The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst

I have enjoyed other novels by this lovely writer, especially The Line of Beauty, although The Folding Star was also excellent.

This is about a family and its connections, played out over several decades. It is also about Englishness, how events change their meaning and significance over time, and how mysterious and unknowable are the whys and wherefores of human attraction and attractiveness.

It is, i suppose, a ‘gay’ novel, in that male homosexuality is the main driver of the relationships in the story. That does not define the book, which has many dimensions, but it gives it a very rich and engrossing fabric, overlaid with deceptions and the unspoken. I am not gay, but found the book gave me some real insights into the complexities and pleasures of gay relationships.And you can’t say that of many books. It is also very funny, at times.

It might be a bit too long, in parts. But that is a quibble. The author has a beautiful writing style and he creates moments of emotional contact or misunderstanding that are completely involving for the reader.

Very good indeed.

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