The Fourth Of June
Pan, London, 1964
for my parents who deserve better
dedication: for my parents who deserve better
The blurb on the back:
This is the first novel by David Benedictus and, while it gives no clue as to his future career (see examples below, and his 1983 novelization of Local Hero), it does read as a typical first novel of the period. The claim that it’s ‘controversial’ is presumably in reference to the scenes of violent bullying, the unrestrained class warfare and the suggestions of slightly twisted sexuality, but how much any of that is going to come as a shock to you, I don’t know. Seems about par for the course to me, and not much further advanced than Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Mind you, it’s funnier than Tom Brown’s Schooldays. And it does make the very reasonable point that public school traditions – in every negative as well as positive sense – are perpetuated more by the pupils than by the staff. Adults don’t even come close to kids when there’s snobbery to be exhibited.
Is it any good? Yeah, it’s not bad. Dated, but worth checking out if you’re interested in Britain as it stood on the cusp of Harold Wilson’s meritocratic revolution.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5