Daniel Gawthrop (New Westminster)
Commenting on a favourite gay novel:
“Reading Alan Hollinghurst is a guilty pleasure on par with eating foie gras: you know you probably shouldn’t—the very idea seems decadent and passé, redolent of neocolonial tastes—but oh, how the finer notes linger on the palate.
“Hollinghurst’s class-conscious novels, which typically explore some aspect of failed nostalgia for the British Empire, offer delicious comeuppance for their thoroughly unsympathetic gay male protagonists. The Line of Beauty, his fourth novel and a ruthless take-down of greed in Thatcherite England, features Nick Guest, a ladder-climbing yuppie who charms his way into an Old Money family’s good graces. Nick fails to appreciate his place in the pecking order.
“When it comes, his expulsion from the privileged set is quintessential Hollinghurst: absolute, humiliating, and utterly pathetic. Such sweet schadenfreude.”