At the recommendation of the writing half of the Roth Brothers, I’m reading The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollingston right now. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. But the caveat to that statement is that I might be missing most of it because it’s also one of the sexiest. There’s a lot of it and Hollingston does an effective job of describing it.
But the book, at least in parts, is a total homoerotic pipedream. Although I was never a beautiful, young gay man living in London before the AIDS epidemic, the availability and pleasure of anonymous sex as Hollinghurst recreates it seems improbable. Every tube ride … well, I’ll leave you to make your own tube-penis pun.
But at the same time, the protagonist’s lifestyle is a real reflection of an idealized lifestyle, and Hollinghurst captures a truth about that fantasy. I can’t tell if it’s that an accomplishment less than, equal to or greater than capturing a truth about real life, but it’s still something.