Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things unsaid, 19 Aug 2011
This review is from: A Game Of Hide And Seek (VMC) (Paperback)
"A Game of Hide-and-Seek", first published in 1951, opens in the 1920s. Harriet and Vesey are two teenagers playing the game with their young charges:

"They could not run fast across those uneven fields; nor did they wish to, since to find the hiding children was to lose their time together, to run faster was to run away from one another. The jog-trot was a game devised from shyness and uncertainty. Neither dared to assume that the other wished to pause and inexperience barred them both from testing this."

Harriet is kind and shy whilst Vesey hides his insecurity with selfishness and cruelty. The game with which the book opens is played, in one form or another, throughout their lives which are marked by regret, repression, and things unsaid.

Elizabeth Taylor is a quiet writer, completely in control of her material. A character or a situation can be captured in one perfect sentence. For example a bad repertory performance of "Hamlet" is described thus: "Scene after scene, shot with loveliness, threadbare with use, had lumbered by". Taylor's writing can be both very funny and achingly sad, and her description was such that I felt post-war England being built up street by street in vivid detail.

This is a book that rewards attention since its deceptively simple prose is filled with subtle ironies, implications, and connections. The narrative moves in fits and starts with much action happening off-stage (perhaps another allusion to the title). I agree with another reviewer that this didn't feel as tight as "A Wreath of Roses", and thinking about the book as a whole it seems elusive, not forming a coherent entity. This lack of unity, however, is also a reflection of life which, as the book shows, does not always unroll in a neat satisfying way.
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Review Details

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4.0 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
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3 star:
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Reviewer

Eleanor
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Oxford, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 337