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The Line of Beauty
"The Line of Beauty" is one of the most amazing books I have read. The storytelling is wild, understated, humorous and devastating.
Nick Guest is heartbreaking in his following his line of beauty, and acceptance of all things - from his duties, desires and exploits and, most importantly, of himself. [edited for plot spoiler] The truth about Beauty is this: It is primal, messy and completely untamable.
I had read good reviews of this book and was delighted to be given a hard back copy for Christmas. After 80 pages I put it to one side because I wasn't enjoying the writing, the plot or the characters - a nice cover only takes you so far. Then a friend started reading it because another friend had raved about the book - so I started again, and again - this time I got to around 200 pages. Then I realized that you do not always have to finish what you start - I did have free will. So the book remains, and will remain, unfinished - Nice jacket design though!
I liked this book because the language is exquisite (of a pianist he writes: She had a lot of temperament and a terrifying left hand.) I liked it because as the reader, to understand the characters you had to behave like the main one - Nick Guest - and simply observe their behavior. The characters while not likeable in some cases and also at times caricatures were stealthily compelling - so much so that immediately after reading a book so well written, when I might normally be high on the exhilaration of words - all I felt was sad. A really good book, but still not as good as Small Island by Levy or Corelli's Madolin by de Bernieres.