The Go-Between: Innocence, Sex And War

Geoff Dyer at The Guardian:

“The past is a foreign country” has finally become part of my present. I’ve just read LP Hartley’s 1953 novel The Go-Between for the first time, a book everyone else my age read at least 45 years ago. I’d seen the film and that seemed to be enough. And then, a few weeks ago, I came across a seductive Penguin edition in a secondhand bookshop in Edinburgh and became curious to find out what I’d been missing.

A book about a boy becoming initiated into the mysteries of adult life (sex and its frequent thematic partner, betrayal), it is itself the kind of novel that introduces youngish readers into the mysteries and subtleties of fiction. Reading the novel is part of the process of learning how to read novels. But there was something appropriate, also, about the long delay in my getting round to it. I was reading The Go‑Between at the same age as the “60-odd” narrator when he looks back at the momentous summer of 1900. As a result, my experience of the book became inflected with the reading that had come between the age when I might or should have read it and the advanced age when I eventually did.

more here.