The Swimming Pool Library

Added January 23, 2013
  • The Swimming Pool Library
  • Alan Hollinghurst
  • Chatto and Windus, London, 1988

the-swimming-pool_-library-front_-cover_ This novel, with its many references to the early twentieth century gay English writer Ronald Firbank, won the 1989 Somerset Maugham Award and was nominated for the Booker Prize. Edmund White called it ‘…surely the best book about gay life yet written by an English author.’

It tackles subjects such as homophobia and gay bashing.

This signed true first edition is in fine/fine condition. There are a few signed true firsts for sale on-line at this moment, and they range between $100 and $225, although all of them are in lesser condition than this copy. the-swimming-pool_-library-signature

Unsigned copies are much less expensive, and unsigned later printings are downright cheap, even in fine condition.

Here are a couple moreĀ  reviews with which I wholeheartedly agree. From the Village Voice Literary Supplement: “Easily one of [1988's] most important debuts… A buoyant, smart, irrepressibly sexy book… that has the heft and resonance of a classic modernist novel, the sprawl and surprise of an intimate memoir.”

And from the The New York Times Book Review: “The Swimming-Pool Library beautifully welds the standard conventions of fiction to a tale of modern transgressions. It tells of impurities with shimmering elegance, of complexities with a camp-fired wit and of truths with a fiction’s solid grace.”

the-swimming-pool_-library-copy_ Hollinghurst is probably best known for his Booker Prize winning novel The Line of Beauty. Signed copies of The Line of Beauty fall between about $150 and $350 in value right now.

His earlier novels are also excellent, and signed first editions of these are steadily rising in value.

Note that the copyright page for this book simply says published in 1988 by Chatto and Windus. There is no number line and no stated print number. These happen to be the requirements for a first printing of this edition. Later printings are stated on the copyright page.


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