June 10, 2005

Oh, gee!

The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst
My boss was reading this when we set off for New York, and still struggling with it a month later; she said it bored her to sleep, and being a non-native english speaker, there were nuances that she knew she was missing. Still, Mike forgave it in the end, and I thought I would give it a go.
Personally, I secretly like over-decorative prose, and really Hollinghurst has nothing on Iris Murdoch’s six-long strings of adjectives. For me, the pretentious element was the overuse of daft words that your average reader has to look up in the dictionary – no wonder my austrian boss struggled. The characters are drawn with a sort of contemptuous affection that suits the subject matter; filling out a plot plucked straight from the News of the World. This is a sad, witty book; a literary Spitting Image with significantly less latex and an unfunny ending.