Dead Poets Society

A ghost haunts a century of sex, loss and disillusionment

One of the most damning put-downs in the history of literature was administered by Katherine Mansfield to E.M. Forster. "Forster never gets any further than warming the teapot," she wrote in 1917. "He's a rare fine hand at that. Feel this teapot. Is it not beautifully warm? Yes, but there ain't going to be no tea." You could say the same thing about Man Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child, which comes to us wafted on the wings of rapturous British reviews. It's rich and magnificent and tenderly human, but perhaps slightly lacking in tea.

The plot of The...

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