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In 1940, David Sparsholt arrives at Oxford to study engineering, though his sights are set on joining the Royal Air Force. Handsome, athletic, charismatic, he is 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. With the world at war, and the Blitz raging in London, Oxford nevertheless exists at a strange remove: a place of fleeting beauty - and secret liaisons. A friendship develops between these two young men that will have unexpected consequences as the novel unfolds.
Alan Hollinghurst's new novel explores the legacy of David Sparsholt across three generations, on friends and family alike; we experience through its characters changes in taste, morality, and private life in a sequence of vividly rendered episodes: a Sparsholt holiday in Cornwall; eccentric social gatherings at the Dax family home; the adventures of David's son Johnny, a painter in 1970s London; the push and pull in a group of friends brought together by art, literature, and love. And evoking the increasing openness of gay life, The Sparsholt Affair becomes a meditation on human transience, even as it poignantly expresses the longing for permanence and continuity. Witty, tender, epic in scope yet rich in observation, this is a dazzling novel of fathers and sons; of family and home by a writer hailed by The Wall Street Journal as "one of the best novelists at work today".
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By J. Roose on 04-16-18
Beautifully written book
I am a huge fan of Alan Hollinghurst and think this is his best book, so far, although I loved The Line of Beauty too. The rich detail of the telling of this story comes through beautifully.
The narrator was excellent. His ability with different voices was superb and enriched the experience of reading this book. Bravo!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful