Alan Hollinghurst: the books that made me

Esquire (UK) - - Esquire Townhouse with Dior -

Hollinghurst has writ­ten six nov­els in­clud­ing 2004’s Booker Prize-win­ning The Line of Beauty and most re­cently

The Sparsholt Af­fair. In con­ver­sa­tion with Alex Bilmes, he dis­cussed which books have had the big­gest in­flu­ence on his life and writ­ing. Here’s a se­lec­tion:

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

“I did charts of the ge­neal­ogy of the kings, I wrote notes to my friends in dwarvish rune. Now I can­not read Tolkien at all, but it evokes the idea that in ado­les­cence, a book can take you over and ab­sorb your imag­i­na­tion.”

What Maisie Knew by Henry James “An ex­tremely ten­der book, and also a very, very funny one. It ex­em­pli­fies the thing I love about James; that he has an ex­tra­or­di­nary in­tu­itive in­sight into hu­man be­hav­iour.” The Di­aries of Vir­ginia Woolf: Vol­umes 1–5, 1915–’41

“One of the great strengths of the diary is you have a bril­liant mind writ­ing in a com­pletely un­cen­sored way about ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pen­ing to her.”

A Boy’s Own Story by Ed­mund White

“It wasn’t the con­ven­tional story of an un­happy, sui­ci­dal gay per­son. It was some­one with very strong needs and de­sires with de­ter­mi­na­tion to act on them.”

Off­shore by Pene­lope Fitzger­ald

“I was put out that she could con­dense a whole com­pli­cated world into a 150-page jour­nal, and I thought, ‘Why can’t I do that?’ It re­mains a dream to write some­thing as con­cen­trated and as good as this.”

Run­away by Alice Munro

“She cre­ates a sense of what it’s like to be alive in the present when that present was 50 years ago. It’s a great gift. We move through the book, as we all move through life, with what comes next.”

All That Man Is by David Sza­lay

“It com­pletely blew my socks off. It’s very ex­cit­ing, aged about 60, to be dis­cov­er­ing a younger writer who I re­ally thought I was learn­ing from and be­ing en­cour­aged by.” The Sparsholt Af­fair by Alan Hollinghurst (Pi­cador) is out now

De­signer Pa­trick Grant worked with LG SIG­NA­TURE to de­sign a be­spoke liv­ing space within Town­house show­cas­ing its prod­uct range, in­clud­ing this 4mm thin OLED TV

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