The Sparsholt Affair

The Sparsholt Affair

by Alan Hollinghurst

Overview:In 1940, the handsome, athletic, and charismatic David Sparsholt arrives at Oxford University to study engineering, 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. Spanning three generations, The Sparsholt Affair plumbs the ways the friendship between these two men will influence their lives—and the lives of others’—for decades to come. Richly observed and emotionally charged, this is a dazzling novel of fathers and sons, of family and legacy, and of the longing for permanence amid life’s inevitable transience..

Carole Zwicker(12/28/18): Let me begin by saying that Hollinghurst's prose, although at times fragmented, proves to be beautiful and nothing short of exquisite. The reader can imagine being there. This novel covers a period of roughly 70 years in the life of fathers and sons, from WWII to the present. The first part finds one of the main characters, David Sparsholt, at Oxford where he attracts much attention from his entourage. I loved these 100 pages and was excited about reading the rest but I found it difficult to sort out. The titular "affair" is never fully explained but seems to hover in the background a great deal of the time. Art and homosexuality are frequent and important threads but relationships of fathers and sons are foremost. Hollinghurst is the Man Booker Prize winner for 2004 for The Line of Beauty. I would certainly like to read more of this author's work.
Rating: ****

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