READ PDF ⚜ The Swimming-Pool Library · eBook or Kindle ePUB free

READ PDF Á The Swimming-Pool Library ô 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 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 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 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 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 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