Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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

What listeners say about The Go-Between

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    85
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    78
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A heart wrenching story.

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • mr
  • 06-12-19

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just Wonderful!

This book is so beautifully written, so descriptive and so wonderful, that I didn't want it to end. It was made all the more precious by Sean Barrett's magnificent voice, which was the perfect choice to read it.

A book about class, wealth, deception, expectation and the total innocence of a 12 year old boy at the turn of the last century , I think I need to listen to it all over again, just because.......

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

extraordinary tale

The story is utterly gripping from the start. It will haunt ever after. Read beautifully

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Edward Hower
  • Edward Hower
  • 24-04-19

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for TiffanyD
  • TiffanyD
  • 05-08-18

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Laura G. Marcantoni
  • Laura G. Marcantoni
  • 15-11-20

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anthony
  • Anthony
  • 27-08-20

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jenny Helms
  • Jenny Helms
  • 06-03-20

Great story and narrator

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Linda Ward
  • Linda Ward
  • 19-01-17

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