87. Now and Then, William Corlett (1995)

I don’t understand why Now and Then isn’t better known. It’s got so much going for it: a big sexy love story, beautiful clear prose, a clever central narrative device and an exquisite understanding of ageing and regret. Oh – wait a minute, that’ll be because it’s about gay people, and therefore probably didn’t get taken seriously on publication and has been shoved into niches while dreary celeb authors get the prizes and the sales. Bitter, me? William Corlett was an incredibly accomplished writer across several fields – he wrote loads of excellent stuff for TV, and if you see his name in the credits (eg The Agatha Christie Hour) you know you’re in for a treat. Now and Then is something really special – the story of an unhappy middle-aged man, Christopher, rediscovering the memory of an adolescent love affair that scarred him for life. Anyone who’s suffered unrequited love will ‘get’ this book, and even though it’s very melancholy it’s so beautifully written that the reading experience is exhilarating. I’m eternally grateful to David Hoyle for bringing this book to my attention.

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2 Comments

Filed under My top 100 novels

2 responses to “87. Now and Then, William Corlett (1995)

  1. David Benedict

    Maybe I’ll re-read this, but I have to admit to being disappointed when I read it when it first came out. For all its tenderness (lovely) I dimly remember finding much of it too contrived. It reminded me of other, better books about love at public school eg the wonderful Lord Dismiss Us by Michael Campbell – now there’s an underrated book…

  2. I think it’s worth another look. I’ve never read the Campbell so thanks for that will put it on list! Another one in same vein is the wonderful The Deep End by Robert Liddell. x

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