|New York : Pantheon, 1959|
"After some years of muddled thinking on the subject, he suddenly saw quite clearly what it was he had been running away from; why he had refused Sandy's first invitation, and what the trouble had bee with Charles. It was also the trouble, he perceived, with nine-tenths of the people here tonight. They were specialists. They had not merely accepted their limitations, as Laurie was ready to accept his, loyal to his humanity if not to his sex, and bringing an extra humility to the hard study of human experience. They had identified themselves with their limitations; they were making a career of them. they had turned from all other reality, and curled up in them snugly, as in a womb." (p.132)
Later when Laurie contemplates how to live in this gay world, he identifies a break we still too often see today between effeminate gay men and those who pass.
"There was a man at Oxford. ... He kept telling me I was queer, and I'd never heard it called that before and didn't like it. The word, I mean. Shutting you away, somehow; roping you off with a lot of people you don't feel much in common with, half of whom hate the other half anyway, and just keep together so that they can lean up against each other for support." (p.152-3)
Renault has offered up a compelling coming of age novel which frankly addresses the realities and difficulties of forging a life as a gay man in England in the 1940s.
Bibliographies & Ratings: Cory (IV); Garde (P, 117***); Mattachine Review (IV); Young (3259*)