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“The past is another country: they do things differently there” – so begins the haunting novel The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley. I think this is a stunning book. It is about class, illicit love, boyhood dreams versus cruel reality, and it movingly depicts growing up and the loss of innocence.
This is a novel about a secret love affair between a man and a woman who come from very different echelons of the English class system. In the middle is a boy from yet another social class, a ‘go-between’ between upper and lower class characters in the story.
Hartley was a prolific novelist, but his other books have not really lasted. The Go-Between has remained by far his most popular work, it has been filmed and put on stage, and is as relevant today as it was when first published in 1953.
Join me in an exploration of this modern classic - experience the heat of that summer of 1900, share the excitement of forbidden passion, and sympathise with a boy who is used and abused by those who should know better. Do you think this novel is a tragedy? If so, why? Discuss this with your book group or even with me by leaving a comment below.
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Add more enjoyment to your copy of L.P. Hartley & The Go-Between Literary Reader's Guide at its online companion page. Susannah has prepared these recommended resources to accompany L.P. Hartley & The Go-Between.
Featured image credit- Jack Hollington & Jim Broadbent in The Go Between, 2015 BBC TV adaptation, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4073696/
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