By L.P. Hartley
Leslie Poles Hartley was born in 1895; he studied in Oxford and was officer in France during World War 1. He was novelist, short-story writer and critic. His reputation as a writer was established with the publication of the trilogy of novels, The Shrimp and the Anemone (1944), The Sixth Heaven (1946), and Eustace and Hilda (1947). He died in 1972.
The Go-between was first published in 1953, the following year it received the Heinemann Foundation Prize of the Royal Society of Literature. Its film version was also very successful and won the principal award at the Festival de Cannes in 1973. This book is a fiction, it's a memory story: a man in his sixties looks back on his boyhood of the middle class boy recalling the events that took place on a summer visit to an aristocratic family in Norfolk in the 1900's. The author uses double narrative, the young Leo's actions told by the older Leo, and it shows us how it has affected his life
First, I'll expose you the main characters, their functions and relationships, then I'll give you a small summary of the story, followed by the main themes and their symbolic elements, and finally the style of the book.
Leo Colston has two different aspects, he's the narrator of the book, a man of about sixty year old, and he's a "dried up" man inside.
Leo is a young boy of the middle class. He lives alone with his mother in West Hash, a little village near Salisbury. His father was a bank gardener in Salisbury is dead, Leo thinks he was a crank, he didn't want his son to go to school but his mother always wanted him to go so as soon as he died, he went. His mother liked gossip and was very sensitive to public opinion, she needed social frame, and we can easily imagine her pleasure when her son has been invited to spend a summer to a rich friend. He has also an aunt, Charlotte, a Londoner. He and his mother were living on her money, the pension from the bank and the little; his father had been able to put by. Leo attends to the same school as upper class boys, such as Maudsley (he doesn't remember his name probably because he has never been a special friend to him but while reading the diary he remembers his name was Marcus). Leo used to write his feelings and the happenings of each day on a diary. He believed he had magical powers and was able to cast spells. When he was at school, two boys who had annoyed him had an accident and he believes it is due to what he wrote on his journal. When he went to Brandham Hall, he was naïve and innocent. He didn't know anything about love and sex. He naturally felt in love with a beautiful lady, as any young boy would have done. He's curious about sex even if he doesn't know what it is. The lack of father is especially important at that point; those explanations should be made by the father "it's a job for your dad really " At the end of the story he has discovered what he wanted to know but the outcome is devasting for him, he'll be haunted all his life by the ghost of Ted. He'll feel guilty all his life; his freshness and purity are gone.
Marian Maudsley is the older sister of Marcus. She was a very beautiful woman with grey eyes and blond hair. Being a young woman of high class, she's expected by her family and society to marry Lord Trimmingham. But is having a passionate affair with a farmer Ted Burgess. They are both in love one with another and years later she still thinks that it was they "were made for each other". She knows what she had to do and eventually marries Lord Trimmingham. She stayed loyal to him all their life after Ted's death but when she married him she was pregnant.
Ted Burgess is a farmer on the Maudsley property. He's in love with Marian and wants her to escape with him. He tries to explain to Leo what there is underneath love and the meaning of words like "spooning" but then realising he can't; tells him that its his father's job. He's so desperate of...