Alan Hollinghurst: TOP TEN BOOKS

ALAN HOLLINGHURST – top ten books

ALAN HOLLINGHURST - top ten books

Hollinghurst came to acclaim with his groundbreaking debut novel, The Swimming Pool Library, in 1988, and went on to win the 2004 Man Booker Prize for The Line of Beauty, a novel that nailed the crosscurrents of greed, envy, privilege, and sexual desire in 1980s Britain. He was long-listed for the same award in 2011 for his multi-generational novel, The Stranger’s Child.

Below are Alan Hollinghurst’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy
The greatest of all novels. Read it again, to test and savour the infallible truth of Tolstoy's understanding of every stage and aspect of human life.
Add to cart

Selected Poems

of Tennyson
The first poet I loved and learned by heart, and whose music still haunts me and inspires me 45 years later.
Add to cart

The Major Works (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

of Gerard Manley Hopkins
Another teenage passion I have not outgrown but grown into, even if I have lost the faith that sustained him through good and ill. One of the great hearers, feelers, and observers, with a passionate language world all his own.
Add to cart


by Thomas Mann
A simple but magnificent proof of genius. A first novel by a 25-year-old with absolute command of his craft, uncanny knowledge of his world, its past and present, and a daring originality which makes its last pages among the most startlingly moving I know.
Add to cart

Firbank: Five Novels

Ronald Firbank
One of the great technical innovators of the English novel, glittering, subversive, poignant and funny - inimitable but an inspiration to generations of writers since.
Add to cart

A Writer's Diary

Virginia Woolf
I stick by the old heresy, that Woolf's Diary is her greatest achievement. An enthrallingly uncensored portrait of a brilliantly perceptive mind as it moves through a fascinating world in complex times.
Add to cart

Put Out More Flags

by Evelyn Waugh
Published in 1942, this marvellously mordant account of the first years of World War II, less known than the wonderful Decline and Fall and A Handful of Dust, is perhaps Waugh's most flawless comic novel. Every word tells.
Add to cart

What Maisie Knew

by Henry James
A brilliant social comedy seen wholly from a child's point of view, this is a dazzling technical feat that as always with Henry James deepens as it develops, like the life of the child herself. An exhilarating prelude to the great novels of his famous late phase.
Add to cart


by Henry Green
Perhaps the best introduction to another great original of the English novel, who learned from Firbank's economy, but who had his own quite different imaginative world. Loving, set among the servants of an Irish country house, combines his superbly truthful ear for how people really speak with an unforgettable vein of surreal poetry.
Add to cart

The Blue Flower

by Penelope Fitzgerald
The beautiful and concentrated final masterpiece of an utterly original writer, set in early 19th-century Germany. Fitzgerald pays us the compliment of trusting our intelligence and counting on our close attention, which will be overwhelmingly rewarded.
Add to cart