|London : Abacus, 1996, ©1995|
The chapters taking place at school in the 1960s hearken back to classic boarding school novels of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is a focus on sport, and an emphasis on the classic structures of prefects using (or abusing) their power over younger boys. And like those classic stories there is an unsanctioned, too-close relationship between a prefect and one of the younger boys. Unlike those classic romances, they share far more than a chaste kiss. In fact, one is reminded of the scene in Peyrefitte's Les amitiés particulières when the relationship is bonded over the sharing of blood — only in the case of Stephen and Christopher, it's a different bodily fluid.
Christopher never got over losing Stephen all those years ago, and in many ways the pain of that event seems to have prevented him from moving on. Neither his family nor his closest friend knows anything about his romantic life or even whether or not he is gay. He has walled that part of himself off. His search for Stephen forces uncomfortable conversations with his family and brings him in contact with others from school who share their knowledge of events all those years ago that Christopher never knew. How much do his memories reflect what really happened? This is Christopher coming to terms with the love of his life — a love, that at the time was impossible, not to mention illegal.