Big long sad book about poncey British upper crust family and their engaging sycophantic slightly parasitic roomer, aptly named Nick Guest. Narrator Nick befriended son Toby at Oxford, and is invited to come for an extended stay while at the same time being taxed with the responsibility for frail yet maniacally unstable daughter Catherine by the parents: monied Rachel, and ambitious conservative Member of Parliament, Gerald Fedden.
This book chronicles Nick's five years living with(in) the family, and the rise and fall of Gerald Fedden's political career amidst teeming Thatcherism, all against the backdrop of homosexuality and AIDS. Great historical perspective, interesting character development, and despite all this official pomp and overflowing antique finery, still the title A Line Of Beauty seems mostly to refer to cocaine. I liked the repetition of that motif, and also that of the contrasting "vulgar and unsafe," which connoted everything from politics and random fellatio, to the gift of a Mazda sports car.
Very British. Satire, sex, political scandal. Very well-written. Can't say I loved it, but I do admire it!
like it says on the back of the book... class, sex, and money in thatcher's london. how could that not be interesting?