Of all the post-War, mid-century English novels on this list – and there are plenty – The Go-Between is probably the best. On the surface it’s a simple enough story of an introspective, imaginative teenage boy who gets embroiled in an illicit affair during the course of a long, hot summer at a big Norfolk house. If that’s all it was, I’d still love it enough to put it on this list: no one has ever written so convincingly about the way adolescents perceive the world, or used the physical realm of heat and plants and smells etc to such powerful effect. But what makes The Go-Between so special is the way it deals with memory: the story is told by an old man looking back on his childhood, prompted by the discovery of a diary, and the whole thing is full of the pain that memory can bring. ‘The past is a different country: they do things differently there,’ goes the oft-misquoted opening line, and it sustains that quality to the very end.