Thursday, April 01, 2010

Character analysis

On my list of undisputably great novels of the last decade (the last century!): Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty. Really it must be read to be believed, but here is an early passage I like quite a bit:
Leo was certainly quite an egotist — Catherine’s graphological analysis had been spot on. But he didn’t expound his inner feelings. He did something Nick couldn’t imagine doing himself, which was to make statements about the sort of person he was. “I’m the sort of guy who needs a lot of sex,” he said, and, “I’m like that, I always say what I think.” Nick wondered for a moment if he’d inadvertently contradicted him. “I don’t bear grudges,” Leo said sternly: “I’m not that kind of person.” “I’m sure you’re not,” Nick said, with a quick discountenancing shudder. And perhaps this was a useful skill, or tactic, in the blind-date world, even if Nick’s modesty and natural fastidiousness kept him from replying in the same style (“I’m the sort of guy who likes Pope more than Wordsworth,” “I’m crazy about sex but I haven’t had it yet”).


  1. That is wonderful - thanks for quoting. I think that Alan Hollinghurst is an excellent writer - have you read the Swimming Pool Library? I was spellbound by that one.

    Thanks for sharing -


  2. "the pope controversy": topical!!