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[Alan Hollinghurst]Alan Hollinghurst was born in Gloucestershire in 1954, and read English at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was an editor on the Times Literary Supplement from 1982 to 1995.

His first novel The Swimming Pool Library, published in 1988, won a Somerset Maugham Award, and led to his selection as one of the “Best of Young British Novelists” in 1993. The novel centres on the friendship between a young, gay aristocrat and an elderly Lord who is searching for someone to write his biography. It gives a vivid account of London gay life before AIDS and a longer perspective on the homosexual history of 20th-century Britain. It has been widely seen as a “cross-over” book, which introduced gay sexual material to a wider mainstream audience.

Hollinghurst’s second novel The Folding Star shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize, is a darker and more introspective work, described by the New York Review of Books as “a miniature Remembrance Of Things expanded Death In Venice....a homosexual Lolita”. It follows the obsession of a 33-year-old Englishman, Edward Manners, with a 17-year-old Flemish boy to whom he is teaching English. Through the parallel history, of a turn-of-the-century Belgian symbolist painter, Edgar Orst, the novel opens out into a complex examination of love, time and the redemptive powers of art.

It also has a vein of broad sexual comedy, an element that comes to the fore in Hollinghurst’s third novel The Spell (1998), in which four men - a middle-aged architect, his son, his lover, and his lover’s ex-lover - perform a complicated dance of desires and betrayals against a background of the English countryside and London’s hedonist club scene. Lighter in tone, it has been described by one British critic as “Jane Austen on ecstasy”. Like all Hollinghurst’s work, it is a study in the often destructive power of the appetites and in the illusions of love.

The Swimming Pool Library, 1988, Chatto & Windus.
The Folding Star, 1994, Chatto & Windus.
The Spell, 1998, Chatto & Windus.
Alan Hollinghurst as editor:
New Writing 4, 1995 (with A S Byatt), Vintage.
Alan Hollinghurst as translator:
Bajazet by Jean Racine, translated from French, 1991, Chatto & Windus.


  The Swimming-Pool Library A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming-Pool Library is 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. "Impeccably composed and... Read more

  The Spell Alan Hollinghurst writes like a dream about the nightmare of unequal affection. In his third novel, The Spell, four men dance around one another, their emotions and actions ranging from casual cruelty to anxiety to adoration. Hollinghurst's painful but smiling roundelay alternates between... Read more

  The Folding Star Midwest Book Review
Middle-aged Edward comes to a Flemish city to teach English only to fall in love with one of his pupils and to become involved with an obsessive artist who is playing a dangerous psychological game. Readers who relish psychological depth will find this includes plenty of drama and intrigue. --This... Read more

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