Set partly in an upper-middle-class English home and partly in a boarding school, GF Green's novel describes the early youth and adolescence of Randal Thane. A coddled, sensitive child, Randal develops strong attachments – first to his sister, Katherine, then a boy named Felton – only to discover the pain of disappointment when the strictures of convention force his separation from the object of desire.
Green himself chafed at those conventions. Posted with the British army to Ceylon as a PR man, he took up a life of "verandahism", drinking and taking Benzedrine. He was ultimately cashiered after being "caught in flagrante with a Sinhalese rickshaw-puller". Safe to say, he was not suited to the army.
For a while it seemed he was not suited to writing either, until a course of psychoanalysis helped him recover his talent and the will to write. The result was In the Making, a novel which, veering between Proustian reverie and Jamesian analysis, must have felt a little dated, even when it was published in the early 1950s. There is something strange about its lack of reference to world war or its effects. But in its direct treatment of the development of adolescent sexuality, Green's novel was and remains a brave and surprising work of fiction.
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