by Alan Hollinghurst - £9.99 Picador (2005)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780330483216 | ISBN 10: 0330483218
It is the summer of 1983 and young Nick Guest has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children Toby and Catherine. Nick had idolized Toby at Oxford, but in his London life it will be the troubled Catherine, the critic and rebel of the family, who becomes both his friend and his uneasy responsibility.
As the boom years of the mid-1980s unfold, Nick, an innocent in matters of politics and money, becomes caught up in the Fedden's world - its grand parties, its surprising alliances, its parade of monsters both comic and menacing.
In an era of endless possibility, Nick finds himself able to pursue his own private obsession, with beauty - a prize as compelling to him as power and riches are to his friends. An affair with a young black council worker gives him his first experience of romance; but it is a later affair, with a beautiful millionaire, that will change his life more drastically and bring into question the larger fantasies of a ruthless decade.
Framed by the two general elections which returned Mrs Thatcher to power, The Line of Beauty unfurls through four extraordinary years of change and tragedy. Richly textured, emotionally charged, disarmingly funny, it is a major work by one of the finest writers in the English language.
(Price & availability last checked: May 2018)