Framed in time

19 October 2017 | by Morag MacInnes


The blurb on the back of this book – from The Observer – describes the author as “a great English stylist in full maturity”. I’m interested in this quote because it highlights some of the problems I found in the novel. “Style” can take the place of substance. “Maturity” is the time when the past begins to seem more real than the present.

We move in time from Second World War Oxford, all murky blackout and all-night fire-watching, through the decriminalisation of homosexuality, to 2012: porn, dyslexia, dating apps, sperm donation. Hollinghurst is brilliant at evoking the past.

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