Fin C. Gray


I feel somewhat bereft that I have now finished all of Alan Hollinghurst’s books and I know there will be a long wait for the next one. I feel partly sure this is because he appears to have a perfectionist’s approach to writing.

Much of his prose feels intricately wrought, almost poetic and rhythmic sometimes; this is not to say that it is ever overwrought or wordy. Quite the opposite in fact. His is the sort of writing that makes one marvel at his craft and his superior literary ability.

The Sparsholt Affair spans some seventy years and gives us a memorable set of characters woven into a complex framework of relationships and events with an intriguing scandal haunting the whole thing. The affair is hinted at, asked outright about and underpins the entire narrative superbly right until the final few paragraphs. By the time you reach the last page, you can’t help but want it to go on and have more revealed. This is one of Mr. Hollinghurst’s strengths; he is able to satiate his readers while making them yearn for more.

I hope he continues to give us novels of such outstanding quality for many years to come. He is a modern literary powerhouse. I just wish he was more prolific. (less)