Magazine April 16, 2018, Issue

Brideshead Is Not Revisited

The Sparsholt Affair, by Alan Hollinghurst (Knopf, 432 pp., $28.95)

For readers who can imagine English life thanks to college reading lists featuring books by Evelyn Waugh, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and the like, Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel will be both deeply familiar and undoubtedly strange. The Sparsholt Affair begins in the plummy voice of Freddie Green, a literary man remembering his days at Oxford during the Second World War. He offers moments and experiences such as the following:

[It was] that brief time between sunset and blackout when you could see into other people’s rooms. Tall panes which had reflected the sky all day now glowed companionably here and

Randy BoyagodaMr. Boyagoda, a novelist, is a professor of English at the University of Toronto, where he is also the principal of St. Michael’s College.

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