The Go-Between

Narrated by: Sean Barrett
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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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
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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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<br />Great story and narrator<br />

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

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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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  • 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

3 people found this helpful

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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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  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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  • 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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  • FreebieBean
  • 08-28-19

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.......

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  • Janet
  • 07-11-19

extraordinary tale

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

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  • Alexandra
  • 03-09-19

Richly detailed and thoughtfully read

Despite a slow start, I was totally engrossed in this story and interested in the imagined viewpoint of the young protagonist. For anyone who loves beautifully written language and spot on narration.

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  • Sarah Alvi
  • 09-16-18

Amazing!

The narrator's voice is fitting to the story and the time it is set in, also very nice to listen to! Would recommend this version of the audiobook! Great book too.

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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.

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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