 a category that i like to call Gay World Novels in which oh everyone is pretty much gay fine dream on gays dream on if you can't live itdream itto me the self relegation of most gay novels between these two categories can be annoying but i suppose understandable gays have to come out of the closet and so this intense experience is perfectly paired with the classic coming of age tale's structure and gays are also often rejected by straight society so why not rejoice in the telling of tales that in turn reject that straight world that rolls its eyes at it that have narratives that seem to posit that straights are the actual minority Swimming Pool falls suarely within that second categorythe novel is about a repulsive and useless parasite a shallow and superficial upper class twit obsessed solely with sex entirely without any ualities whatsoever except i suppose his aristocratic lineage and his apparently smashing good looks and large endowment unfortunately the protagonist somehow thinks that he's not a complete waste of space even unfortunately the author seems to think that he's not so bad that his thoughts and interests and obsessions and general behavior are not completely infantile and boring well i beg to differ hollinghurstthis is a book of so many wasted opportunities that it becomes truly disgusting the writer knows how to write his style is elegant and subtle and full of long brave sentences and carefully drawn mysteries and surprisingly ambiguous characterization and he throws it all away by writing about a world THAT CARES ABOUT NOTHING EXCEPT FOR SEX give me a fucking break hollinghurst is this how you see gay people do they think of nothing but checking people out eyeing the package of every single dude that crosses their path rating each body ignoring all women living for moments that are only about the interwining of bodies the randomly chosen hook up the spilling of various fluids do they not have other thoughts have they no other interests no other inner or outer life do their interior monologues consist of nothing but the drooling study of the beauty of the male form are they incapable of even the slightest depth do all gays live to celebrate the flesh and for nothing else whatsoever when our narrator greets his long lost lover by ripping his pants down and burying his face in his ass is this supposed to be palpably romantic rather than absurd and farcicalthe novel wastes a golden opportunity in the story of the elderly and very gay Lord Nantwich whose diaries the protagonist is working his way through as he considers writing a bio of the lord's life learning about this elderly gent's story could have been fascinating a tale of england's colonial past adventures in africa a recounting of london during some very interesting times all seen through the lense of an upper class gay outsider but 'tis not to be like the narrator of the present Lord Nantwich is magically surrounded by gay acuaintances and probably gay or maybe bisexual african natives almost every single person that either character meets past or present is gay or probably gay or bisexual and even worse and much like the narrator of the present Lord Nantwich is also disinterested in recounting anything whatsoever that isn't about getting off and ogling all the gay chaps around him such a potentially vivid life and all he is primarily interested in is getting some action both characters are resoundingly pathetic and yet hollinghurst appears to think there is something brave about Lord Nantwich and something charming about our feckless pointless narrator at one point the protagonist idly thumbs through his best friend's diary naturally his best friend is also obsessed with sex i guess that's how gays are right they simply have no other intereststhere was one thing that consistently amused me in a good way the effete and fatuous ueen of a lead character is also a rough tough top i like that it is always interesting when expectations and stereotypes are subverted sadly those instances are the only examples of any kind of subversivenessa part of the novel that struck me as particularly foul was the sexualization of kids yes kids can be sexual i know this of course but almost an entire chapter devoted to salivating over a junior boxing championship a short seuence where the narrator describes a family man lovingly patting his child while also lovingly caressing his own hard on described as some kind of deep connectionseriously hollinghurst the title is laughable the narrator's constant presence at the local english euivalent of the ymca swimming pool is metaphorically tied to his dreamy past hooking up with guys in the school swimming pool both of which are thematically linked up with Lord Nantwich's rather hedonistic private pool that is some serious over reaching there hollinghurstthe novel has a deeply creepy obsession with race specifically blacks Lord Nantwich is obsessed by them both africans and african american soldiers he meets this is presented with some slight critical distance but you know what slight critical distance is not enough when the attitude being presented is so barkingly colonial and condescending that it becomes downright repulsive our charmless hero also starts out with a black boyfriend and much is made of that character's stereotypical lower class 'blackness' and naturally his dangerous life in the projects that's how blacks are right they are either innocent wide eyed africans or sexy violent thugs and of course the best friend also has his own love of black men well their dicks that is reading all about an insufferable body worshipping twit of a protagonist and an elderly upper class jackass who lives to objectify eventually made me want to commit some bodily harm on both of them when the narrator eventually gets his ass kicked i couldn't help but think well finally he is getting a dose of some sort of reality that has nothing to do with worship of the male body or getting fuckedmy gosh i just hated this novela little self disclosure here i'm a bi guy i was out to a select group in high school i was out to the world in college i helped start the second iteration of Act Up San Diego when i was younger and better looking i whored myself out a bit now there's a fun fact i used to volunteer for gay men dying of hiv now i work for an agency whose clientele is well over half gay i've gone to jail protesting for the right of gay marriage and the rights of gay teachers to teach children i think my ueer credibility is pretty much impeccable and i say all this not just to provide personal context but mainly because i do not want this review to give the impression that there is any kind of lurking bottled up self hate or any negative attitude towards gay sexuality involved in my rejection of this appalling novel although i am not a big part of the gay community i celebrate it and of course am a proud member but there is nothing to celebrate about this novel it was a revolting depressing infuriating experience for me apparently The Swimming Pool Library is considered to be some kind of mo

Alan Hollinghurst ✓ 1 CHARACTERS

The Swimming Pool LibraryA young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity and the elderly Lord Nantwich an old Africa hand searching for someone to write his The Swimming Kindle biography and inherit his traditio. I need to stop doing this thing of when I'm completely taken with a novel by a writer I've never read before running out and instantly reading something else by that writer It's just too much pressure and I always wind up all pissed off and disappointed This has recently happened with Patrick Hamilton Martin Amis and now Alan Hollinghurst – is there something about these Brits that they don’t make good second dates When I read The Line of Beauty I loved it so much I was sick Naturally I ran out that week and bought The Swimming Pool Library but I think I wanted too much and was keyed up too high maybe it's too much to ask an author's first novel to deliver in the face of those expectationsAll this is not to suggest that The Swimming Pool Library is not gorgeously written or at all without merit There were a lot of good things about this book and his descriptions of the club where he swims were so lovely and evocative that I actually looked into joining the Y thinking that getting into lap swimming might be the secret to surviving a miserable winter I'd probably not follow his example to the point of staring hungrily at other gym members' genitals in the shower but who knows Anyway I didn't wind up joining the YMCA and I've also decided on page 112 to bail on this bookTo be fair I've been extraordinarily cranky and picky lately and nothing I read has satisfied me at all The issue I had here was with the odious narrator It's not like I need to become besties with whoever is telling the story but writing a novel about an unlikeable person is tough and for me in this case it just didn't work The book is about a rich lazy snob who doesn't have to go to work or do anything who just sort of shambles aimlessly around London reading books working out and fucking everything that moves Since this is or less how I’d like to live my own life but can’t I resented the character who also seemed like a spoiled egomaniac without redeeming ualities I wasn't interested in his thoughts or what happened to him which is usually a deal breaker for loving a novelMaybe if I'd stuck with this longer I would've developed feelings beyond bored irritation Hollinghurst certainly is a fantastic writer but for me he was not fantastic enough in 1988 to overcome my desire to smack his main character in the side of the head I spend enough time already dealing with dull entitled people who bore me and I'm not sure why I should subject myself to them in fiction I suspect that Hollinghurst was aware of potential for this response from readers as in The Line of Beauty the main character is a striver who doesn’t really belong in the elite world that he describes Must class resentment interfere with readers’ enjoyment of fiction No of course not a lot of my favorite books are about idle rich people It does reuire extra authorial skills to effect that empathy though and for me with this book it just didn’t happen Also it wasn’t just that he’s rich it’s that I really don’t like himAgain this book isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination However I’m not enjoying it so I’m putting it down