Skip to main content

Review: The Go-Between, by LP Hartley

In the brutally hot summer of 1900, Leo Colston, aged 12, is invited by his friend Marcus Maudsley to stay at his family’s estate, Brandham Hall. Marcus’s sister Marian enlists Leo to carry letters back and forth between herself and her lover, Ted Burgess, a local farmer. At the same time, Marian becomes engaged to Lord Trimingham who, in the eyes of “polite” society, is a much better match for her.

Looking back, fifty years later, Leo’s memory tries to piece together the particulars of what happened that summer. Leo’s story is superficially a coming-of-age tale and the marking of the loss of innocence, but its also a story about perception and deception. Leo’s friendship with Marian is a lot stronger than his friendship with Marcus, who initially brought them together.

There’s a lot that 12-year-old Leo can’t figure out, especially when it comes to sex and love—for example, he assumes that when Marian becomes engaged, that the notes to Ted will stop. Its clear that Leo can’t quite condone the socially unacceptable relationship between Marian and Ted. But still, he continues to participate in the deception because he likes the attention it brings him. The ending of this powerful novel is explosive and shocking. The Go-Between is a well-written and admirable novel because of its unique take on the “forbidden love” and “coming of age” stories.

Matt at A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook wrote a much better review of this book here. Also reviewed by Bookey Wookey


Amanda said…
Thanks for the review! I added it to my TBR pile :)
nbbaker1102 said…
This looks like a good one. I'm adding this one to the TBR.
Teddy Rose said…
Looks like a reallyt good one. You really need to stop adding to my TBR like this! It is so out of hand.
Matt said…
"The past is a different country... they do things differently there?"

One of my favorite opening lines from novels. Well-written book.

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…