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The Stranger's Child

The Stranger's Child - Alan Hollinghurst It was not perfect, but it was lovely. A tale told in five loosely connected parts, all linked by one character who did not even live to see the second act. Cecil Valance, while very young when killed in the great war, managed to touch many lives both directly he slept with many men and even some women and indirectly through his poetry. The Stranger’s Child is a literary version of the telephone game, where a message is whispered from one player to the next, only to get something very changed in the end. Only in this case, the original message was an “approved for public consumption” version and the daisy chain chipped away to get to get at the truth. Perhaps.

The writing has moments of brilliance, Hollinghusrt could turn a phrase so that you were precisely inside the character’s head. I listened to the audiobook and on many occasions I hit the 30 second rewind button just to re-listen to a sentence. While it didn't bother me, a negative for some readers might be the myriad of characters and POVs. The structure is such that each part seems to abruptly end, but trust in the author, you are told what you need to be told in subsequent parts.