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The Go-Between  By  cover art

The Go-Between

By: L. P. Hartley
Narrated by: Sean Barrett
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Publisher's Summary

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

Haunting, moving, evocative, The Go-Between is L. P. Hartley's heartbreaking novel about social constraints and childhood innocence.

During the long, hot summer of 1900, young Leo Colston is invited to stay for a month at a lordly, aristocratic manor in Norfolk. There he falls in love with his friend's older sister, who commissions him to ferry secret messages to the local farmer, her lover. His naiveté sustains their affair until ultimately leading to an event that will change their lives irrevocably.

©1953 L.P. Hartley (P)2016 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Go-Between

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great walk back in time.

Would you listen to The Go-Between again? Why?

This story keep me listening! Was get story!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Leo

What about Sean Barrett’s performance did you like?

Brought each character alive!

If you could take any character from The Go-Between out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Leo

Any additional comments?

I love listening to this story!!!

2 people found this helpful

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A modern classic

Wonderfully evocative novel of class struggle in England, characters you care deeply about, a terrific plot line.

1 person found this helpful

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Evocative and a little heart breaking

A beautiful opening line leads to a rather heartbreaking story, of lies and misunderstandings and class divides in pre-WWI England. The book must be better known in Britain than in the U.S. because I had only heard of it recently, even though I tend to be read a lot of British literature.

The reading was quite good, and managed to get me through a key plot point about cricket even though I know almost nothing about it.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful!

I had enjoyed this book back in the ‘70s and often thought about it since. In recent years I mostly “read” audio books and I realize that I am at the mercy of the narrator. Even a great book can be ruined by poor narration. So I was hesitant about this recording as I was fearful it might spoil the good opinion I had of it. To my great surprise, it did the opposite. Sean Barrett’s narration was perfect and left me with even more admiration for this great classic. I could hardly take a break from listening. I could not recommend it more.

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A outstanding performance

This was an English set work at school which concentrated, at the time, on the abundant metaphors.
Many years later, for me, the metaphors are wonderful, but the social commentary is more important. Perhaps our teacher was reticent in highlighting the naughty bits. Perhaps we were too young to grasp the facts. Perhaps we were too privileged, as young white boys in South Africa, to appreciate the other 'classes'.
Forty years later I could not stop listening, all the more so for Sean Barrret's narration.
Get it. Emerse yourself in the story.

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A beautiful book

It doesn't happen often that a movie is as good as the book and vice versa, but this is the case of "The go between".
The story told through the eyes of a young boy is gripping and has the sweet and sad flavour of a very hot summer beautiful and bitter at the same time and it is beautifully told.
I liked the intimate tone of the performance quite a bit and the way the narrator brought the various characters to life.

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Wonderful

A beautiful story of English family and class difference at the turn of the 19 th century.
Well narrated and always interesting with unexpected turns and nuances in the story.
There is surprise and dignity in the ending v

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Great story and narrator

Loved it. Want to listen again. The story has a brilliant ending. Take a listen.

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  • Andrew M. Woodward
  • 04-30-16

Superb evocative reading

Sean Barret's quiet understated delivery is perfect for the emotionally damaged Leo Colston and the supporting cast of characters

4 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 05-20-17

A book to be enjoyed time and again.

An enthralling many-faceted story of a young boy caught up in a passionate, clandestine love-affair: the year is 1900. His unsuspecting role as a go-between is vital to the mismatched lovers, who would be social outcasts if discovered. But as he slowly becomes aware of what is really going on and tries to extricate himself, events spin out of control and there is an unexpectedly dramatic outcome for all concerned. The ending is upbeat and well managed.

This book made Hartley famous. Wonderfully well written and constructed, it deserves close listening - each word counts. Feelings and emotions on every level are discussed in such a way that the reader feels them too: this is a sensitive author whose story is compelling, and beautifully read by Sean Barrett in this recording.

The film with Julie Christie playing the lead, is distressingly shallow and unremarkable. The book deserves better: it is monumental.

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  • AJ Beadel
  • 04-05-17

Stunning

Having vaguely heard of this book for many years, but confused about why a story about a boy passing letters could be so lauded, I took the plunge and started listened. Even from the opening chapter it is incredibly engaging - the old Leo looking back on 1900 the way we may look back on 1950. It's a tale of the end of innocence and entry into adulthood. A boy encountering his masculine potentials through Ted and Hugh. Adults using children for their own ends. The themes are powerful - class, magic vs fact, ability to determine our own fate. A brilliant listen, superbly narrated.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Katherine C
  • 01-03-21

A heart wrenching story.

I loved it and what a great narrator that gives the main characters life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-01-20

surprisingly enjoyable

Not my usual choice but enjoyed it didn't see the ending coming. A few laugh out loud moments and enjoyed the charming way of the young Leo.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Oxfordians
  • 03-08-22

Beautiful novel, beautifully read

A beautifully literate novel, beautifully read. Seldom does a narrator capture so perfectly the essence of a genre, a tradition, and an individual writer’s talent. Very moving.

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  • yellox84
  • 11-21-21

Brilliant story brilliantly read

Sean Barrett brings all the characters to life fantastically well. A very moving, and at times funny, story too.

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  • ziiigggg
  • 07-01-20

Well worth a credit

This classic does sound dated, not just the story content, but the style and characterisation. That said, this also forms part of its charm, and it made me think about the sort of life my great grandparents might have had in rural England.
The narrator has an older middle class voice, actually he sounds quite a lot older than the character requires, who is only early sixties, but again this is part of the charm of this audiobook.
It is a snapshot of a bygone age, as well as a coming of age tale.
Well worth a credit and stands head and shoulders above much of the publisher led dross commissioned and pushed on us nowadays.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • letitia knight
  • 05-28-20

A beautiful story and beautifully told

I had.read.the book many years ago. During lockdown i was.getting through so many books i decided to.relax.and listen to some.audios. This has been a joy. The book is beautiful! .To be in young Leo's world at Bamford Hall and meet the upper.classes , gave you so much insight into the way the privileged live. It's an emotional tale and I felt so very disappointed when it finished. But. It's on my kindle. Give it a year and ill.enjoy again

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  • mr
  • 12-06-19

Not all classics are deserving of high praise...

..and this is one of those books

Pros. Characters are rich, vibrant and well written..the author draws you into the time, scenes and smells of the story well.

Cons...ultimately this is a slow moving and fairly uneventful story..if you like social commentary delivered by benign situational story telling then this is it. But an exciting or gripping read this isnt..

Ultimately it's a story about a boy being naive, delivering letters in a love triangle and growing up to learn that adults can be manipulative, deceitful and human.

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  • Jenny Rock
  • 06-18-19

Fantastic narration

I read this book about 40 years as a teenager. I loved it then but was perhaps too young to register how exceptional it was. It is beautifully written, & is incredibly cohesive with few details, if any, that don’t dovetail into & layer & reinforce its overall archetypal themes, perhaps especially, that tricky one of remaining true to or successfully realising the ardent dreams one can have in childhood, in adolescence, in young adulthood, at the beginning of new things when all is potential & everything is full of promise. This story brings home the fragile nature of human potential & how easily it can be permanently shut down through trauma.
Of the many audible books I’ve listened to, this is outstandingly the one where the 1st person narrator was such a match with what he was narrating, fully did it justice & absolutely enhanced & the story & its plausibility - Sean Barrett was so convincing as the voice of the dried up older man delving back into his youth to unearth the cataclysmic event that ruptured his identity & caused him to put the lid on the subjective world of feelings & sensibilities. I am so impressed with this narration: great timing, & a very lovely if subtle quality in the voice that made Leo’s voice so authentic.
This book was an absolute treat: stirring, moving, thought-provoking

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-18

A perfect reading of an excellent story!

There's something very magnetic about this story. An illicit love affair seen through the eyes of a boy who understands things through his boyish code of morals. The descriptions of events, which take place over a few weeks in a grand house one hot summer, are very easy to slip into. The story is both shocking and beautiful. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • alan riles
  • 06-02-22

One of those books that stays with you

Very competent but not outstanding narration.
A beguiling story of naivety and regret as old Leo reflects on young Leo becoming part of a menage a trois and a steadily evolving tragedy. The somewhat sudden ending and abrupt reversion to the retrospective view threw me at first but on reflection was a good way of portraying that foreign country where they did things differently.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-15-21

A little twee for me

Given the storyline, the performance was good. Pretty pedestrian plot and oh so jolly english schoolboy phrases and japery just made it tedious for me. The novel doesn’t seem to have survived well for a contemporary audience.