The protagonist in this novel is exploring his sexuality, but seems obsessed He is a young gay man, who wants to open doors within a sphere of influence due to money and power, neither of which he has His fawning need to be all things to all people is tedious, but his observations of social s are accurate and detailed This is the strength of the novel You can see that he is going to be the agent of a scandal In that the protagonist has lost sight of the bigger picture Personally I have had to take frequent breaks from reading this novel His promiscurity is irritating in that it is indiscriminate See what you think. Winner Of The Man Booker Prize, Alan Hollinghurst S The Line Of Beauty Is A Classic Novel About Class, Politics And Sexuality In Margaret Thatcher S S Britain It Is The Summer Of , And Young Nick Guest, An Innocent In The Matters Of Politics And Money, 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 Who Becomes His Friend And His Uneasy Responsibility Innocent Of Politics And Money, Nick Is Swept Up Into The Feddens World And An Era Of Endless Possibility, All The While Pursuing His Own Private Obsession With Beauty The Line Of Beauty Is Alan Hollinghurst S Man Booker Prize Winning Masterpiece It Is A Novel That Defines A Decade, Exploring With Peerless Style A Young Man S Collision With His Own Desires, And With A World He Can Never Truly Belong To Reading this was, for me, like a long vacation in a gorgeous and sacred place A perfect book with beautifully crafted sentences, descriptions of place that carry the weight of story, and then also masterful scene and character development It s a book that anyone interested in writing or reading like a writer should read to learn about a beautiful line, the clear and expansive point of view of a close narrator Let it wash over you.And readers of all kinds should read this Don t be put off by the novel of manners feel of it, because this is subversive, and in its subversion is its emotional depth High school students should be reading this book for its deep reach into the world of hidden lives, the random judgments we feel entitled to make.Important and wonderful book.Highly recommend. This was a book about the period during Margaret Thatcher s reign in Great Britain It was also about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and how it decimated promising intellectuals of the era The story was fascinating and character development most satisfying It also showed the promiscuity of the ruling class I would highly recommend it. SPOILER ALERTMiddle class but upwardly hopeful Nick Guest comes to Tory MP Gerald Fedden s house first as a vacation houseminder, and ostensible watcher of the unstable daughter Catherine Cat Nick is in pursuit of beauty of a certain type Beauty is in many things, but Nick is enthralled by beauty as manifested in privileged lives and its beautiful things.Invited to stay after the vacation as a useful dogsbody, he gets to be the hanger on of wealth, and dabbler in their society Always obsequious, he becomes a foil for family head and MP Gerald s boasting, a constant reassurance and dutiful quasi son to the mother Rachel he s much sympathetic to her than to his own mother, who he is vaguely ashamed of and a companion and minder to the manic depressive Cat.Nick s biggest problem, as a character, is that he is such a sycophantic bluenose With his labor friends, he reviles Thatcher, and comments negatively on Gerald To Gerald and his friends and relations, he acts the supportive, respectful Tory This chameleon like character makes him hard to respect.Supposedly working on getting an advance degree on Henry James at UCL in London, he seems in pursuit of love But after dabbling in a relationship with middle class clerk who it is foreshadowed will dump him because he has no money he becomes a kept boy for a rich Lebanese millionaire, and former Oxford classmate Wani Ouradi Nick s finances are tied to his tentative relationship with Ouradi his living and personal situation tied to his relationship with the Feddens While other rich companions from his graduate class are starting lives, making names and fortunes, middle class Nick s can t leave the mein of his college companions but can t afford it himself, he was a scholarship student at Oxford so remains stuck in sycophantic roles to stay in that social set.Nick was enthralled with Henry James, but the real line of beauty is enthralling than its fictional dissection Instead Nick helps start up Wani s magazine film company OGEE named after the line of beauty arch But Wani is something of a dilettante, interested in cocaine, porn and sex Nick s job is something of a pose Wani goes through a lot of cocaine, a lot of rent boys, a lot of sex with Nick He gives Nick a salary and car, while they do tacit work on the magazine and a film script But Wani openly reviles Nick as just another one of the many paid sluts who takes his money Nick basically is a respectable looking, safe, but hidden sexual companion, no acknowledged than the anonymous rent boys.Nick constantly professes love to his lovers and adopted family But none take Him seriously as if sensing his shallowness Indeed, often the sentence after Nick professes love to someone, he wonders at himself for doing so Whatever these relationships are, they aren t love His first lover , it is hinted at, trades Nick up for someone with funds, before Nick snags Wani, wanting to love him for his physical beauty, even knowing Wani s faults There s convenience, and a bit of regard, but no real tie.Similarly, Nick tells Catherine that he loves her family, but he s there for a job as well as a minder to Catherine, a general dogsbody, and an impressionable and appreciative mirror reflecting their wealth Because Nick loves the Fedden s privileged life, he gives it brilliance, a reflective glow Therein lies his real usefulness Oxford educated and a quasi Don, he offers a tacit legitimacy in his otherwise middle class admiration that someone else wouldn t be able to offer even perhaps get in the door Gerald shows off to him, and uses him as a verification of their own wealth and privilege Nick s basically just a different kind of slut for the Feddens.Meant to be a sort of touchstone, Catherine reviles pretense, babbles of speaking truths She s angry that Nick doesn t leave Wani because their relationship must be kept hidden When he tells her he stays with Wani because he finds him so physically beautiful she tells him that people shouldn t be loved because they are beautiful That people are beautiful because we love them.Nick only usefulness requires being a convenient reflective foil for beauty, but that means keeping ugliness hidden Gerald s indiscretions, Wani destructive lifestyle, etc When Catherine, in a manic phase, blurts out some of these truths to the press, Nick s only usefulness then is as a sort of scapegoat Wani, now dying of AIDS, pays Nick off in his will, but never speaks of love And Nick discovers there was never any love in these relationships, nor any beauty But has he learned his shallow quest was in vain The story ends in ambiguity Both Nick s lovers succumb to AIDS We don t know if Nick is HIV positive In the film, the impression is left that he has been lucky in that, even as he still searches, clueless, for beauty In the book, which goes a bit darkly into Nick s insincerities and obsequiousness, Nick believes he will become positive as well Both end with Nick, and the rest of the characters not having learned much Adversity hasn t made them better Rather their own flaws have brought them all down So it is hardly a positive story Even Catherine, who reveals others truths and secrets, does it from a manic sense of mischievousness, and not from any sense of moral certainty One telling scene is of her sitting in her Uncle s French manoir telling a multi millionaire, who didn t contribute than fifty pence to a church restoration that he has too much money When he asks her and she has a significant inheritance what she gave, she claims she had no money on her Some reviewers, and I think the author, make a thing of that Nick s troubles may have to do with homophobia I didn t see that The gap between Nick and the Feddens, even between Nick as a potential mate for Wani was financial and cultural than gender oriented Nick was a hanger on, a sycophant, a leech, because he thirsted after what he saw as a beautiful lifestyle Gerald was brought down by a financial scandal, then by a petty affair with his secretary When the news of Nick s sexuality came out in the papers, it wasn t as if everyone in Gerald s circle didn t know Nick was gay Nick never made a secret of it, except to Wani s father Gerald flies in a fury at Nick because he thinks that Nick told his daughter about Gerald s affair with his secretary, that Nick had secret knowledge of And that Cat blabbed to the papers Without that, Gerald might have survived the financial scandal But Cat discerned that herself.In his rage Gerald includes a lot of slurs against gays, as well as against middle class opportunists, etc, when he reviles Nick Certainly Nick s being gay was a central part of his life, but I don t think it was all that central to the plot s denouement To me, that had to do with character, not gender orientation Nick s problems were because he didn t build a life of his own, but instead based his life on being a hanger on for others, attracted by a lifestyle he had no legitimate ownership of His father was a buyer and seller of antiquities, a caretaker of ancient clocks in mansions Nick didn t want to come to the mansions merely as a winder of clocks, or to even buy and sell the clocks He wanted to live in the mansions.In the end, he might have learned that beautiful things don t necessarily make for beautiful people And even with beautiful people, that beauty is only skin deep But that too is left ambiguous These characters end the book no better, in most cases much worse, and with no insight, than when they entered It s a hard book to like, for that reason But the characters are so clearly drawn, even if they are rather shallow, unworthy characters that you want something to have happened I think the author has a dislike for the period and these characters, and doesn t believe anything good should come out of it One of the most striking scenes is when the housekeeper tells Nick she always suspected he was no good Nick is stunned, but as reader we have to be in tacit agreement, having seen the false part Nick has often played in all his relationships Still, the lack of any positive resolution means that the characters stay in your head because you wish it ended otherwise. This book of course is well written but the characters are just despicable I hated Nick the gay character the most He never once stood up for himself Books should be better than this Seems to be just another sad gay novel a la Boys in the Band.