Although never one of my favourite authors (too ponderous, too mannered – I didn’t even finish his last, ‘The Stranger’s Child’) I’m currently reading Alan Hollinghurst’s ‘The Sparshalt Affair’ and, in a cosy Sunday afternoon manner, I’m quite enjoying it.
However, one thing I have noticed is just how badly Hollinghurst is served by the covers of his books. Things started badly with the sub-Gay Men’s Press style of ‘The Swimming-Pool Library’ (yes, I understand it might have been ‘ironic’ dressing ‘literature’ up in what had long been considered – if a little unfairly – glorified pulp-porn) and despite slight improvements with ‘The Folding Star’ and ‘The Spell’ (My favourite and most loathed Hollingshursts respectively) we come to the utter tedium of his latest, which consists simply of over-layed picture frames. Yes, the novel is set in the art world, but pur-lease do none of his publishers give a damn about Hollinghurst selling? Or do they think his name is enough to sell? Either way, lazy, lazy, lazy!