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The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
In The Line of Beauty, Nick Guest is a young, coke-snorting gay man from modest means, who, in early 1983, is invited to stay with the wealthy and well-bred Fedden family. Gerald Fedden is a Tory MP, an empty man who has mastered the art of superficial charm that comes with his station. Nick, already an outsider by his gay status in this Thatcherite era, falls in love with the Fedden family and their lifestyle, eventually choosing a lover who can supply him with the finer things in life. Nick is our travel guide through this world of detached privilege, while the realities of the outer world, including AIDS, threatens to disrupt it all. Alan Hollinghurst's impeccable prose and perfect rendering of this era in recent London history has won The Line of Beauty wide acclaim. The New Statesman says, "But all of my reservations are offset by the pure pleasure and exhilaration of Alan Hollinghurst's writing, always so stylish and poised, with generous cadences of sorrow and delight."