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I skønhedens tjeneste : roman (2004)

af Alan Hollinghurst

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4,5581132,470 (3.6)332
I 1983 flytter unge, homoseksuelle Nick Guest ind på loftsværelset hos den ambitiøse politiker Gerald Feddens og hans rige kone Rachel. Han bliver ven af familien og hvirvles ind i deres selskabelige liv samtidig med, at han indleder et forhold til en millionær, et forhold, som drastisk ændrer hans liv.… (mere)
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Engelsk (106)  Hollandsk (4)  Svensk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (112)
Viser 1-5 af 112 (næste | vis alle)
This novel begins in 1983 when middle-class Nick Guest has just graduated from Oxford. He comes down to London and is given a room in the prosperous home of one of his classmates. The father, Gerald Fedden, is a conservative MP, and the mother, Rachel, comes from a wealthy banking family. Nick makes himself useful to the family in one way or another over the next several years. He becomes an inside observer of the workings of the upper classes, the wealthy and the politically connected during the Thatcher years. As an observer, Nick basically remains an outsider (though he doesn't always recognize this himself), and never really becomes a full participant in the goings-on. And since Nick is gay, the book is also the story of gay life in London during the onset of the AIDS epidemic.

The novel is divided into three parts. The first part takes place in 1983 when Nick has just come down to London and has his first love affair with Leo, a young but more experienced civil servant. The second part takes place in 1986 when Nick is both working for and having an affair with Wani, a former Oxford classmate. In the last part, in 1987, AIDS is ravaging Nick's social group, and disasters of other sorts are befalling one after another of the other characters.

Hollinghurst writes beautifully, and I was always fully engaged in this book. The book is full of insightful and perceptive observations about the time, the place, culture, and the society in which these characters move. (One reviewer compared the book and its social observations to Proust). The book serves both as a very personal story of one man and his friends, and as a political and societal history of the Thatcher years. I highly recommend it.

4 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Aug 16, 2023 |
I read this at the suggestion of Mark for a group read this month. It wasn't so much a group read, as a parallel read. I'm glad for the nudge. Set in Thatcher's England, and follows a young gay man living his life in two worlds, the LGBT community and the upper crust political world of the family he lives with. I naively, totally forgot that this was set in the 80s and should have realized that AIDS would play a picture in the story and when it reared its ugly head, I was caught off guard. An award winning book that is well worth the time. For the group, if you're keeping track, at just over 500 pages, I'm adding it to the 75 Chunksters list.

Some quotes...
The strange, the marvelous thing was that at no point did Gerald say what he considered Nick actually to have done. It seemed as natural as day to him to dress up the pet lamb as the scapegoat.

"These champagne flutes are simply enormous!" she said. "I know, they're sort of champagne tubas, aren't they," said Nick

She noticed nothing, and yet she remembered everything ( )
  mahsdad | Jun 30, 2023 |
“The pursuit of love seemed to need the cultivation of indifference.”

It is 1983, London. The Thatcher years. Nick Guest is a twenty year old gay man living in an attic bedroom of the Feddens, a wealthy influential family. Gerald Fedden is a Member of Parliament. Nick and their son Toby were friends at Oxford. Nick comes from a more modest background, but is smart and cultured and fits in well with this top-tier family. As the narrative moves through the 80s, cracks begin to appear in and scandals are looming, threatening to break this family apart and Nick finds himself in the middle of it.
This was my introduction to Hollinghurst and this Booker Prize-winning ended up being the perfect place to start. The writing is excellent and so is the story-tellling. This does deal with gay culture in the 1980s, which of course includes the AIDs crisis. It makes the perfect companion piece to The Great Believers. Highly recommended. ( )
  msf59 | Jun 15, 2023 |
In the tradition of Anthony Powell, I think, and Evelyn Waugh. Part two is very funny, the ending melancholy. The best of his books I’ve yet read. The prose is nearly perfect, and the plot quite absorbing. His insights and figurative language are impressive throughout. One of those books that I was sorry to finish . ( )
  gtross | Apr 26, 2023 |
Out of collection ( )
  Honisoitquimalypense | Nov 2, 2022 |
Viser 1-5 af 112 (næste | vis alle)
But the plot isn’t the point. This novel’s pleasures are thick and deep, growing out of the brilliant observational powers of the main character.
 

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Heuvelmans, TonOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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I 1983 flytter unge, homoseksuelle Nick Guest ind på loftsværelset hos den ambitiøse politiker Gerald Feddens og hans rige kone Rachel. Han bliver ven af familien og hvirvles ind i deres selskabelige liv samtidig med, at han indleder et forhold til en millionær, et forhold, som drastisk ændrer hans liv.

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