The Swimming-pool Library

The Swimming-pool Library

Book - 1989
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Random House, Inc.
The dazzling first novel from the best-selling, Booker Prize-Winning author of The Line of Beauty and The Sparsholt Affair.

An enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity. The Swimming-Pool Library focuses on the friendship of two men: William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and Lord Nantwich, an elderly man searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.

Baker & Taylor
William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat, moves through underground bars, bath houses, and cinemas, and into the world of old Africa hand Lord Nantwitch, a world of older traditions and hidden allegiances

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1989
Edition: First Vintage international edition
Copyright Date: ©1988
ISBN: 9780679722564
Branch Call Number: FICTION HOLLI ...A
Characteristics: 336 pages ; 21 cm


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Jan 27, 2015

This book was pretty gay. No, seriously! Also, I think a swimming-pool library would be a bad idea because the moisture would damage the books. Hollinghurst also wrote "The Line of Beauty" and is friends with Edward St. Aubyn.

Feb 10, 2013

I found this book a little disjointed. Given that it really is a slice of life, of a young man who leads a disjointed life, it's hardly surprising, but I found asking myself: where is this going? Whatever happened to that character or this one? I suppose in a life of promiscuity and flightiness, it makes sense and give a true colour of a certain lifestyle - certainly I liked the raw and cruel writing. There are some thing I thoroughly enjoyed, however: the numerous descriptions of architecture that permeated through the book and gave it an eerie and dissolute sensation, from Charles's basement and club to the pool and cinema - these intense and mysterious spaces lend fabulous depth to the novel. Then, of course, was the unexpected twist and subsequent reflection which veered the novel to a new awareness.
A unique and surprising read.

johnami Nov 27, 2012

This is the first novel by the poet and short-story writer Alan Hollinghurst. It clearly demonstrates his talent in this medium. The Swimming-Pool Library is marvelous to read, filled with superb writing and imagination in the form of characters, their idiosyncratic behavior, and the events that shape their lives.

The book focuses on the homosexual life of the main character. However, it is much more a book about human behavior, explained through the experiences of a young man and the personalities of the individuals he encounters. This excellent novel is an example of why works of art should not be branded and categorized. The subject matter is what it is, but the work is universal.

Jul 03, 2011

A young gay man in London learns a thing or two. A revenge subplot reminiscent of Miss Haversham. Vividly written and entertaining.


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