Alan Hollinghurst’s first novel in seven years is a magnificent, century-spanning saga about a love triangle that spawns a myth—and a family mystery—across generations.
In 1913, George Sawle brings charming, handsome Cecil Valance to his family’s modest home outside London for a summer weekend. George is enthralled by his Cambridge schoolmate, and soon his sixteen-year-old sister, Daphne, is equally besotted by both Cecil and the stories he tells about Corley Court, the country estate he is heir to. But what Cecil writes in Daphne’s autograph album will change their and their families’ lives forever: a poem that, after Cecil is killed in the Great War and his reputation burnished, will be recited by every schoolchild in England. Over time, a tragic love story is spun, even as other secrets lie buried—until, decades later, an ambitious biographer threatens to unearth them.
Rich with the author’s signature gifts—haunting sensuality, wicked humor, and exquisite lyricism—The Stranger’s Child
is a tour de force: a masterly novel about the lingering power of desire, and about how the heart creates its own history.