The Folding Star : Historical Fiction, Paperback Book

The Folding Star : Historical Fiction Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Edward Manners - thirty three and disaffected - escapes to a Flemish city in search of a new life.

Almost at once he falls in love with seventeen-year-old Luc, and is introduced to the twilight world of the 1890s Belgian painter Edgard Orst.


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Edward Manners takes up his position as private tutor in English to a couple of boys in Flanders. One boy, Marcel, the son of an expert in the fictitious painter Orst, the other the enchantingly beautiful seventeen year oldLuc, son of a parents now separated. Manners, who is in his early thirties, tells of his time in the Flemish city, and along the way fills in much about his own background and friends, including his early sexual exploits with boys at school and on the common.Marcel's father takes a close interest in Edward, and enlists him in his compilation of the catalogue of Orst's work, and much of the novel dwells on the artist, his life and his work. But we also follow Edward as he makes new friends, including Chrerif who becomes his lover, and the enigmatic and insular Matt with his interesting and inventive ways of making money.Inevitably manners fall in love with Luc, becoming obsessed with the boy, and longs to seduce him, and as he learns more about Luc the chances of achieving his aim seem more and more likely.The Folding Star is hauntingly beautiful story, as much due to the quality of the descriptive powers of the prose. If I have a complaint it is that Hollinghusrt is a little too intent on the creation of the artist Edgard Orst, with several long passages devoted to him. Yet the story is very involving, and regularly throws up new twists and revelations as it winds its way to its somewhat unresolved conclusion. 

Review by

I like Hollinghurst and found this book worthwhile, but found myself getting a bit frustrated with his main character. Also, I think I was expecting something else after having loved _The Swimming Pool Library_ so very much.

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