The Young Desire it (Paperback)
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Description""The Young Desire It" is a revelation: a coming-of-age novel from 1937 that deserves a place alongside the classics in this genre. It's a feverish, fascinating, and surprising look into the mind of an adolescent discovering a sense of self in his quest for love. It's also a remarkably nuanced and moving portrait of the struggles of those around him to come to terms with their own lives and longings." - Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club "A first novel of exceptional interest and originality."--"The Spectator""Unique and very nearly perfect, a hymn to youth, to life, to sexual freedom and moral independence."--David Malouf, from the introduction Fifteen-year-old Charles Fox is sent away to boarding school, innocent, alone, and afraid. There one of his masters develops an intense attachment to him. But when Charles meets Margaret, a girl staying at a nearby farm for the holidays, he is besotted, and a passionate, unforgettable, romance begins.Published in London in 1937 to wide acclaim, this is a stunning debut novel about coming of age: an intimate account of first love and a rich evocation of rural Western Australia. It won the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal and is now back in print for the first time in almost twenty-five years with a new introduction by David Malouf, one of the finest Australian writers of all time.Kenneth Mackenzie was born in 1913 in South Perth, Western Australia. Unhappy years boarding at Guildford Grammar School were the basis for his highly acclaimed first novel, "The Young Desire It." Mackenzie's subsequent novels were "The Chosen" (1938), "Dead Men Rising" (1951)--based partly on his experiences after he was deemed unfit for active service in the war--and "The Refuge" (1954). His last years were spent alone, in declining health and succumbing to drink, at Kurrajong, New South Wales, near the Blue Mountains. In 1955 he died accidentally while bathing in a creek.
- Published: 27 May 2014
- Format: Paperback 350 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781922147509 ISBN 10: 1922147508
- Sales rank: 106,112
Reviews for The Young Desire it
- Top review
a timeless Australian classic
The Young Desire It is the first novel by Australian author, Kenneth Mackenzie, and this volume has been published under the Text Classics banner. The 11-page introduction by David Malouf is both very insightful and quite informative about the author. At fifteen, Charles Fox, serious, intense, sensitive and introspective, is sent to boarding school in the city where he meets, for the first time, other boys of his own age, is taught by young English Masters and lives an unfamiliar, regimented existence. During a longed-for break back home, he encounters Margaret, spending her school break on a neighbouring farm, and falls passionately in love. On the surface, it may seem that not much happens in this novel, but a great deal occurs within, as Charles matures and realises "a mind continually awakening to its own innocence." The narration lies mostly with Charles, but also jumps between a fellow student, Mawley, the young Master who befriends Charles, Penworth, Charles's mother, and Mr Jolly, and this can sometimes lead to confusion until the context or content clarifies the matter. While this novel touches on paedophilia, masturbation and sex between minors, as befits a novel written in the 1930's, these aspects are merely hinted at, so some reading between the lines is required, and here Malouf's introduction is helpful also. This novel's great strength is the wonderful prose. Mackenzie captures the West Australian summer with consummate ease: "The whole earth and all nature sank into a still swoon beneath the eternal ravishment of the sun, and the ceaseless, passionate susurrus of the insects gave sound to the heat, as already mirage was giving it a shaking visibility, clear and refractory like water." and his prose has universal appeal. His descriptions are sometimes verbose, sometimes beautifully succinct: "They smiled with the sincerity of cats." His descriptions of characters, too, are marvellous: "It was a humorous and kindly face, mobile from much talking and an inexhaustible ability to express surprise; the lines around the sly keenness of the eyes showed how often laughter closed them." This edition has gorgeous cover art by W.H. Chong. Text do well to include this beautiful novel under their Classics banner: it was the Winner of the 1937Australian Literature Society Gold Medal and is indeed a timeless Australian classic. by Marianne Vincent