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The Swimming Pool Library [Anglais] [Broché]

Alan Hollinghurst

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"The first major novel in Britain to put gay life in its modern place and context... A historic novel and historic début" (Guardian)

"The tautness and energy of Alan Hollinghurst's novel derive from its ambiguous status as it shimmers somewhere between pastoral romance and sulphurous confession, between an affectionate and credible rendering of contemporary mores and lurid melodrama...classic English prose...surely the best book about gay life yet written by an English author" (Edmund White Sunday Times)

"Beautifully welds the standard conventions of fiction to a tale of modern transgressions. It tells of impurities with shimmering elegance, of complexities with a camp-fired wit and of truths with a fiction's solid grace" (New York Times Book Review)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Alan Hollinghurst's first novel is a tour de force: a darkly erotic work that centres on the friendship of William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, who is searching for someone to write his biography.

By the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Line of Beauty.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.8 étoiles sur 5  43 commentaires
38 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the most intelligent gay novels in years 8 juillet 2002
Par Jay Dickson - Publié sur
Alan Hollinghurst may be the most intelligent gay English-language novelist writing today, with the possible exceptions of Edmund White and Gore Vidal, but Hollinghurst is neither so precious as White nor so nutty as Vidal. THE SWIMMING-POOL LIBRARY was his first effort, and remains his best. It marvelously captures the life enjoyed by a wealthy, handsome, leisured, and predatory London aristocrat, William Beckwith, in the early Eighties, and the way his life changes when he meets Chalres Beckwith, a titled man whom Beckwith incorrectly assumes lived a life very similar to his own. The novel is basically about the absence of gay history at the time it was written, and the ways in which privilege and security can be taken for granted. The book read very differently in 1988 (at the darkest moments of the AIDS crisis) than it does today, and its message seems less elegiac in many ways than before. It's not a novel without its problems: although Beckwith is clearly intended to be understood as morally blinkered (and he does get a something of a comeuppance eventually), his incessant vanity and self-congratulation does make him eventually a bit of a bore as first-person narrators go. Hollinghurst also witholds crucial information about the plot until the very last fifty pages of the novel, as he did in his next effort THE FOLDING STAR, so that you're not even fully aware of what the mystery guiding the novel's action really is until fairly late in the game. While this makes the final revelation more of a surprise, the book reads much better the second time than the first, when (as again with THE FOLDING STAR) there seems to be little plot to sustain your interest. Most readers have found Hollinghrust's third book, THE SPELL, the weakest of his efforts so far: it will be interesting to see if he can either repeat or surmount the success of THE SWIMMING-POOL LIBRARY.
21 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Disturbingly Erotic 27 octobre 2002
Par D. Movahedpour - Publié sur
This novel is well-written, and vacillates between extremely well-written fiction and minutely detailed erotica. The story centers around Will, a promiscuous, narcisscistic, wealthy gay young Londoner in the pre-AIDS era of the early 1980's. Will has no financial or moral restrictions. He leads us on a journey through the hot summer of 1983, that is at times graphic, and also historically engrossing.
Will Beckwith's adventures are by far some of the most graphically-detailed I have ever read, but highly erotic for both gay and straight readers. Concurrently, Will encounters an elderly British Lord who wants Will to write his life story. There is an undercurrent of duplicity in all of his relationships, from his passionate, physical affair with the young, uneducated hotel employee, Phil, to the exact nature of his professional dealings with his Lordship. Also, there is a pitying tone to his relationship with his best friend, a doctor who is also gay, but who is the only person who seems to have Will's heart, instead of his libido.
This is not your ordinary novel. Alan Hollinghurst is an extremely intelligent writer, who can also write with an almost animalistic sense of depravity. It is almost like reading two novels; on one page, extremely explicit sex, on another, intellectual stimulation. It is certainly one of the most unique books of its kind I have ever read.
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Unique, hybrid: high tone literature with sizzling erotics 8 mars 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
I recently re-read this book. It is a unique amalgam of very serious, high tone fiction and highly graphic, unadulterated scenes involving the kind of sexuality that would not make it into books that school systems adopt for even advanced high school courses. The narrator is rather selfish, aristocratic, but also appealing, in that, he makes no excuses for his human failings. At times, the depiction of gay haunts and habits is highly satirical, for example, the repeated references to "Trouble for Men," a cologne which wafts through the changing room of the swimming pool club that the narrator frequents [perhaps a dig at the extreme popularity which the Calvin Klein fragrance "Obsession" once had.] There is a two-tier structure to the work that is a little bit hard to deal with: the modern protagonist is contrasted with a man from an older era, whose life in earlier decades, when gay men were more in the shadows is meant to provide a counterpoint to the relative freedom which the younger man enjoys. This book is a rich, complex work which repays close reading and rereading.
20 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the great novels of the late twentieth-century. 19 mars 2005
Par I. Sondel - Publié sur
Alan Hollinghurst's "The Swimming-Pool Library" is considered a classic of gay literature (and justly so). However, I contend that this novel is so good that it transcends any such categorization. This is a brilliantly constructed, multi-layered novel rich in both interesting characters and history. An aimless young man (rich and beautiful) leads a life of leisure, replete with hedonistic sexual encounters. Looking for sex in a public restroom, the young man encounters eighty-something Lord Nantwich, who proceeds to have a heart attack. Our hero performs CPR, saves the old gents life, and a friendship ensues. The Lord enlists the young man to write his life story - which as it turns out has been a very interesting life. Lots of other things happen as this relationship developes. Does the biography get written? Well, that's the story, and I'm not going to give anything else away. This is a work of empowering literature. Hollinghhurst is a brilliant writer. Don't miss this beautifully realized book.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Read 19 janvier 2009
Par Marco Polo "Bruce" - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I'm enjoying reading this book again and again. I find that strange.

I am a retired Foreign Service officer who spent most of his adult life processing visa applications in overseas countries. Part of this book is about being an overseas diplomat (from England, though, not the USA) and that appealed to me.

But I bought the book completely for its title: "The Swimming Pool Library." I swam in college, way back in the 1960s, and almost made it to the Olympic Trials. And I like books, so the title, "Swimming Pool Library" appealed to me. I'm retired and I was looking for books to fill my library and fill my time.

I didn't know it would be about the homosexual lifestyle, and indeed as a straight man with grown children and grandchildren, I didn't have any appeal for that subject.

But the book has grabbed a hold of me and I've read it three and a half times in the past two months. I guess retirement does something to the human mind...At any rate, it's good writing and the main character gets into some interesting predicaments and I liked the other parts of the book - the diaries from being a British diplomat in Africa - and the gay thing just has me feeling and thinking things I never felt or thought about before, at least not consciously that I know of.

My wife keeps looking at me reading this on the porch but I don't care; if she wants to pick it up and read it herself maybe it would open up some dialog that we should have had decades ago.

I love my wife and my children and grandchildren, and I love this book.

Buy it. You'll be presently surprised.
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