Dandelion Days conveyed a sense of landscape, but it also captured the romantic pains of adolescent boysDandelion Days by Henry Williamson isn’t a novel that I thought of as having influenced me – either as a writer or as a person – but one that I remember responding to with an upsurge of emotion: it spoke to me, at the time I read it, with that peculiar intimacy that I find only prose fiction can. On reflection, this is largely why I felt impelled to become a novelist myself – so perhaps this is a form of influence, albeit one that Williamson’s work shared with many others; still, this was a formal property of the text, not to do with its specific content. Or so I imagined until I reread it.I must have first encountered this story, of a boy growing up in the Devon countryside in the years leading up to the first world war, when I was around 12 or 13. The book’s protagonist, Willie Maddison, is about that age when the tale begins, and perhaps 16 when it ends. In an epilogue, Williamson places him on the battlefield of Ypres, reading a letter from his former headmaster …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books