Quotes

Quotes from The Line of Beauty – Alan Hollinghurst

“His confessed but entirely imaginary seductions took on – partly through the special effort required to invent them and repeat them consistently – the quality of real memories. He sometimes had the sense, from a hint of reserve in people he was talking to, that while they didn’t believe him they saw he was beginning to believe himself.” – 26

“He knew he was supposed to be able to tell; in fact he tended to think people were when they weren’t, and so lived with a recurrent sense of disappointment, at them and at his own inadequate sensors. He didn’t tell Catherine, but his uncertainty on the house tour had actually been the other way around. Had his own gayness somehow put Lord Kessler off and made him seem unreliable and lightweight in the old boy’s eyes? Had Lord Kessler even registered – in his clever, unimpressionable way – that Nick was gay?’ – 57

“He felt he floated forwards into another place, beautiful, speculative, even dangerous, a place created and held open by the music but separate from it. It had the mood of a troubling dream, where nothing could be known for certain or offer a solid foothold to memory after one had woken. What really was his understanding with Wani? The pursuit of love seemed to need the cultivation of indifference. The deep connection between them was so secret that at times it was hard to believe it existed. He wondered if anyone knew – had even a flicker of a guess, an intuition blinked away by its own absurdity. How could anyone tell? He felt there must always be hints of a secret affair, some involuntary tenderness or respect, a particular way of not noticing each other…He wondered if it ever would be known, or if they would take the secret to the grave. For a minute he felt unable to move, as if he were hypnotized by Wani’s image. It took a little shudder to break the charm.” – 240-241

“The photographer was at large, and his flash gleamed in the mirrors. He slipped and lingered among the guests, approached with a smile, like a vaguely remembered bore, in his bow tie and dinner jacket, and then pouf! – he’d got them. Later he came back, he came around, because most shots catch a bleary blink or a turned shoulder, and got them again. Now they bunched and faced him, or they pretended they hadn’t seen him and acted themselves with careless magnificence. Nick dropped onto the sofa beside Catherine, lounged with one leg curled under him and a grin on his face at his own elegance. He felt he could act himself all night. He felt fabulous, he loved these nights, and whilst it would have been good to top the thing off with sex, it seemed hardly to matter if he didn’t. It made the absolute best of not having sex.” – 379

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