The Sparsholt Affair
From the winner of the Man Booker Prize, a masterly novel that spans seven transformative decades as it plumbs the complex relationships of a remarkable family.
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 powerful effect on others--especially on Evert Dax, the lonely and romantic 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 exists at a strange remove: a place of fleeting beauty, of secret liaisons under the cover of blackouts. A friendship develops between David and Evert that will influence their lives for decades to come.
Alan Hollinghurst's sweeping new novel evokes across three generations the intimate relationships of a group of friends brought together by art, literature, and love. We witness shifts in taste and morality through a series of vividly rendered episodes: a Sparsholt holiday in Cornwall; eccentric gatherings at the Dax family home; the adventures of David's son Johnny, a painter in 1970s London. Richly observed, emotionally charged, this dazzling novel of fathers and sons, of family and legacy, explores the social and sexual revolutions of the past century, even as it takes us straight to the heart of our current age.
The Sparsholt Affair is the long-awaited sixth novel from the supreme stylist of British fiction and previous winner of the Man Booker Prize. From Oxford during the dark days of the Second world war to contemporary London, this is a masterly novel about sexuality, art and family secrets.
Hollinghurst is a master storyteller ... thrilling in the rather awful way that the best Victorian novels are, so that one finds oneself galloping somewhat shamefacedly through the pages in order to discover what happens next. -- John Banville Hollinghurst can make language do what he wants . . . It makes a lot of contemporary fiction seem thin and underachieving. * Evening Standard * Few writers' prose can throw a party as easily as retire to the library as Hollinghurst's * Spectator * Mr. Hollinghurst's great gift as a novelist is for social satire as sharp and transparent as glass, catching his quarry from an angle just an inch to the left of the view they themselves would catch in the mantelpiece mirror. * The New York Observer *