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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wistful, chaste, and utterly captivating.
Resembling both McEwan's Atonement and Frayn's Spies in its plot, this 1953 novel, recently reprinted, tells of a pre-adolescent's naive meddling in the love lives of elders, with disastrous results. Set in the summer of 1900, when the hopes and dreams for the century were as yet untarnished by two world wars and subsequent horrors, this novel is quietly elegant in style,...
Published on 26 Dec. 2002 by Mary Whipple

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
The book cover and first few pages are badly creased and damaged. The rest is clean and intact.
Published 4 months ago by Ms Elaine Frances


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wistful, chaste, and utterly captivating., 26 Dec. 2002
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Resembling both McEwan's Atonement and Frayn's Spies in its plot, this 1953 novel, recently reprinted, tells of a pre-adolescent's naive meddling in the love lives of elders, with disastrous results. Set in the summer of 1900, when the hopes and dreams for the century were as yet untarnished by two world wars and subsequent horrors, this novel is quietly elegant in style, its emotional upheavals restrained, and its 12-year-old main character, Leo Colston, so earnest, hopeful, and curious about life that the reader cannot help but be moved by his innocence.
Leo's summer visit to a friend at Brandham Hall introduces him to the landed gentry, the privileges they have assumed, and the strict social behaviors which guide their everyday lives. Bored and wanting to be helpful when his friend falls ill, Leo agrees to be a messenger carrying letters between Marian, his host's sister, and Ted Burgess, her secret love, a farmer living nearby. Catastrophe is inevitable--and devastating to Leo.
In descriptive and nuanced prose, Hartley evokes the heat of summer and the emotional conflicts it heightens, the intensity rising along with the temperature. Magic spells, creatures of the zodiac, and mythology create an overlay of (chaste) paganism for Leo's perceptions, while widening the scope of Hartley's focus and providing innumerable parallels and symbols for the reader.
The emotional impact of the climax is tremendous, heightened by the author's use of three perspectives--Leo Colston as a man in his 60's, permanently damaged by events when he was 12; Leo as a 12-year-old, wrestling with new issues of class, social obligation, friendship, morality, and love, while inadvertently causing a disaster; and the reader himself, for whom hindsight and knowledge of history create powerful ironies as he views these events and the way of life they represent. Mary Whipple
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A secretly Gothic novel..., 22 Oct. 2003
By 
M. Mabbott (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This novel has all the elements of Gothicism in it which is only apparent after a few reads. The Zodiac symbolism is interesting and Leo's innocence is sometimes amusing, sometimes infuriating and cringe-worthy. A great read about the nostalgia of childhood with a genuinely upsetting ending. Beware of the footnotes in this edition as it gave away the story to me when i followed them!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that makes you want to hurry up and live, 17 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
If you have never read Emily Bronte or Samuel Beckett, come to that matter, this book will startle you with its depth, its profundity, its beauty and its desolation. I suppose it has connections with Remains of the Day, as well.
An old man discovers a diary which takes him back to the most significant moment in his life, in 1900, when he was only twelve, and spent nineteen days as a go-between, as a taker of messages for a woman he thinks is a goddess, and a farm-labourer who he wishes to grow up to be like. As the story moves towards the devastating collapse of their relationship, we as the readers discover that he never recovered from the way that the young adults mistreated him in his past, and in the epilogue are reminded again of his barren present, an individual destined never to surf emotional waves as he did when he was twelve, nearly thirteen.
As well as the compulsion of the narrative, the information from Leo's diary means that he can recall his own observations on the adult world from the enlightened eye of childhood, which are very funny, and this means that this novel preserves the potential (which the present-day Leo has lost) to realise that uncorrupted, unselfish outlook in the most childlike part of ourselves. By the way, lots of children's books do this nowadays - but I think this ability was less well-developed in the 1950's. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite perfect, 7 July 2010
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The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there ... from the first sentence I was entranced by this masterpiece of a novel, set during an Edwardian summer heatwave - you can feel the tension building as the thermometer rises. This is one of the best novels of adolescence that I have ever read. Leo Colston, now an old man, looks back on a long country house visit in the summer of 1900 which seemed then to be the dawn of a golden age. He becomes embroiled as the messenger-boy in a love triangle between the beautiful daughter of the house, the wounded hero she is expected to marry and a throbbingly-sexy farmer.
A brilliant evocation of an innocent boy groping his way in an adult world that he is ill-equipped to understand. A classic.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars English Classic, 17 Nov. 2002
By A Customer
It is amazing to think how so many writers become remembered for just one work. LP Hartley is one such author. Other great books he has written, but, unsurprisingly, this, his best work is the most famous
Reviews here describe it as being a growing-up novel. While this is undeniably the case there is far more to it than that. It is also a portrayal of England's manners at the beginning of the twentieth-century, much as EM Forster's work is.
The compelling feature of this novel is the description. Read Hartley's passage describing the intense summer heat on a winter's day and you will feel the heat, you will smell the dry grass cuttings - it will be summer.
As a final point, I should like to say that this novel would be of special interest to anyone in the the counties of Norfolk (where the novel is set), Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, where the author spent much of his life in the Fens.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mercury's Discoveries And Revelations, 24 Nov. 2002
By 
Mr. S. J. Wade "thebardofb6" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There are few slim volumes of English prose that come as close to perfection as Hartley's masterpiece. Not a word; not a paragraph; not a page is wasted. Simple evocation of summer and the throbbing heat of oppression and sexuality. Poisonous plants grow in this season of plenty. Secrets are kept, the innocent are manipulated. A boy in his Lincoln green suit tells his tale. Gorgeous wonderful atmosphere is caught distilled and captured in the wonderful book forever. A 'must read' for those that have delighted in well-written English. Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. As you may have guessed, I quite liked it!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Age of Innocence, 25 Aug. 2003
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
The story opens with the narrator cleaning out some personal effects. He uncovers a diary for the year 1900 and is drawn reluctantly into the happenings of that eventful year. It's the hot warm summer of 1900, and Leo Colston, a public schoolboy is invited to spend some of the summer at the home of a friend, Marcus Maudsley. They are well to do and are renting the family home of Lord Triningham. Immediately Leo is captivated by Marcus's sister, Marion, and romanticises her into his Lady Marion. She asks him to carry a message for her to a local farmer, and in doing so Leo is drawn into the romantic affairs of adults. Leo also meets Hugh Triningham, the ninth Viscount, and yet to be announced fiance to Marion, to whom he looks up to and often questions about the etiquette and behaviour of the time.
During the course of his stay, Leo navigates the social strata strongly in place at the time, and delights in the halycon summer. His innocence is touching, and you wish him to stay blissfully ignorant of the love affair in which he has become an integral part. However, it is a love-affair that can never be, and in a stormy and rainy night, it all comes to a climax, leaving our young narrator severely traumatised.
Throughout the book, the grown-up narrator reflects on his personality and how the events of that wonderful, but also terrible summer shaped him for the years to come.
This is a magnificent novel of an ill-fated love affair, but told from a different perspective. It belongs to an era long gone, before the First World War, when men were gentlemen and it was never the ladies fault.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good old classic, 21 April 2014
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This review is from: The Go-between (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I read this for A level English 40 years ago and thought i I'd see if still holds up today. It does, a really good read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Go-between, 25 May 2013
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Mr. G. M. Ashley (S. Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Go-between (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This book was bought for a book club project and was exactly as required. It has been passed on for someone else.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 24 Feb. 2015
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The book cover and first few pages are badly creased and damaged. The rest is clean and intact.
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The Go-between (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Go-between (Penguin Modern Classics) by L. P. Hartley (Paperback - 26 Feb. 1987)
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