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The Swimming Pool Library Audiobook

The Swimming Pool Library

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Publisher's Summary

This novel centres on the friendship of William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, who is searching for someone to write his biography.

©2006 Alan Hollinghurst; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (152 )
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4.1 (95 )
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4.5 (94 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Aoife East Ivanhoe, Australia 12-29-11
    Aoife East Ivanhoe, Australia 12-29-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Beautifully Written and Read"

    This story is about gay life. That is the heart of it. If you are offended by that (and it includes explicit sex) then this is not for you. However, what you will be missing is superb writing and an amazing debut novel which showed what a genius Hollinghurst is. All his books are marvellous, with The Line of Beauty, which won the Booker, being a very worthy winner. There is an audiobook of that which sadly Audible doesn't have but would be fantastic if they got it.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peregrine Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-15-11
    Peregrine Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-15-11 Member Since 2016

    If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.

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    "Strong stuff"

    Swimming Pool Library is beautifully written and will give you a vivid picture of the life depicted. As a straight man I endeavored to give all the gay sexuality the same distance I gave the sexuality of "straight" characters whose taste differs from mine--cf. Lolita or anything by Pynchon. But don't think you can just skim over it and get back to the plot. Gay sexuality is THE subject of this book.

    Excellent reader.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Here-and-faraway 07-06-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Offers Insight"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It depends on the friend. This book is NOT for everyone. It graphically describes the life of a promiscuous gay man. So if the topic of homosexuality or detailed sex scenes disturb you, then steer clear. Also, black people are almost like fetish objects in this novel. Many of the upper-crust, white British men in the novel are VERY attracted to Africans. Although the wealthy men are genuinely sickened by hate crimes, they also don't quite see black people as "human" either. It's like people from Africa are viewed as some sort of enchanted, mythological creatures to be sought after and adored. I don't want to give the impression that the book centers on race relations, but some of the ways that black people are described made me feel uncomfortable. I think that Hollinghurst purposely did this to further explore the idea of what it's like to be viewed as an "other" in mainstream society.<br/><br/>I would recommend this book to a friend who loves beautiful writing and strong characterization. I would recommend it to a friend who enjoys thinking about things that they've never considered before. Before this novel, I never thought about how so much "homosexual history" was covered up, changed, or never recorded to begin with. Just like in Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child, the idea of what is forgotten and what is chosen to be remembered hangs heavily. <br/><br/>


    What did you like best about this story?

    How it let me see the world through a new set of eyes.


    What does Samuel West bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is a fantastic narrator. All of his characters sound unique and he does a fantastic job with different dialects and accents. Perfect pacing, smooth voice, lovely narration, perfect execution of wit... I would love to hear another story read by him.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, but I don't want to spoil things for you... There's a part that will stick with me for a long time.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 08-04-12
    John SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Hollinghurst's first and among the best."
    If you could sum up The Swimming Pool Library in three words, what would they be?

    great period piece


    What did you like best about this story?

    Listening to it twenty years after reading it made me realize how much I had changed. It's a great description of upper class British life. Hollinghurst's lush writing is in full bloom.


    What does Samuel West bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Sam West's narration makes this an good example of listening surpassing reading. His Lord Nantwich is spot on. It's Hollinghurst's ear for British language that provides such great material. Sam brings the fellow to life.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Gay England in the late 20th century.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ChrisW Washington DC 01-23-16
    ChrisW Washington DC 01-23-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A meandering journey"

    I enjoyed this book quite a lot. The storyline goes on without much point, but the emotion, feeling and self absorption of the main character is very interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marianne PETERSHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, United States 11-10-16
    Marianne PETERSHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, United States 11-10-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Beautifully written and timeless story"
    Would you listen to The Swimming Pool Library again? Why?

    Yes, Holinghusrt is a wonderful writer and Sam West is a brilliant reader with a wide ranging ability to express character through his different use of accent.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Swimming Pool Library?

    Anything to do with Nantwich, which was very touching.


    What about Samuel West’s performance did you like?

    His voice and wide range ability of accent, male, female, west Indian, English.


    If you could take any character from The Swimming Pool Library out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    James, he comes across as charming and knowledgable


    Any additional comments?

    Please will you ask Sam West to record Holinghust's LINE OF BEAUTY.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus 09-27-16
    Marcus 09-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Difficult but rewarding"

    The characters are so difficult to connect with, but their single-minded pursuit of life's fleeting pleasure is totally redeeming. The beauty of his descriptive prose is definitely worth the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T Cyr Missoula, MT United States 05-08-14
    T Cyr Missoula, MT United States 05-08-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Fun & Interesting, with lots of steamy bits!"

    Samuel West keeps this story interesting and going through great definition of character. Not sure where the plot was always going, or even if there was a plot, more like the meanderings of the main character's thoughts. Lots of great sex, vivid and colorful romp into gay life. Kind of a refreshing journey to be taken on to a time forgotten, how carefree the 80's actually were. Hollinghurst is an interesting writer who puts the most interesting spin on the most banal circumstances. Totally enjoyed all the way through. It's a great book to listen to while you garden.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua ASBURY, NJ, United States 11-15-12
    Joshua ASBURY, NJ, United States 11-15-12 Member Since 2016

    Choreographer. Director. Actor. Educator. And lover of audio books! They are theatre for the mind!

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    "Was there even a story!!!???"

    While the book was beautifully written with vivid language and distinct characters where the hell was the plot???? There was no plot and by the end there was no resolution for any of the characters. However Samuel West did an amazing job as the narrator. He is the only reason i finished the book!

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Gillman 12-19-14 Member Since 2009
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    "A delightful story, beautifully read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Swimming Pool Library the most enjoyable?

    Samuel West is an artist, delight to listen to. I loved having been consistently and artfully placed in the London locations I know well and love. In that respect it reminded me of the Forsyte Saga.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters, the eras, especially the beautifully rendered dialogue


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Melanie
    Swindon, United Kingdom
    9/11/11
    Overall
    "The sex gets tedious"

    I feel like I wasted a credit on this so was compelled to write a review. I'm sure it is a great novel: it seems to be well-written and is beautifully read. However, I found it hard to follow the plot or sustain interest because of the continual sex scenes, which are described in detail, and were very boring to listen to. A previous review pointed this out and I have to agree. Maybe it would be of more interest if I were a gay man but it definitely wasn't for me.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful

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