The Go-between

The Go-between

Book - 2002
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"Summering with a fellow schoolboy on a great English estate, Leo, the hero of L.P. Hartley's finest novel, encounters a world of unimagined luxury. But when his friend's beautiful older sister enlists him as the unwitting messenger in her illicit love affair, the aftershocks will be felt for years. The inspiration for the brilliant Joseph Losey/Harold Pinter film starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates, The Go-Between is a masterpiece - a richly layered, spellbinding story about past and present, naivete; and knowledge, and the mysteries of the human heart. This volume includes, for the first time ever in North America, Hartley's own introduction to the novel."--Book cover.
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books ; [Berkeley, CA] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2002.
ISBN: 9780940322998
0940322994
Branch Call Number: FIC HART
Characteristics: xiii, 326 pages ; 21 cm.
Alternative Title: Go between

Opinion

From Library Staff

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The May 14 meeting discussed this novel about a schoolboy experiencing the life of luxury for the first time when he spends the summer with a wealthy schoolmate, getting caught up as a messenger in his friend's older sister's illicit love affair.


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m
maipenrai
May 03, 2020

Shortly after beginning this book I realized I had seen the 1971 film starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates. I wish that I had not since, for the sake of a more sensational production, the movie did not depict events, especially those between Marian - Lady Trimingham and Ted Burgess in the same way as the book. I had difficulty believing that 'Leo' Colston was as naïve at age 12 as he was written. I understood when I read the notes: In 1952 Hartley composed the book as "a memoir, as an act of atonement, and as a manifesto against the decay brought by two world wars and a social order turned upside down. It allowed him to evoke a past, a time half a century earlier, a golden age, as he saw it, of Victorian morals and manners." Thus I understood that Leo was the embodiment of innocence - he had to be completely ignorant of the nature of relationships between men and women. Though in actual comparison the years of WWII were more devastating on the U. K. and much of the world, the years after the war began with optimism and hopes that were dashed. Rationing in England continued until 1954. Many companies were nationalized. The money and supplies that had been pouring into the country during the war dried up or were at least no longer donations. The UK was essentially bankrupt because it had purchased tons of war material from America that had to be paid for. In 1945 British government officials including the famous economic genius, John Maynard Keynes, went to America to beg America to forgive the debt. The result was loan made to the United Kingdom by the United States on 15 July 1946, enabling its battered economy to keep afloat. The loan was for $3.75 billion ( the equivalent of almost $50 trillion in today's dollars ) at a low 2% interest rate; Canada loaned an additional US $1.19 billion. This was not paid off until 2006. England had lost thousands of military and civilian men and women and had mortgaged the lives of its grandchildren. Thousands of homes, businesses, and infrastructure had been destroyed. In addition Hartley believed the morals of the country were going to hell in a hand-basket. This was frequently blamed upon the American GI's who came to the U.K. in the hundreds of thousands and were described as "over paid - over sexed and over here". How could despair and a wish for a "more perfect" time before the major wars not be Hartley's frame of mind???? The author, born in 1895, would have been very young during the idyllic year depicted in the novel. He had survived two world wars - he had enlisted in 1916, but never saw battle service because of a weak heart. These facts allowed me to appreciate the innocence and atonement depicted in the novel. It resolved for me the seeming inconsistencies and made me fall in love with Leo and his painful experience. I highly recommend this great novel. Anyone who choses to read it must keep in mind the goal and pain of the author. Kristi & Abby Tabby

m
maipenrai
May 03, 2020

Shortly after beginning this book I realized I had seen the 1971 film starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates. I wish that I had not since, for the sake of a more sensational production, the movie did not depict events, especially those between Marian - Lady Trimingham and Ted Burgess in the same way as the book. I had difficulty believing that 'Leo' Colston was as naïve at age 12 as he was written. I understood when I read the notes: In 1952 Hartley composed the book as "a memoir, as an act of atonement, and as a manifesto against the decay brought by two world wars and a social order turned upside down. It allowed him to evoke a past, a time half a century earlier, a golden age, as he saw it, of Victorian morals and manners." Thus I understood that Leo was the embodiment of innocence - he had to be completely ignorant of the nature of relationships between men and women. Though in actual comparison the years of WWII were more devastating on the U. K. and much of the world, the years after the war began with optimism and hopes that were dashed. Rationing in England continued until 1954. Many companies were nationalized. The money and supplies that had been pouring into the country during the war dried up or were at least no longer donations. The UK was essentially bankrupt because it had purchased tons of war material from America that had to be paid for. In 1945 British government officials including the famous economic genius, John Maynard Keynes, went to beg America to forgive the debt. The result was loan made to the United Kingdom by the United States on 15 July 1946, enabling its battered economy to keep afloat. The loan was for $3.75 billion ( the equivalent of almost $50 trillion in today's dollars ) at a low 2% interest rate; Canada loaned an additional US $1.19 billion. This was not paid off until 2006. England had lost thousands of military and civilian men and women and had mortgaged the lives of its grandchildren. Thousands of homes, businesses, and infrastructure had been destroyed. In addition Hartley believed the morals of the country were going to hell in a hand-basket. This was frequently blamed upon the American GI's who came to the U.K. in the hundreds of thousands and were described as "over paid - over sexed and over here". How could despair and a wish for a "more perfect" time before the major wars not be Hartley's frame of mind???? The author, born in 1895, would have been very young during the idyllic year depicted in the novel. He had survived two world wars - he had enlisted in 1916, but never saw battle service because of a weak heart. These facts allowed me to appreciate the innocence and atonement depicted in the novel. It resolved for me the seeming inconsistencies and made me fall in love with Leo and his painful experience. I highly recommend this great novel. Anyone who choses to read it must keep in mind the goal and pain of the author. Kristi & Abby Tabby

k
ksfranzen
Jan 31, 2020

England “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." So opens this memorable novel as a man in his sixties attempts to recreate and come to terms with the golden summer of 1900. Spending what promised to be an idyllic holiday with the rich family of a school-mate, twelve-year-old Leo becomes entangled in an adult world he cannot understand. Hauntingly atmospheric.

1
1014b
Aug 28, 2019

An excellent novel and beautifully written. Well worth reading. Writing and descriptions are excellent - just like being there.

m
MindfulDaydreamer
Sep 30, 2016

A haunting coming-of-age story of a 12-year-old boy who attempts to navigate the enticing world of adults and the contrast of the mundane world of his childhood. Both spheres beckon but while one is familiar and comforting, the other is fascinating and dangerous. The imagery and symbolism in this book are stunning.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 23, 2014

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." So opens this memorable novel as a man in his sixties attempts to recreate and come to terms with the golden summer of 1900. Spending what promised to be an idyllic holiday with the rich family of a school-mate, twelve-year-old Leo becomes entangled in an adult world he cannot understand. Hauntingly atmospheric.

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