I recently finished one of the best books I’ve ever read: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. It won the 2004 Man Booker Prize but I had never heard of it until Emily Gould tweet-recommended it in response to a Twitter inquiry for books similar to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (i.e., an inquiry that was pure catnip for me, but sadly I can’t find the original tweet because Gould has since made her principled exit from Twitter).

Not that you need to take it from me, but Hollinghurst’s writing is exquisite – nearly every page has achingly beautiful and affecting descriptions of emotions, humans, society, landscapes and objects. The New York Times review referred to the book as “a magnificent comedy of manners,” and though, overall, it is not nearly as dark (in my opinion) as The Secret History, it definitely shares a similar social tone, embedded with masterly subtle observations of the line between the upper middle class and the truly wealthy, even among people of the same education. Though I’m obsessed with The Secret History, I liked the characters in The Line of Beauty more — I empathized with them and at various times they broke my heart.

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