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The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst

The Stranger's Child

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Winner of the Galaxy UK Author of the Year Award 2011.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011.

July 2011 Book of the Month.

This is Alan Hollinghurst's first novel since The Line of Beauty, winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize. As in The Line of Beauty, his impeccably nuanced exploration of changing taste, class and social etiquette is conveyed in deliciously witty and observant prose. Exposing our secret longings to the shocks and surprises of time, The Stranger's Child is an enthralling novel from one of the finest writers in the English language.

At the centre of this often richly comic history of sexual mores and literary reputation runs the story of Daphne, from innocent girlhood to wary old age. Around her Hollinghurst draws an absorbing picture of an England constantly in flux.

If you like Alan Hollinghurst you might also like to read books by Jennifer Egan, Sebastian Barry and Benjamin Wood.


The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst

In the late summer of 1913 the aristocratic young poet Cecil Valance comes to stay at 'Two Acres', the home of his close Cambridge friend George Sawle. The weekend will be one of excitements and confusions for all the Sawles, but it is on George's sixteen-year-old sister Daphne that it will have the most lasting impact, when Cecil writes her a poem which will become a touchstone for a generation, an evocation of an England about to change for ever.

Linking the Sawle and Valance families irrevocably, the shared intimacies of this weekend become legendary events in a larger story, told and interpreted in different ways over the coming century, and subjected to the scrutiny of critics and biographers with their own agendas and anxieties. In a sequence of widely separated episodes we follow the two families through startling changes in fortune and circumstance.


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About the Author

Alan Hollinghurst

Alan Hollinghurst was born in Stroud in Gloucestershire, England in 1954 and was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. Between 1982 and 1995 he was on the staff of the Times Literary Supplement.

His first novel, The Swimming-Pool Library (1988), gives a vivid account of gay life in London during the early 1980s. It was followed by The Folding Star (1994), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). In 1998 he published Spell, a gay comedy of manners.

Hollinghurst's credits include the translation of Jean Racine's 17th century play, Bajazet, which was first performed in 1990.

The Line of Beauty, published in 2004, describes four years of change and tragedy in 1980s Britain; it won the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Hollinghurst lives in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th April 2011


Alan Hollinghurst

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Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan




Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Historical Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites



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