A masterful and vivid portrayal of a young boy's awakening to true love in the sensual landscape of Western Australia. Winner of the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, 1937.
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, The Young Desire It is a stunning debut novel about coming of age: an intimate and lyrical account of first love, and a rich evocation of rural Western Australia. This edition includes a new introduction by David Malouf.
Kenneth Mackenzie was born in 1913 in South Perth. His parents divorced in 1919, and thereafter he lived with his mother and maternal grandfather. Unhappy years boarding at Guildford Grammar School were the basis for his highly acclaimed first novel, The Young Desire It, which was published in London in 1937. Mackenzie's subsequent novels were The Chosen (1938), Dead Men Rising (1951), based partly on his experience of the Cowra breakout and The Refuge (1954); he also produced two volumes of poetry. He received a number of grants and awards, including the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal.
'A hymn to youth, to life, to sexual freedom and moral independence.' David Malouf
'The Young Desire It presents the adolescent boy's view with power and poignancy.' The Times
'A beautifully written story of a sensitive boy's movement towards adult love.' Sydney Morning Herald
'A first novel of exceptional interest and originality.' Spectator
'Mackenzie's prose is at its most sparkling and most sensuous in this novel, and he evokes the hot Western Australian landscape with rare force...[The Young Desire It] is a pastoral charged with the awakening of desire, like spring.' Douglas Stewart
'Sensitive, vital and erotic.' Veronica Brady, Australian Dictionary of Biography