In Youth is Pleasure

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Against the backdrop of an English country hotel in a languid pre-war summer, Denton Welch's alter ego, Orvil Pym, examines his early life and formative experiences with a Proustian intensity. An adolescent voyeur, Orvil takes pleasure in the microscopic observation of his relatives and fellow guests, charting their eccentricities and love affairs as faithfully as he exposes his own obsessions. In a highly perceptive Afterword, Jeremy Reed relates the novel to Welch's life and work, praising it for writing that 'oscillates between moments of lyrical serenity and outbreaks of psychological disorder.' Flagrantly controversial on its first publication in 1945, In Youth Is Pleasure will impress new readers with its arresting visual descriptions and its defiance of convention.