The Sparsholt Affair

Category: Book
By (author): Hollinghurst, Alan
Subject:  FICTION / Gay
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Historical
  FICTION / Literary
Publisher: Knopf Random Vintage Canada
Published: February 2019
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 512
Size: 8.00in x 5.18in
Our Price:
$ 22.00
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*From the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of The Line of Beauty comes a sweeping novel that explores richly complex relationships between fathers and sons as it spans seven transformative decades in England, from the 1940s through the present.

Alan Hollinghurst's sweeping novel evokes across three generations the intimate relationships of a group of friends brought together by art, literature and love. In 1940, the handsome, athletic, charismatic David Sparsholt arrives at Oxford University to study engineering, 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. In The Sparsholt Affair, Hollinghurst transports readers across decades through a series of vividly rendered episodes: a Sparsholt holiday in Cornwall; eccentric gatherings at the Dax family home; the adventures of David's son Johnny, a painter in 1970s London. With tenderness, wit, and keen insight, the novel explores the social and sexual revolutions of the past century, even as it takes us straight to the heart of our current age. Richly observed and emotionally charged, this is a story of fathers and sons, of family and legacy, and of the longing for permanence amid life's inevitable transience, by the writer hailed by The Wall Street Journal as "one of the best novelists at work today."

"The Sparsholt Affair is masterly in scope. . . . [Hollinghurst] combines his broad sweep with plenty of equally impressive close-up analysis-and all in prose that manages to be both utterly sumptuous and utterly precise. . . . Like Hollinghurst's other books, The Sparsholt Affair is dazzlingly good: the best new novel I think I've read this year." -James Walton, The Spectator (UK)

"This luminous novel has a bit of everything, crossing decades and perspectives to show how secrets and social upheaval transform a single family." -Reader's Digest
"The Sparsholt Affair confirms Alan Hollinghurst's status as a literary master. . . . He's simply brilliant at capturing the nuance textures of life-everything from the enveloping hues of moonlight and the exact sounds of the street-like the great sneeze, as he calls it, of a truck braking to the insecurities, resentments and lusts that race through the guests at a party. The Sparsholt Affair is filled with scenes that let us feel what it is to stand atop a tower, watching for German bombers, bid at your first auction or paint a portrait of an entitled rich family you just can't stand. . . . [Hollinghurst's] books crackle with the rebellious energy that, here, has been harnessed to the more refined ends of a literary master." -John Powers, NPR

"Like Henry James, [Hollinghurst] writes prose so dense with lines of beauty that you can't quite catch up to them in real time, lines that are razor close to human experience and yet-or therefore-retain a continual capacity for surprise. There's nothing he could write that I wouldn't read." -Charles Finch, Chicago Tribune

"More expansive and arguably even better than Hollinghurst's Booker Prize–winning The Line of Beauty, [Hollinghurst's] sixth novel turns the exquisite writer's chief concerns, queer history and postwar Britain, into an ingeniously told family saga." -Boris Kachka, Vulture

"To read an Alan Hollinghurst novel is to encounter beauty in its many forms. There's the beauty of the sentences-Jamesian sentences that somehow are both intensely shaped and effortlessly supple. There are the beautiful characters whose fit bodies promise the sex that Hollinghurst usually delivers. There are the beautiful houses, and the beautiful paintings, and the beautiful poems. Hollinghurst is a wicked satirist and a delicious plotter, but I most admire the seriousness with which he takes beauty-its relationship to pleasure and power, secrecy and love. . . . As the novel proceeds, its own beauties deepen." -San Francisco Chronicle

"The joy [Hollinghurst] takes in life's small shards of beauty don't feel like a wordsmith's performance but instead like the joy of life itself. . . . Time passes and people die. The instants of pure splendor are what make life livable, make it writable. The Sparsholt Affair affirms them, again." -The New Republic
Biographical NoteALAN HOLLINGHURST is the author of The Stranger's Child, The Swimming-Pool Library, The Spell, The Folding Star and the Man Booker Prize-winning and NBCC Award finalist The Line of Beauty. He has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. He lives in London.