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The Go-Between (1953)

af L. P. Hartley

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,306386,625 (3.96)176
"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." 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.… (mere)
  1. 62
    Soning af Ian McEwan (burneyfan)
  2. 30
    Gensyn med Brideshead : kaptajn Charles Ryders åndelige og verdslige erindringer af Evelyn Waugh (Anonym bruger)
  3. 10
    Spies af Michael Frayn (whits100, hazzabamboo)
    hazzabamboo: Lots of strong similarities (coming of age tale, child narrator, thoroughly English, murky adult goings-on, even symbolic plants) but Hartley's is the superior novel.
  4. 00
    The Fit af Philip Hensher (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: The heroes of both books, traumatised by early experience, retreat into book-centred, isolated careers.
Indlæser...

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Engelsk (36)  Hollandsk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (38)
Viser 1-5 af 38 (næste | vis alle)
I had watched the movie first. Then I got the book. I went into it with a little hesitation since I thought of it as very plot-driven story and therefore "spoiled" by having watched the movie. Boy was I wrong. One thing that comes through much better in the book is the emotional development of the boy even though it's being told from his adult self years later. All of his actions were supported by credible motivations, and there was no feeling that the author put something in "just to make it interesting." And as the plot develops, the boy's thinking gets more complex. For some people the language will be a challenge, but I found I fell right into it and it added a lot to the feeling of distance with the past, as is the boy's past really were a foreign country. ( )
  Peterlemat | Jun 26, 2023 |
It took me a while to get used to Hartley's elevated language, but once I did, the story swept me away. I kept being reminded of other stories while reading this one: shades of THE GREAT GATSBY, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, ATONEMENT... Yet, this book told its own story with its own tragedy and beauty. One of the best fall from innocence and bildungsroman novels I have ever read. ( )
1 stem crabbyabbe | Nov 6, 2022 |
Hartley wrote this book in 1953 and it is apparently somewhat autobiographical. It's set in the hot summer of 1900 when Leo is spending a few weeks at the home of a school friend, Marcus at Brandham Hall. The opening line is quite famous:

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."

That line is important to the story because Leo is looking back on that summer because he found an old diary in a "battered" box that has brought it back to the forefront. So immediately you know this is a book about memory.

Leo serves as a go-between for Marcus' sister Marian and a local farmer, Ted. Leo doesn't realize it, but they are having a love affair. Of course the reader realizes it pretty much from the get go.

This book has everything going for it. Or at least everything I love. Coming of age, class warfare, dry wit, the end of the Victorian era, the real differences between how children and adults view the world, doomed love affair and the kind of writing about life in Britain that I came to love in the Anthony Powell books, Dance to the Music of Time. And possibly Anita Brookner, in a different way. Or maybe Evelyn Waugh. Or Elizabeth Taylor. Possibly Elizabeth Taylor. Oh come on, you know what I mean. Absolutely sublime. And he has a long backlist! What could be better? ( )
4 stem brenzi | Jun 26, 2021 |
So, I've read that in addition to being a novelist, L.P. Hartley was also a book reviewer. When asked about it, he said that he typically finished a book every day and a half and estimated that he'd read about six thousand books in his lifetime. Maybe it's a shame that he didn't live to see LibraryThing. Amazing as Hartley's reading habits were, they do help put "The Go-Between" in context: it is exactly the sort of book that an industrious book critic would love. Its language is dense, formal, and finely tuned, its various symbolic structures are consistent and well-articulated, and its characters are well-drawn. Even so, it's a bit of a drag to read. How much you'll like it will probably depend on the sort of novel and the sort of writing you enjoy and how interested you are in the book's time period and themes it explores, most of which to do with class and morality and all of which are given an extremely British treatment. Readers who admire carefully constructed plots and good prose will enjoy "The Go-Between", but those who prefer looser, funnier, more freewheeling texts should probably go elsewhere. Perhaps these two groups might be able to find some common ground in the novel's opening line, which is truly one for the ages. I imagine that the author worked for years to come up with something both so insightful and so beautiful in its simplicity.

This isn't to say that aren't some elements of "The Go-Between" that aren't exceptionally well done. What I might have enjoyed most about this novel is its exceptionally perceptive take on childhood. Leo Colston, our titular character, is still very much on one side of the divide that separates children from adults, and the author's very good at portraying the cognitive distance that separates him from the book's other characters. In contrast to his host, Marcus, who is portrayed a pure product of his class, Leo is an individual, but his understanding and moral sense are still at a very early stage of development. In most respects, he's still very much a schoolboy. Hartley -- like Richard Hughes, whose "A High Wind in Jamaica" also portrayed the differences between adult and child mindsets beautifully -- sees children and adults almost as different species, and Leo gets caught up in this affair largely because there is simply no way he would be able to understand the implications of what adults ask of him. There are times that he seems almost painfully naive, and I caught myself wishing that somebody would step in and explain the fact of life to this poor kid, but the novel is set in the late Victorian period, after all, and Leo is a product of the bourgeois. Hartley doesn't skimp on the details: he also provides an impressively thorough explanation of the the schoolboy code of honor and an uncanny transcription of Leo and Marcus's peculiar schoolboy dialect. Not that there's a lot of childlike wonder here: while the author's observations are undeniably perceptive, some readers may find that the adult version of Leo, who serves as the book's narrator, leaves too little to the reader's imagination. Still, that might be a matter of taste. Recommended to readers who enjoy well-crafted prose and well-structured novels, as well as those interested in Victorian family life or literary depictions of childhood. "The Go-Between" is hardly a fun read, but it is a good book. ( )
2 stem TheAmpersand | May 27, 2020 |
I've had this on my tbr for a long time and I am happy to finally get it read. This book was published in 1953 and is the coming age story of a young boy who is 12 going on 13. He is a dreamer and a romantic but also very black and white in his thinking. He is rather naive, a boy who is raised by his widowed mother. He really has little understanding of adult worlds. The story starts with a 60 y/o man who finds a box in the attic that triggers memories from a summer visit to Norfolk as the world is entering the 20th century. It is a story of the loss of innocence. It is a time period of transition from childhood to adolescence. There is some contrasts between class but it isn't the main theme of the book. "Dimly I felt that the contrast represented something more than the conflict between Hall and village. It was that, but it was also the struggle between order and lawlessness, between obedience to tradition between order and lawlessness, between obedience to tradition and defiance of it, between social stability and revolution, and defiance of it, between social stability and revolution, between one attitude to life and another." ( )
  Kristelh | Apr 14, 2020 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Hartley, L. P.primær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Brooks-Davies, DouglasIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Delaney, FrankIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
South, AnnaEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Tóibín, ColmIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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But, child of dust, the fragrant flowers,
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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
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Ingen

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." 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.

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