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Publisher's Summary

With an introduction by Sebastian Faulks.

Winner of the Man Booker Prize, The Line of Beauty is a classic novel about class, politics and sexuality in Margaret Thatcher's 1980s Britain.

There was the soft glare of the flash - twice - three times - a gleaming sense of occasion, the gleam floating in the eye as a blot of shadow, his heart running fast with no particular need of courage as he grinned and said, 'Prime Minister, would you like to dance?'

In the summer of 1983, 23-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the wealthy Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious Tory MP, his wife, Rachel, and their children, Toby and Catherine. Innocent of politics and money, Nick is swept up into the Feddens' world and an era of endless possibility, all the while pursuing his own private obsession with beauty.

The Line of Beauty is Alan Hollinghurst's Man Booker Prize-winning masterpiece. It is a novel that defines a decade, exploring with peerless style a young man's collision with his own desires and with a world he can never truly belong to.

©2018 Alan Hollinghurst (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about The Line of Beauty

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  • DAVID
  • 10-09-18

Obvious and lusty

I'd heard many good reports of this....but after three hours all I could discern was a flimsy narrative linking the lusty thoughts and dabblings of a young Gay adventurist. Tedious repetition of the words penis, bulge, snog, hole, etc.
Bored by the boring.
And so it was abandoned.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-26-18

excellent writing and urgent listening

If you want to understand the political landscape of 1980s Britain, this is the novel. If you want to understand the history behind the current media morality panic about trans people, this is the novel. If you want to understand our current government, this is the novel.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 06-27-20

Excellent prose - but do we really need all that detail?

On reflection, I enjoyed listening to this. The narration was excellent - just the right sardonic time for the times. The writing is very beautiful too. The story moves slowly, but everything falls into place at the end, which is satisfying. But there is just too much explicit description of sex... it seems on every page. I do understand that this is an important theme... and I’m no prude, or I wouldn’t have chosen this book at all... but too much detail and too frequently just gets really tedious. If it was a paper book, I’d just skip those sections, but more difficult with audio.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Olivia
  • 04-16-22

Fascinating depiction, gorgeously written

I’m confused by the negative reviews of this book, which I can’t help feeling are fuelled (however subconsciously) by internalised homophobia… I understand the style and pace may not be for everyone, but in what way are class, politics and the AIDS epidemic ‘niche’ or uninteresting topics??

I found this a fantastically evocative, wry, observant and sad depiction of 80s Britain. Or, more specifically, of a young gay man’s experience brushing shoulders with the mega-wealthy/political elite in 80s Britain. Rich subject matter, deftly executed - the writing really is masterful.

It’s not a page turner exactly - it took me a while to get through - but I savoured every line, and finished with the overwhelming sense that this was a book I was going to remember for a long time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Pavarotta
  • 03-12-20

Dull

I had high hopes of this novel as I love this narrator, who can usually bring anything to life, and I liked the sound of the storyline. However, I found it at best unengaging, at worst boring and mannered.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 12-26-18

Boring

Aimed at a limited interest group. Cliche ridden. Hardly of interest to a wide audience.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-22

What were the Booker judges thinking?

To say ‘Not what I expected’, would be an understatement. At times it felt like House & Gardens meets the Tatler with some Jackie Collins thrown in. The writing was good, descriptions, turns of phrase etc, but where was the plot? The protagonist, Nick Guest went from naive 21 year old looking for love in 1983, to still pretty naive Nick Guest in 1987.
It was all so predictable. The excitement & tragedy of his sexual love with Leo Charles. The hypocrisy & double standards of the upper middle class & aristocracy of Thatcher’s Britain. The spectre of AIDS. On paper this could have been a tender look at the fears of the 1980’s gay community, while critiquing the double standards of those in power. Instead, it wasn’t. Pretty writing isn’t enough. I have to care about the characters, even if they are unlikeable.

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  • ben carey
  • 09-09-21

Transcends Genre

Absolute masterpiece. Complex characters, a protagonist with ambiguous morals leads us through a portion of sex, drugs, politics & first love - all handled expertly. The reeason this book was so successful is due to its honesty & accuracy with a genuinely interesting story. Also the sadness, hypocrisy & betrayal that the author showcases - in 80’s London high society is subtle & powerful. A book you won’t forget

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  • Barbara Cakebread-Brown
  • 08-27-21

Dreary

Dreary. Nothing spurred me on to read after the third chapter so I gave up

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-24-20

Holds your attention

Well crafted story from a good author. Very good reader. Enjoyable commentary on the 80's.

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  • Ilona35
  • 05-15-21

How can I get my money back?

Biggest disappointment ever. Want my money back. This book only if you like gay pornography.

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  • MISS
  • 07-03-20

Thatchers Britain

The novel gives an insight into Thatchers Britain, through the eyes of the Nick Guest. Nick's observations of the family and the times in an exploration of rich and poor, gay and straight gives a good understanding of living in London in the 1980s.