Leah Greenblatt
October 26, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Stranger's Child

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Alan Hollinghurst
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

One drowsy summer weekend in the English countryside in 1913, a young man writes what will become a very famous poem. His subsequent death in WWI — as well as the omnisexual secrets of his brief, decadent life — provides the catalyst for The Stranger’s Child‘s elegant if often obtuse multi­family saga. Downton Abbey fans will swoon over the drawing-room dramas and sheer, crumpet-y Britishness of it all, though others (specifically, those who loved Hollinghurst’s 2004 Man Booker Prize winner, The Line of Beauty) may find it a test of their tolerance for dense Henry Jamesian prose and near-masochistic levels of emotional reserve. B

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