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The Sparsholt Affair

Narrated by: David Dawson
Length: 16 hrs and 36 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In October 1940, the handsome young David Sparsholt arrives in Oxford. A keen athlete and oarsman, he at first seems unaware of the effect he has on others - particularly on the lonely and romantic Evert Dax, son of a celebrated novelist and destined to become a writer himself. While the Blitz rages in London, Oxford exists at a strange remove: an ephemeral, uncertain place in which nightly blackouts conceal secret liaisons. Over the course of one momentous term, David and Evert forge an unlikely friendship that will colour their lives for decades to come....

Alan Hollinghurst's masterly new novel evokes the intimate relationships of a group of friends bound together by art, literature and love across three generations. It explores the social and sexual revolutions of the most pivotal years of the past century, whose life-changing consequences are still being played out to this day. Richly observed, disarmingly witty and emotionally charged, The Sparsholt Affair is an unmissable achievement from one of our finest writers.

©2017 Alan Hollinghurst (P)2017 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd

What members say

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Tamas Lorincz
  • Tamas Lorincz
  • 03-05-18

Good - not extraordinary

A very reliably good story with some wonderful characters, cleverness of plot, carried along by the beauty of the English language. Beautifully crafted, heart breaking story that leaves you with that familiar Hollinghurst-iesq sense of loss, emptiness, desperate love, quest for beauty, and the ultimate frustration of having lost the battle with time.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for holly bird
  • holly bird
  • 10-20-17

Life among the gay arty literati .

Winds and wends its way through lives. At times deliciously entertaining, at times not. Became a little bored with the people though, and after a while wasn't that curious to find out what was going to happen to anyone of them.



6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for David Scott
  • David Scott
  • 07-25-19

Truly Beautiful

Probably the finest book I have ever read. Incredibly poignant and written with such beautiful stylistic flair that the book becomes a joy to read not just for the story but for the sheer quality of the prose itself. A feat very few authors ever accomplish and speaks volumes of Hollinghurst's command of the English language.

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Profile Image for Noah ashworth
  • Noah ashworth
  • 03-28-19

A triumph, Hollinghurst had me from begging to end

A stark and and reviving story of one family name through the generations. An intimate touch on a lifestyle many gay men will understand.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Lori Powell
  • Lori Powell
  • 10-22-18

Thought provoking

What an incredible story of intertwining generations and the attitude of society on the lives of lgbtq people. This book is a study in emotion; joy, acceptance, loss, grief, hate, lust. .. but above all love. Gripping and marvellous with a wonderful narrator. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for V.E.Corkhill
  • V.E.Corkhill
  • 10-17-18

Disappointed

The peripheral characters added nothing to what could have been rich and colourful if only he had stuck to the original four.too long by about ten chapters.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for H.
  • H.
  • 10-11-18

Evocative of the periods covered...

I found the story absorbing, although occasional jumps in time were sometimes frustrating, they soon made sense.
The quality of Alan Hollinghurst's descriptions are wonderful and really conjure vision of the times, places and events described.
David Dawson's narration is the final cherry, wandering through believable regional accents with ease. I will be making sure to find other titles that utilise his narratory skills.

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Profile Image for lhrsydjfk
  • lhrsydjfk
  • 07-31-18

Long Slog But Worth It

Well that was a very long slog. But very, very worth it. Looking forward to reading another of his books.

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Profile Image for nigeyb
  • nigeyb
  • 06-20-18

Superb

A story which spans several decades and is told in five separate points in time. A consummate novel full of beauty, perceptive and insight. Splendidly narrated too. Exquisite.

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Profile Image for Ewa Sinclair
  • Ewa Sinclair
  • 03-09-18

About the world of art? Hardly

The mere fact that the characters are painters or writers doesn’t make a book about “the world of art”. Book lacks good intrigue.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for B_R
  • B_R
  • 05-22-18

Artful subtlety

Reading Alan Hollinghurst is like gazing at a painting for hours and constantly discovering new things in it. He has the ability to capture subtlety and gesture and nuance like no other writer. imho. In this book, things as simple as a glance between two people is given time and space to develop, so as a reader you can see the story playing out like a movie behind your eyes. From The Saprsholt Affair I have discovered listening to a Hollinghurst is more effective than reading one in order to glean these nuances and artful subtlety.

This is not a plot heavy drama but rather a book of passion and simplicity. I enjoyed all the characters and felt invested in their lives and loves. I did not need an extravagant plot to enjoy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for maree
  • maree
  • 03-10-18

Great story, wonderful performance

So loved this book. Interesting story- wonderful attention to detail and nuance.
Fantastic listening to the performer who brought the writing alive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Rodney Wetherell
  • Rodney Wetherell
  • 02-28-18

Rambling tale of gay life

I was disappointed in Alan Hollinghurst's latest novel. It comes alive when there is homo-erotic tension in a situation, but without that, it lapses into dreary narrative about uninteresting people (at least in many cases). Having the title character so wooden is a big problem too. I enjoyed it in some patches only, and was glad when I had finished the novel.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful