From the internationally acclaimed winner of the Man Booker Prize, a sweeping new novel that explores richly complex relationships between fathers and sons as it spans seven transformative decades in England, from the 1940s through the present.David Sparsholt is a man who commands attention. As a student at Oxford during the early days of World War II, he’s handsome, powerful and alluring to all who meet him–both women and men. His two closest friends, Evert and Freddie, are aspiring artists who are quickly drawn into Sparsholt’s magnetic field even as the mores of the day complicate their ambitions–aesthetic, romantic and otherwise.
Twenty years later, all three men find themselves in unexpected positions–sometimes rewarded, but sometimes thwarted–vis-à-vis love and career; money and stature. David Sparsholt is now married with a wife and son, having claimed fame as a fighter pilot in the war, but also infamy after a scandalous affair rocked his entire family–especially his teenage son, Johnny. It’s the 1960s, and upheavals of all sorts are rampant in England and around the world, including as we follow Johnny’s struggles to untangle his own private web of identity, art and sexuality. Together, these men’s trials and triumphs present a complicated portrait of masculinity and artistic worth in England’s upper echelons, where one’s name carries the legacy, but also the telling scars, of the generations before him.
Engaging, atmospheric, told in lush and gorgeous prose, The Sparsholt Affair is a brilliant novel about sensuality and scruples set against a backdrop of radical social change, from a writer whose work is as provocative as it is precisely rendered.