The Sparsholt Affair

The Sparsholt Affair

Book - 2017
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"From the internationally acclaimed winner of the Man Booker Prize, a masterly new novel that spans seven transformative decades in England--from the 1940s to the present--as it plumbs the richly complex relationships of a remarkable family. In 1940, David Sparsholt arrives at Oxford to study engineering, though his sights are set on joining the Royal Air Force. Handsome, athletic, charismatic, he is unaware of his effect on others--especially on Evert Dax, the lonely son of a celebrated novelist who is destined to become a writer himself. With the world at war, and the Blitz raging in London, Oxford nevertheless exists at a strange remove: a place of fleeting beauty--and secret liaisons. A friendship develops between these two young men that will have unexpected consequences as the novel unfolds. Alan Hollinghurst's new novel explores the legacy of David Sparsholt across three generations, on friends and family alike; we experience through its characters changes in taste, morality, and private life in a sequence of vividly rendered episodes: a Sparsholt holiday in Cornwall; eccentric social gatherings at the Dax family home; the adventures of David's son Johnny, a painter in 1970s London; the push and pull in a group of friends brought together by art, literature, and love. And evoking the increasing openness of gay life, The Sparsholt Affair becomes a meditation on human transience, even as it poignantly expresses the longing for permanence and continuity"-- Provided by publisher.
"A multi-generational story of fathers and sons during the second half of the twentieth century in England"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
Edition: First United States edition
ISBN: 9781101874561
Branch Call Number: FIC Hollinghurst A
Characteristics: 417 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 14, 2019

Having read all of Hollinghurst's earlier works, I suppose I was expecting another Line of Beauty or even Swimming Pool Library, something of that calibre. I could not get past about 20% the ebook on two attempts. This time his obsessions obscured any point to continue reading for what we are told are 70 years more. Honesty all I could think about were my ancestors and the pain, death and deprivation they experienced during wartime England. I would not discourage anyone from reading this book, my expectations and family memories discouraged me to read on.

Feb 08, 2018

Let me begin by saying that Hollinghurst's prose, although at times fragmented, proves to be beautiful and nothing short of exquisite. The reader can imagine being there. This novel covers a period of roughly 70 years in the life of fathers and sons, from WWII to the present. The first part finds one of the main characters, David Sparsholt, at Oxford where he attracts much attention from his entourage. I loved these 100 pages and was excited about reading the rest but I found it difficult to sort out. The titular "affair" is never fully explained but seems to hover in the background a great deal of the time. Art and homosexuality are frequent and important threads but relationships of fathers and sons are foremost. Hollinghurst is the Man Booker Prize winner for 2004 for The Line of Beauty. I would certainly like to read more of this author's work.


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