by Alan Hollinghurst (Picador) ISBN: 9780330483247 R190, 00
This is an awesome read, covering a few generations of how the British Aristocracy lived.
The central character, Daphne is bowled over as a sixteen year old by the poet Cecil Valance. Cecil writes her a poem which becomes a touchstone for generations. He is the week-end guest of his chum, George Sawle in George’s parents’ home called “Two Acres”.
Cecil is the central character throughout the book. Dead or alive, everyone finds him fascinating as a poet and a person. Even George finds himself seduced by Cecil’s charm. This story describes many interesting moments by the people who live the lives of English snobs. The conversations are so true to life and the descriptions of the soirees which they have after dinner, cover everything from classical music to Keats and other poets.
The author must have a following who will enjoy this book enormously. It is based on a past that is colourful and sincere and yet shows how insincere people have to be. The characters linger in my mind as if I had known them. What a huge body of work this is. One can only admire the author for writing it down so well.