fiction recomplicates itself

To reformulate reading at thirteen, you jump to adult books. One entrypoint is via the classics. Amid the baffling profusion of grown-up possibilities, a reassuring sense of order adheres to the novels from the past that have already been sifted through and declared good, and conveniently assembled together, as a row of orange Penguins in a bookshop, or a dump of old Everymans discovered in a cardboard box. The country is dotted with dormant shelves-full of standard editions, put together by a previous generation, and waiting for a bored thirteen-year-old to blow the dust off. Go this way, and your next move when Narnia ceases to satisfy is to Jane Eyre. Fiction recomplicates itself for you: you step up a whole level of complexity. Suddenly you are surrounded anew by difficulties and riches commensurate with your state of mind. From an exhausted territory, you have come to an unexplored one, where manners and intentions are all to find, just like the rules of your own new existence in your own new lurch-prone adolescent body; and here the emotions are urgent again, because the great canonical novels of courtship – Jane Austen is next – all deal with people circling warily, interestedly, as they try to figure each other out, and decide from cues of behaviour like the ones real other people present to you yourself, whether this person or that is the one with whom desire and affection and trust can come together.

— Francis Spufford, The Child that Books Built