If ever a novel has perfectly captured the greed, venality, stupidity and tragedy of the 1980s, this is it. Hollinghurst shows the arrogance of politicians, the vanity of youth, the lust for life and experience. And yet, these people are crossed by scandal, and stalked by HIV/AIDS. A novel for our times.
The pool occupied another long terrace, open to the south, so that the glitter of the water seemed to reach and hang against the distance. At the near end was the pool house, a little cottage in itself, with shuttered windows and wet foot-prints going in and out at the door. Thick cushioned loungers, turned towards the sun at different times, lay abandoned around the pool, but close by, under a huge umbrella, Rachel was stretched out with her eyes closed, and the straps of her black swimsuit looped down over her upper arms.