The Stranger’s Child
Picador, $32.99 pb, 564 pp, 9780330483247
Weeks before its release, the Man Booker tipsters are laying short odds on Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel, the successor to his 2004 winner, The Line of Beauty. Booker cynics might agree that the great British literary race has in some seasons had more in common with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey than the Derby, but here is surely a promising contender for 2011’s glittering prize. Where The Line of Beauty (and the television series it inspired) explored the fissures and frissons of Thatcher’s Britain, The Stranger’s Child turns its equally candid and often witty gaze on a broader sweep of English social history.