Tags: l p hartley


Something Nasty in the Woodshed: The Go-Between

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
This is probably one of the best-known opening lines in English literature.
L P Hartley’s The Go-Between was first published in 1953. It’s donkey’s years since I read the book; probably I was at school, when I read everything and L P Hartley was more highly regarded than he is now. Many people probably only know the book because of the film, which starred Alan Bates and Julie Christie.

Leo Colston, now in his sixties, looks back to a visit paid to a school friend in the scorching summer of 1900. At twelve years old he finds himself in a grown-up world of mysteries and secrets. As a result the whole course of his life is changed. No more about it now, as it’s the next choice of the Cornflower Book Group. I’ll just say that if you start the prologue and find yourself thinking, ‘This is rather slow and boring,’ persevere. It’s worth it.