The Swimming-Pool Library PDF é The Swimming-Pool


The Swimming-Pool Library [PDF / Epub] ✅ The Swimming-Pool Library Author Alan Hollinghurst – Thomashillier.co.uk 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 chi 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 The Swimming-Pool PDF/EPUB ² clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything Harpers Queen , it focuses on the friendship of two men William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, an old Africa hand, searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.

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  • Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • The Swimming-Pool Library
  • Alan Hollinghurst
  • English
  • 07 July 2018
  • 0679722564

About the Author: Alan Hollinghurst

Alan Hollinghurst is an English novelist, and winner of the Booker Prize for The Line of BeautyHe read English at Magdalen College, Oxford graduating in and subsequently took the further The Swimming-Pool PDF/EPUB ² degree of Master of Literature While at Oxford he shared a house with Andrew Motion, and was awarded the Newdigate Prize for poetry in , the year before MotionIn the late s he became a lecturer at Magdalen, and then at Somerville College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford In he moved on to lecture at University College London In , he went on an Asia book tour in SingaporeIn he joined The Times Literary Supplement and was the paper s deputy editor from to He lives in London.



10 thoughts on “The Swimming-Pool Library

  1. mark monday mark monday says:

    i ll start off with a blanket statement many novels of the Gay Fiction subgenre will fall within two categories 1 Coming of Age Talesin which the protagonist struggles to come out, often against his unsympathetic surroundings often tender occasionally mawkish.2 a category that i like to call Gay World Novels in which, oh, everyone is pretty much gay fine dream on, gays, dream on if you can t live itdream it to me, the self relegation of most gay novels between these two categories i ll start off with a blanket statement many novels of the Gay Fiction subgenre will fall within two categories 1 Coming of Age Talesin which the protagonist struggles to come out, often against his unsympathetic surroundings often tender occasionally mawkish.2 a category that i like to call Gay World Novels in which, oh, everyone is pretty much gay fine dream on, gays, dream on if you can t live itdream it to me, the self relegation of most gay novels between these two categories can be annoying, but i suppose understandable gays have to come out of the closet and so this intense experience is perfectly paired with the classic coming of age tale s structure and gays are also often rejected by straight society, so why not rejoice in the telling of tales that in turn reject that straight world, that rolls its eyes at it, that have narratives that seem to posit that straights are the actual minority Swimming Pool falls squarely within that second category.the novel is about a repulsive and useless parasite, a shallow and superficial upper class twit obsessed solely with sex, entirely without any qualities whatsoever except, i suppose, his aristocratic lineage and his apparently smashing good looks and large endowment unfortunately, the protagonist somehow thinks that he s not a complete waste of space evenunfortunately, the author seems to think that he s not so bad, that his thoughts and interests and obsessions and general behavior are not completely infantile and boring well, i beg to differ, hollinghurst this is a book of so many wasted opportunities that it becomes truly disgusting the writer knows how to write his style is elegant and subtle and full of long, brave sentences and carefully drawn mysteries and surprisingly ambiguous characterization and he throws it all away by writing about a world THAT CARES ABOUT NOTHING EXCEPT FOR SEX give me a fucking break, hollinghurst is this how you see gay people do they think of nothing but checking people out, eyeing the package of every single dude that crosses their path, rating each body, ignoring all women, living for moments that are only about the interwining of bodies, the randomly chosen hook up, the spilling of various fluids do they not have other thoughts, have they no other interests, no other inner or outer life do their interior monologues consist of nothing but the drooling study of the beauty of the male form are they incapable of even the slightest depth do all gays live to celebrate the flesh, and for nothing else whatsoever when our narrator greets his long lost lover by ripping his pants down and burying his face in his ass, is this supposed to be palpably romantic rather than absurd and farcical the novel wastes a golden opportunity in the story of the elderly and very gay Lord Nantwich, whose diaries the protagonist is working his way through as he considers writing a bio of the lord s life learning about this elderly gent s story could have been fascinating a tale of england s colonial past, adventures in africa, a recounting of london during some very interesting times, all seen through the lense of an upper class gay outsider but tis not to be like the narrator of the present, Lord Nantwich is magically surrounded by gay acquaintances and probably gay or maybe bisexual african natives almost every single person that either character meets, past or present, is gay or probably gay or bisexual and even worse, and much like the narrator of the present, Lord Nantwich is also disinterested in recounting anything whatsoever that isn t about getting off and ogling all the gay chaps around him such a potentially vivid life and all he is primarily interested in is getting some action both characters are resoundingly pathetic and yet hollinghurst appears to think there is something brave about Lord Nantwich and something charming about our feckless, pointless narrator at one point, the protagonist idly thumbs through his best friend s diary naturally, his best friend is also obsessed with sex i guess that s how gays are, right they simply have no other interests.there was one thing that consistently amused me, in a good way the effete and fatuous queen of a lead character is also a rough, tough top i like that it is always interesting when expectations and stereotypes are subverted sadly, those instances are the only examples of any kind of subversiveness.a part of the novel that struck me as particularly foul was the sexualization of kids yes, kids can be sexual, i know this of course but almost an entire chapter devoted to salivating over a junior boxing championship a short sequence where the narrator describes a family man lovingly patting his child while also lovingly caressing his own hard on described as some kind of deep connectionseriously, hollinghurst the title is laughable the narrator s constant presence at the local english equivalent of the ymca swimming pool is metaphorically tied to his dreamy past hooking up with guys in the school swimming pool, both of which are thematically linked up with Lord Nantwich s ratherhedonistic private pool that is some serious over reaching there, hollinghurst.the novel has a deeply creepy obsession with race specifically, blacks Lord Nantwich is obsessed by them, both africans and african american soldiers he meets this is presented with some slight critical distance, but you know what slight critical distance is not enough when the attitude being presented is so barkingly colonial and condescending that it becomes downright repulsive our charmless hero also starts out with a black boyfriend and much is made of that character s stereotypical, lower class blackness and, naturally, his dangerous life in the projects that s how blacks are, right they are either innocent, wide eyed africans or sexy, violent thugs and of course the best friend also has his own love of black men well, their dicks, that is reading all about an insufferable, body worshipping twit of a protagonist and an elderly upper class jackass who lives to objectify eventually made me want to commit some bodily harm on both of them when the narrator eventually gets his ass kicked, i couldn t help but think well finally he is getting a dose of some sort of reality that has nothing to do with worship of the male body or getting fucked.my gosh, i just hated this novel.a little self disclosure here i m a bi guy i was out to a select group in high school i was out to the world in college i helped start the second iteration of Act Up San Diego when i was younger and better looking, i whored myself out a bit now there s a fun fact i used to volunteer for gay men dying of hiv now i work for an agency whose clientele is well over half gay i ve gone to jail protesting for the right of gay marriage and the rights of gay teachers to teach children i think my queer credibility is pretty much impeccable and i say all this, not just to provide personal context, but mainly because i do not want this review to give the impression that there is any kind of lurking, bottled up self hate or any negative attitude towards gay sexuality involved in my rejection of this appalling novel although i am not a big part of the gay community, i celebrate it and of course am a proud member but there is nothing to celebrate about this novel it was a revolting, depressing, infuriating experience for me apparently The Swimming Pool Library is considered to be some kind of modern gay classic that does a profound disservice to the genuinely complex and challenging works and the truly sensitive and moving narratives that exist in this often wonderful subgenre

  2. Fabian Fabian says:

    A wonderful romp around Londontown, arguably the gayest city in all of Europe The novel is exquisite, very smartly titled Swimming pool implies the superficial aspect of the gay scene, Library implies all that is intelligent and witty the book is a merger of these both It s at once overly sensual incredibly literary The Line of Beauty seems to be the culmination of Alan Hollinghurst s steamy cranial poetics this then is barely but a stepping stone toward that epic saga the Booker winn A wonderful romp around Londontown, arguably the gayest city in all of Europe The novel is exquisite, very smartly titled Swimming pool implies the superficial aspect of the gay scene, Library implies all that is intelligent and witty the book is a merger of these both It s at once overly sensual incredibly literary The Line of Beauty seems to be the culmination of Alan Hollinghurst s steamy cranial poetics this then is barely but a stepping stone toward that epic saga the Booker winner was turned into a monolithic miniseries by the BBC This is a novel of paramount importance it is a historical document which embodies the livid spirit of the gay scene back in the 1980 s, before AIDS, before pretty much stuff like this gave homosexuals a bad rap It is one of a kind, written eloquently, written with a focus on that elusive antihero our gay leading man

  3. Eric Eric says:

    The plot was only intermittently absorbing, but the narrator s tones are utterly addictive I can t get enough of Hollingburst s style It can delicately register so many things shades of emotion, nuances of intellection, as well as symphonies of physical movement, as in the suburban boxing tournament but never sounds fussy or over elaborate very solid and quick, a model for anyone I wasn t sure if the rather stark contrast between the rich emotion of Lord Nantwich s old diaries and the seni The plot was only intermittently absorbing, but the narrator s tones are utterly addictive I can t get enough of Hollingburst s style It can delicately register so many things shades of emotion, nuances of intellection, as well as symphonies of physical movement, as in the suburban boxing tournament but never sounds fussy or over elaborate very solid and quick, a model for anyone I wasn t sure if the rather stark contrast between the rich emotion of Lord Nantwich s old diaries and the senile, muddled form he took during the present day of the narration was intentional or not Nantwich never caught on with me, he seemed so blurry and not there but as I said, maybe that was the point, Hollinghurst wishing to remind us that complex submerged past lives lie beneath the vague blandness of manner exhibited by the elderly The samples of Nantwich s diaries can be heartbreaking, especially the scene in prison when he s told of Taha s murder by a smirking warden, and the recounting of the subsequent torpor and despair It s all so well done I haven t been struck like that in a long time And the old home movie of Ronald Firbank walking down an Italian road had me gazing wistfully out the window The account of the film felt rather tacked on and random, but it was also one of thesad and memorable things in the entire book Amazing how he does it I m so happy that Hollinghurst has twonovels that I have yet to read He and Richard Yates are my revelations of 2008

  4. Shovelmonkey1 Shovelmonkey1 says:

    This book is tricksily misleading on a number of fronts It has been described as deeply thrilling and darkly erotic I think I might have missed something then at first appearance it s a breezy but self obsessed commentary by flirtatious man about town, William Beckwith young, moneyed, unscrupulous, charming and gay The narrative is archly upper class with frequent references to private mens clubs such as the Corinthian and the Athenaeum The characters are foppish and callow, self servin This book is tricksily misleading on a number of fronts It has been described as deeply thrilling and darkly erotic I think I might have missed something then at first appearance it s a breezy but self obsessed commentary by flirtatious man about town, William Beckwith young, moneyed, unscrupulous, charming and gay The narrative is archly upper class with frequent references to private mens clubs such as the Corinthian and the Athenaeum The characters are foppish and callow, self serving and frivolous This is the sort of thing you can get away with when you re hideously moneyed apparently The prose is written in such a way that it took me about 50 pages until the mention of Bucks Fizz the pop group not the drink , to work out that this book is set in the 1980 s The plumy language and old school tie networking really leads you to believe that the setting is the 1920 s or 30 s and the lives, loves and language would not be out of place in an Evelyn Waugh novel Or maybe that was just me and I have read too much Waugh and Wilde of late The principle character is presented as a watered down version of Boy Mulcaster and Anthony Blanche after they ve been through a blender together However this book has a moral agenda sort of, a history lesson and hidden depths William is approached by Lord Nantwich, a man whose life he had previously saved while loitering in a public lavatory, to write his biography and through the research and reading Nantwich s diaries he uncovers elements of a sad and unpleasant past, previously hidden to him.I ve given this book to two gay friends to read They both hated it but were not able to explain why and while I continued to turn the pages until the very end, it did not have a profound enough effect to make me read any ofof Hollinghurst s work

  5. LenaRibka LenaRibka says:

    This book is extremely good written Very erotic and very gayish It could have had 50 pages less or 100 pages , it wouldn t have had any influence on the storyline What a storyline It doesn t have a typical beginning, culminating and ending.Here the journey itself is a destination It is for sure a book I d like to re read some day and investtime in it.

  6. Mark Joyce Mark Joyce says:

    Given the number of sex scenes that Alan Hollinghurst crams into his books approximately one every other page you d think it would beenjoyable for him as well as the reader to inject a bit of variation In fact they all follow broadly the same template lingering description of a younger man s abs chest arse comparative analysis of cock size and appearance followed by a rough penetration in which the narcissistic central character is invariably in the active role Sometimes if he s f Given the number of sex scenes that Alan Hollinghurst crams into his books approximately one every other page you d think it would beenjoyable for him as well as the reader to inject a bit of variation In fact they all follow broadly the same template lingering description of a younger man s abs chest arse comparative analysis of cock size and appearance followed by a rough penetration in which the narcissistic central character is invariably in the active role Sometimes if he s feeling particularly expansive he ll throw in a rimming As a result, the experience of reading The Swimming Pool Library is a bit like flicking through somebody else s Grindr account vicariously interesting for about five minutes, quickly becoming repetitive and not a little depressing.In contrast to the excellent Line of Beauty, which takes place at the height of the AIDS epidemic, The Swimming Pool Library is set in the early 1980s at which time it was apparently still possible to have daily unprotected sex with strangers with no adverse physical health effects other than the occasional beating by right wing skinheads Not as fun as it sounds if this book is anything to go by In fairness to the author, the book s title strongly suggests that this is supposed to be a not entirely flattering portrayal of the superficiality of a certain type of urban, physical beauty obsessed gay scene So the joyless repetitiveness and preening self absorption is clearly deliberate and intended to make a point Fair enough But for this reader at least the point had been well made by about the 20% mark, after which the book really needed to go in some new directions By 70% it still hadn t, at which stage I couldn t summon sufficient interest in the characters to read any further

  7. Jessica Jessica says:

    I need to stop doing this thing of, when I m completely taken with a novel by a writer I ve never read before, running out and instantly reading something else by that writer It s just too much pressure, and I always wind up all pissed off and disappointed This has recently happened with Patrick Hamilton, Martin Amis, and now, Alan Hollinghurst is there something about these Brits that they don t make good second dates When I read The Line of Beauty I loved it so much I was sick Naturally I need to stop doing this thing of, when I m completely taken with a novel by a writer I ve never read before, running out and instantly reading something else by that writer It s just too much pressure, and I always wind up all pissed off and disappointed This has recently happened with Patrick Hamilton, Martin Amis, and now, Alan Hollinghurst is there something about these Brits that they don t make good second dates When I read The Line of Beauty I loved it so much I was sick Naturally I ran out that week and bought The Swimming Pool Library, but I think I wanted too much, and was keyed up too high maybe it s too much to ask an author s first novel to deliver in the face of those expectations.All this is not to suggest that The Swimming Pool Library is not gorgeously written or at all without merit There were a lot of good things about this book, and his descriptions of the club where he swims were so lovely and evocative that I actually looked into joining the Y, thinking that getting into lap swimming might be the secret to surviving a miserable winter I d probably not follow his example to the point of staring hungrily at other gym members genitals in the shower, but who knows Anyway, I didn t wind up joining the YMCA, and I ve also decided, on page 112, to bail on this book.To be fair, I ve been extraordinarily cranky and picky lately, and nothing I read has satisfied me at all The issue I had here was with the odious narrator It s not like I need to become besties with whoever is telling the story, but writing a novel about an unlikeable person is tough, and for me, in this case, it just didn t work The book is about a rich, lazy, snob who doesn t have to go to work or do anything, who just sort of shambles aimlessly around London reading books, working out, and fucking everything that moves Since this isor less how I d like to live my own life, but can t, I resented the character, who also seemed like a spoiled egomaniac without redeeming qualities I wasn t interested in his thoughts or what happened to him, which is usually a deal breaker for loving a novel.Maybe if I d stuck with this longer, I would ve developed feelings beyond bored irritation Hollinghurst certainly is a fantastic writer, but for me he was not fantastic enough in 1988 to overcome my desire to smack his main character in the side of the head I spend enough time already dealing with dull, entitled people who bore me, and I m not sure why I should subject myself to them in fiction I suspect that Hollinghurst was aware of potential for this response from readers, as in The Line of Beauty the main character is a striver who doesn t really belong in the elite world that he describes Must class resentment interfere with readers enjoyment of fiction No, of course not a lot of my favorite books are about idle rich people It does require extra authorial skills to effect that empathy, though, and for me, with this book, it just didn t happen Also, it wasn t just that he s rich, it s that I really don t like him.Again, this book isn t bad by any stretch of the imagination However, I m not enjoying it, so I m putting it down

  8. Seth Seth says:

    While I was reading The Swimming Pool Library, I kept thinking of a really dumb phrase It s like d j vu all over again This was, of course, literally true, in the sense that I d read the book before and remembered the basic setup The narrator, Will Beckwith, leads an aimless life in 1980s London a life that centers on swimming, clubbing, and a whole lot of fucking His routine is disrupted when he meets an elderly peer who asks Will to read through his papers, with an eye to writing his b While I was reading The Swimming Pool Library, I kept thinking of a really dumb phrase It s like d j vu all over again This was, of course, literally true, in the sense that I d read the book before and remembered the basic setup The narrator, Will Beckwith, leads an aimless life in 1980s London a life that centers on swimming, clubbing, and a whole lot of fucking His routine is disrupted when he meets an elderly peer who asks Will to read through his papers, with an eye to writing his biography This sets Will on a voyage of discoverya voyage that ultimately doesn t amount to much of anything.My sense of d j vu also had another source Consider A self obsessed narrator who talks endlessly about sex Sex scenes that are,than anything else, farcical An older man with a hidden agenda An awkward encounter in a hotel room The realization that people are, well, kind of phony.If you re thinking you ve heard this story before, you re right first, as told by J.D Salinger, and then as re imagined by Martin Amis Hollinghurst lifts his best gag from Salinger, in the way that Will keeps encountering gross smells, particularly the reek of cheap cologne The Swimming Pool Library is a novel that can be read very seriously, as a sort of elegy for a vanished way of gay life Early on, it s established that Will is telling his story in flashback, remembering that summer, the last summer of its kind there was ever to be Hollinghurst has said that he originally conceived the novel as the deathbed confession of a gay man dying from AIDS, and this is still visible in the text, where it s strongly implied that view spoiler Colin, the undercover police officer Will picks up on the Tube, is HIV positive hide spoiler.While this reading isn t wrong, it kind of misses the point Because The Swimming Pool Library is very much a comic novel, full of ironic twists and missed encounters and darkly funny moments See the scene in the pornographic movie theater, the scene in Phil s dorm room, and many others Like Holden Caulfield and Charles Highway before him, Will is an exaggerated and particularly hapless stand in for us, the readers and a reminder that the only fitting response to life s absurdity is, of course, laughter

  9. Mara Mara says:

    One star, partly as revenge for making me read the phrase I very much wanted to fuck his big, muscly bum That wasn t actually the worst line, but the others were too racist to be quite so funny I really hated this narrator, can you tell

  10. Francisco Francisco says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I found Hollinghurst s novel to be very enthralling and wonderfully erotic It s such a fantastic exploration of what it was like to be a part of the gay community in the early 1980s, before AIDS altered the community and its image forever.From my perspective, very recently influenced by some serious thought about the West Indian community in London, The Swimming Pool Library struck me as a fascinating perspective how did the majority view the other, especially an other that was as highly sexua I found Hollinghurst s novel to be very enthralling and wonderfully erotic It s such a fantastic exploration of what it was like to be a part of the gay community in the early 1980s, before AIDS altered the community and its image forever.From my perspective, very recently influenced by some serious thought about the West Indian community in London, The Swimming Pool Library struck me as a fascinating perspective how did the majority view the other, especially an other that was as highly sexualized as West Indians in London It seems that both men and women saw found them exotic and highly attractive but the attraction wasthan simply desire it seemed rapacious and almost imperialistic Will Beckwith, the main character, has a very lusty, admirable sexual appetite However, his tendency to exoticize and take advantage of men younger than him especially young men of color in the London he knows is something that I can t admire or approve of Still, this lustiness is something that Hollinghurst attributes to the age and the race of the title character, not necessarily something to be applauded It needs to be remembered that Will is elitist, rich, unabashedly egotistical and fairly narcissistic, and, as is noted by a character at one of the clubs if only I had the book with me right now , it is quite in vogue for the white men in London to score a young West Indian or African man Will and his boyfriend at the time, Phil both are in the club , are assumed to be on the prowl for some brown, as one of Will s former flames refers to the white hunger of the time.I definitely don t think that Hollinghurst was very critical of Will in the text at least not in an overly visible or emphatic way However, he certainly expected the reader to be His sympathetic yet unembellished portrayal of Will is very much done to give the reader the independence to decide on Will s actions and thoughts Is he nothing but a narcissist The reader is forced to look critically on Will as an Oxford graduate and as the grandson of a Peer of the British Empire His boyfriends are all lower class, and he seems to sometimes ruthlessly exploit them Hollinghurst, as I said earlier, doesn t visibly admonish Will, but he doesn t excuse his actions either.The scene when Will is gay bashed is heart wrenching Especially because bashing still happens today, the sheer violence and physicality of the scene is astounding The way that Will zones out lends the scene a surreality that is hard to stomach In fact, all of the scenes where Hollinghurst delves into discrimination and violence against the gay community is very well written and elicits very, very strong sympathy from me is it only because these situations hit so close to home for so many of us would these scenes seem as tragic to a straight person to a homophobe to a love the sinner hate the sin type When Will reads about Lord Nantwitch s arrest and trial, the reader is pulled into a meditation on the genealogy of oppression that has done so much harm to the community When we arrive at James arrest and the subsequent removal of any evidence implicating the arresting officer as a fellow but quite closeted, apparently gay, we readers are essentially asked to acknowledge and rail against the very blatant and disgusting discrimination Historical note full disclosure I had to look this one up to remember it All I remembered was Ian McKellen s role in the protests Section 28 was passed in England in 1988, but was proposed, debated, protested, and hotly contested all through the mid 80s link Hollinghurst was writing throughout this era TSPL was published in 1988, as a matter of fact , and it would be fairly ignorant of me to avoid this fact Interestingly enough, Section 28 ensured that novels like The Swimming Pool Library wouldn t be distributed by local authorities, and would very likely not be found on public municipal library shelves The Swimming Pool Library was without a doubt a very entertaining and enlightening read It was also exciting to read a book that was very unashamed of its homoeroticism Finally, a great book that titillates those of us who feel faint or quite visceral disgust at heterosexuals slobbering all over each other in literature take that, straight America The reason I rated this book a 4 5, though, is that I m fairly unsure of whether or not every reader will approach the text with a critical eye towards is very prominent but curiously latent approach to race and class, which I discussed earlier But you know what, I ve decided to change my review What a terrible reason to lower a book s rating As of now, 5 5 for The Swimming Pool Library

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