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Alan Hollinghurst’s first novel since The Line of Beauty, winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize It is the late summer of the last year before the first Great War. Cecil Valance, a beautiful young aristocratic poet, is visiting Two Acres, the home of his Cambridge friend and lover, George Sawle. On his departure, Cecil leaves a poem, dedicated to George’s younger sister Daphne, which when published becomes a touchstone for a generation, symbolizing an England in its final glory. Meanwhile Daphne has also become involved with Cecil’s family, visiting their Victorian Gothic country house, Corley, and developing a relationship with Cecil’s brooding, manipulative brother, Dudley, that will link the families for ever. The Stranger’s Child begins as a novel about two families and two houses: by the time it reaches its profound and moving conclusion, it has become an epic tale told in five parts covering almost a hundred years. Like The Line of Beauty, this is a deliciously funny novel, glittering with acute observation and arch insight into the worlds of those who belong and of those who are excluded, of carefully hidden secrets which are finally, dramatically revealed.
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