Friday, October 28, 2005

A Fine Line

Bought this one to read in the plane on the way to Singapore. Just continuing the Booker Prize fetish really – this was last year’s winner, passed over at the time principally because the subject matter was entirely distasteful: the tired Notting Hill lifestyles of upper class Brits, Margaret Thatcher, the Victorian novel, and the anatomical intricacies of gay sex. All the stuff we really don’t need to read about.

How wrong can you be? What saves this novel and makes it a deserving winner is the only measure which actually matters: the quality of the writing. Exquisitely constructed, ironic, indirect, nuanced, beautifully observed. Full of resonances, very funny and still a grand/petty tragedy.

Impossible to read rapidly, each paragraph needs to be savoured like a glass of old Crozes. So no alternative now but to pay Hollinghurst the usual compliment and read through his previous three.

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