Thursday 14 October 2021

πŸ“– Book Nostalgia ~ The Go - Between by L P Hartley

I'm really privileged to read so many latest release books which are so current they haven't even hit the book store shelves that I forget about the books which have influenced my reading over the years.

So, welcome to my mid-month Book Nostalgia feature where I'm allowing myself the luxury of going back in time with some of my favourite reads.

Let's wallow in book memories...

Published 1953
Penguin Modern Classics
This edition 2004

'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.

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

There's something about that classic opening sentence that immediately takes me back to the long hot summer of 1976, when, after completing my English Literature A' Level exam, I was able to read something that wasn't Shakespeare, Chaucer or Milton. Blue skies seem to stretch endlessly into my, then unknown, future and with the sound of my dad mowing the lawn, and my mum chatting to the next door neighbour, I settled down on my red sun lounger, with a can of Lilt and an Aztec bar, to read this classic story of forbidden love.

Thirteen year old Leo is staying with his school friend, Marcus when he develops a teenage crush on his friend's beautiful older sister. Wanting to please Marion, Leo becomes embroiled in the clandestine relationship which is developing between Marion and Ted Burgess, a local tenant farmer. Completely besotted by the beautiful and beguiling, Marion, Leo is unaware of the significance of the messages he is passing between Marion and Ted until it's too late. Looking back at this time in his youth, the much older Leo looks back at the events of the summer of 1900 and the devastating consequences of Marion and Ted's ill-fated love affair.

The Go-Between is a classic coming-of-age novel which evokes the languid summer of 1900 and the social and moral restrictions of the Edwardian era. I've read the story a couple of times since 1976 and although I can't recall seeing the 1971 film version which starred Julie Christie and Alan Bates, I did enjoy the 2015 remake starring Joanna Vanderham as Marion, Ben Batt as Ted, and Jack Hollington as young Leo.

About the Author

Leslie Poles Hartley was born in 1895 and educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. He is best known for Facial Justice, the Eustace and Hilda trilogy and The Go-Between, which won the Heinemann Foundation Prize in 1954 and whose opening sentence has become almost proverbial: 'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.' He was appointed a CBE in 1955, having won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in addition to the Heinemann. He died in 1972.
(Source: publisher website)

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