The Go-between, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


L.P. Hartley's moving exploration of a young boy's loss of innocence The Go-Between is edited with an introduction and notes by Douglas Brooks-Davies in Penguin Modern Classics.'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there'When one long, hot summer, young Leo is staying with a school-friend at Brandham Hall, he begins to act as a messenger between Ted, the farmer, and Marian, the beautiful young woman up at the hall.

He becomes drawn deeper and deeper into their dangerous game of deceit and desire, until his role brings him to a shocking and premature revelation.

The haunting story of a young boy's awakening into the secrets of the adult world, The Go-Between is also an unforgettable evocation of the boundaries of Edwardian society.Leslie Poles Hartley (1895-1972) was born in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, and educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford.

For more than thirty years from 1923 he was an indefatigable fiction reviewer for periodicals including the Spectator and Saturday Review.

His first book, Night Fears (1924) was a collection of short stories; but it was not until the publication of Eustace and Hilda (1947), which won the James Tait Black prize, that Hartley gained widespread recognition as an author.

His other novels include The Go-Between (1953), which was adapted into an internationally-successful film starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates, and The Hireling (1957), the film version of which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.If you enjoyed The Go-Between, you might like Barry Hines's A Kestrel for a Knave, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.'Magical and disturbing'Independent 'On a first reading, it is a beautifully wrought description of a small boy's loss of innocence long ago.

But, visited a second time, the knowledge of approaching, unavoidable tragedy makes it far more poignant and painful'Express


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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

The story of a child postman between forbidden lovers.

Review by

Very enjoyable read, beautifully written with a strong sense of time and place. Poor Leo's naivety however was his downfall.

Review by

Has anyone pointed out that part of Leo's wasted, blasted life is that he became a librarian?! Fairly early on in the prologue, Leo tells us that he has catalogued other peoples' books rather than writing is own.

Review by

Took a while to get through this one, because of the 'Victorian' pacing, but I did enjoy L.P. Hartley's lyrical - and convincingly naive - narrator, looking back on a dramatic incident of his childhood. Like <i>Atonement</i>, only without the trickery, thirteen year old Leo goes to stay with his posh friend for the holidays, and finds himself caught up in the illicit romance of his friend's older sister. Leo is a great character, all innocence and gushing enthusiasm, but I would have liked to read more about the three points of the love triangle, particularly after the 'discovery'. Hartley also brings to life the golden summer of late Victorian/early Edwardian England, with passion and secrecy boiling just under the surface of the ladies in white dresses, house parties and games of croquet on the lawn.

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