The Stranger's Child

Alan Hollinghurst

2012 Nominee

Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

19 October 2023
576 pages


Sunday Times Novel of the Year
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

A magnificent, century-spanning saga about a love triangle that spawns a myth, and a family mystery, across generations.

In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge friend Cecil Valance, a charismatic young poet, to visit his family home. The weekend will be one of excitements and confusions for everyone, but it is on George’s sixteen-year-old sister Daphne that it will have the most lasting impact. As the decades pass, Daphne and those around her endure startling changes in fortune and circumstance, and as reputations rise and fall, the events of that long-ago summer become part of a legendary story.

The Stranger’s Child is Hollinghurst’s masterly exploration of English culture, taste and attitudes. Epic in sweep, it intimately portrays a luminous but changing world and the ways memory – and myth – can be built and broken. It is a powerful and utterly absorbing modern classic.

With The Stranger’s Child, an already remarkable talent unfurls into something spectacular
I would compare the novel to Middlemarch . . . a remarkable, unmissable achievement
Elegant, seductive and extremely enjoyable . . . one of the best novels published this year