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The Stranger’s Child

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The Stranger's Child, Alan Hollinghurst, book reviewThe Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst is a large book which spans the majority of the 20th century. It tells the story of a young poet, Cecil Valance, although he dies relatively early in the story during the First World War leaving behind a modest group of poems, mainly secondary rate, but one or two of which enter the public consciousness in the English-speaking world. The fulcrum of the novel is a weekend in the late summer of 1913 when Cecil comes to stay at the house of his close Cambridge friend, George Sawle. The actions of Cecil during that weekend and the ways in which he interacts with the Sawle family members and their retainers sends out ripples which penetrate the remainder of the novel and eventually extend into the late 20th century.

The Stranger’s Child is Hollinghurst’s first novel since The Line of Beauty won the Man Booker prize in 2004.


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