The Stranger's Child

Alan Hollinghurst

2012 Nominee

Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

24 May 2012
576 pages


The Stranger's Child is Alan Hollinghurst's Sunday Times Novel of the Year.

In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge friend Cecil Valance, a charismatic young poet, to visit his family home. Filled with intimacies and confusions, the weekend will link the families for ever, having the most lasting impact on George’s sixteen-year-old sister Daphne.

As the decades pass, Daphne and those around her endure startling changes in fortune and circumstance, reputations rise and fall, secrets are revealed and hidden and the events of that long-ago summer become part of a legendary story, told and interpreted in different ways by successive generations.

Powerful, absorbing and richly comic, The Stranger’s Child is a masterly exploration of English culture, taste and attitudes over a century of change.

With The Stranger’s Child, an already remarkable talent unfurls into something spectacular.

Sunday Times

I would compare the novel to Middlemarch . . . a remarkable, unmissable achievement.


Magnificent . . . universally acclaimed as the best novel of the year.