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In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch (UK)

Somehow sounds that it might be comparable with Christopher Isherwood. Interesting.

Reading and Watching the World: Books, Film and Art

In Youth is Pleasure was first published in 1945, and has recently been re-published by Penguin Classics. It is an autobiographical novella (originally sub-titled ‘A Fragment of Life Story with Changed Names‘) about a skinny, awkward, upper-middle-class teenage boy named Orvil Pym. Orvil has a dreadful family, comprising two macho older brothers and a neglectful, permanently slightly drunk, opium-using father (who refers to Orvil as ‘Microbe’, due to his short stature) and who spends most of his time in China on business. Orvil’s mother has been dead for three years, but he is not permitted to mention her to his father, and his repressed grief permeates the text. Orvil passes the summer with his family at a country hotel, and dreads with a sort of existential horror the return to boarding school at the end of the holidays. Welch’s own biographical details match Orvil’s.

There’s something destabilizing, hallucinatory…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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