A Game of Hide and Seek

A Game of Hide and SeekA teenage near romance has the chance of being rekindled twenty years later Twenty years too late This review gives away no than is in the books s blurb, though the quotes section at the end is a little less subtle It is poignant and painful, occasionally funny, but never sentimental or saccharine Beautifully written, and it doesn t take the easy options However, Taylor often introduces new characters or situations as if the reader knows all about them, only filling in the gaps later Also, there are a few sections that are rather different in tone from the rest of the book, making it feel a little unfinished.Harriet and Vesey have known each other since childhood, but the book starts between the wars, when they are around 18 and spend much of the summer at the house of his aunt, where Harriet is helping with the children There is plenty of frisson, but Harriet in particular is naive, and the reader is somewhat in the dark as well As she remembers a tryst, she reinvents it, whereas Vesey dismisses it because we are children He did not know that at his age most youths believe that they are men This summer makes up the first third of the novel, and teenage awkwardness and doubt is painfully authentic, though it s harder to see why Harriet is so attracted to Vesey when he s oafish, self centred and lacking in empathy There is also some pop psychology about them both being only children, Vesey s mother being a poor parent, and Harriet s suffragette mother being disappointed in her daughter s lack of academic success and ambition It feels a little out of place, though it does deliver some wonderful insights Vesey s mother drew attention to him as if he were a beloved marmoset on a chain, somehow enhancing her own originality, decorating her so he had no close friends, for he had too much to hide They drift apart Harriet finally shows a smidgen of initiative and gets a job in a shop a very comical section, but caricatured than the rest of the book She then marries a pleasant enough man and has a daughter, Betsy When Betsy is in her teens, Vesey comes back into Harriet s life Their feelings are clearer, but their course of action less so This takes its toll on her marriage, and this is the finest section of the book see some of the quotes Time drags on, with increasing tension, longing, and doubt all round The tragic passages are balanced by comedy in the shop, and then with Harriet s incompetent au pair, the Dutch girl In the latter case, the humour is based on misunderstanding, exacerbated by the housekeeper using twee British idioms that she doesn t understand When wondering why she came, Charles suggests it s a cheap way of learning how to speak American.Overall, despite its inconsistent style, this is a beautiful book.Miscellaneous quotes Suffragettes wondering, years later, if it was all worth it or whether time would not despite them have floated down to them casually what they had almost drowned in struggling to reach Nearly a wonderful sentence, but actually horribly mangled An adult s irritation at young Vesey was in in reality impatience with another person s youth heightened by nostalgia for his own A bucolic bus journey In those days, trees laced together above many a road buses took perilous journeys, with twigs scratching at either side cars, meeting them, backed up into gateways The bus conductor was like the conductor of an orchestra He guided the conversation, drew out the shy or bored or tired, linked the passengers together and made a whole thing out of an assortment When lovers walk, Time s winged chariot was not a thing that they could hear Departure in the afternoon is depressing to those who are left The day is so dominated by the one who has gone and, although only half done, must be got through with that particular shadow lying over it The days shortened, but only technically The time it took to live them seemed endless Virginity a mixed blessing She was left with only her self respect, which did not seem to mean as much to her as she had been led to believe What she had dreaded in suspense and embarrassment, she now fastened to She embraced him with an erratic but extortionate passion He was profoundly moved, though shocked, by her desperation But to her, life seemed all at once simplified The lady of the Manor who looked as if she had been bred in her own stables Far from fearing middle age, one took refuge in it I m not sure about that Being tormented by a cue for jealousy It was as if an unkind hand raked up dead leaves in his heart When tension is highest between Harriet and her husband Marriage doesn t solve mysteries It creates and deepens then The two of them being shut up physically in this dark space, yet locked away for ever from one another, was oppressive Looking back on her married life, it seemed a frayed, tangled thing made by two strangers Beyond their familiarity and nakedness they could now sense their true isolation and were perfectly strange to one another than people passing in the street Betsy had not so much grown up as unrolled as if she were all there at the beginning, but that each birthday unrolled of her, made visible, though suggesting A lady s companion had nothing to sell but her own company, which most people would have paid to avoid More teen angst Nothing was explicable, even to herself When she wept, it was from confusion Her ravelled emotions fatigued her She was overwrought from uncertainty, than from any specific cause Dusk, like a sediment, sifted down through bluish sky. In A Game of Hide and Seek Elizabeth Taylor has created a heartbreakingly poignant love story Though this is in no way a conventional girl meets boy happy ever after kind of love story I imagine the story was shaped largely by events in Elizabeth Taylor s own life and this shows in the absolutely exquisite writing and what feels for the reader, as an absolute authenticity Nicola Beauman author of The Other Elizabeth Taylor considers the character of Harriet along with that of Julia in At Mrs Lippincote s to be the characters most like Elizabeth Taylor herself I was also reminded strongly of a short story in The Blush called Goodbye, Goodbye in which a man breaks his promise to never see again the woman he had a relationship with years earlier Maybe there was a little of Elizabeth Taylor in the character of Caroline in that story too.At eighteen Harriet and Vesey have already known each other for years, his aunt and her mother were great friends, suffragettes once imprisoned together Vesey is carelessly rebellious Harriet loves him quietly and nervously When Vesey goes to Oxford their lives begin to diverge Harriet waits anxiously for news of him Following the death of her mother Harriet marries Charles, older and dependable he provides her with a lovely conventional home, and draws her into a social circle that includes Kitty and Tiny Vesey is never forgotten by Harriet who only glimpses him only briefly thereafter until he returns to her when they are both middle aged he a rather down at heel actor she a mother of a fifteen year old daughter Harriet finds herself disregarding her marriage in order to see of Vesey, a situation that Charles and Kitty soon become aware of The ending in many ways is the right one although inevitably sad and one I think I will keep thinking about for many days.Life for Harriet passes by quickly in the narrative the years speed by just as in life Suddenly she is middle aged with an almost grown daughter, than once she wishes she could be young again that she and Vesey could have their time over If only we were young again she said in a tired voice And might have a second chance The daily routines of a conventional wife and mother are brilliantly reproduced The conversations between Harriet and her daily help Mrs Curzon, the frustrations with her mother in law, the dullness and disappointments of life These are the preoccupations of many middle class women and Elizabeth Taylor s view of them is sharp Even Harriet s view of foreigners seems so like Elizabeth Taylor s would have been, rather modern by the standards of the time she absolutely understood how it would feel to be cast adrift in a new country the confusion and incomprehension of England and it s ways Children are done brilliantly as ever their little observations and worries beautifully observed Time and again in her writing Elizabeth Taylor shows how wonderfully well she understands children It is often in these wonderful observations of children and childhood that we see some of the best examples of Elizabeth Taylor s wonderful wit Deirdre suddenly remembered that she would get infantile paralysis if she ate ice cream that had not been made in her own home Elizabeth Jane Howard considers A Game of Hide and Seek to be probably her best novel she said as much at the Elizabeth Taylor event in Reading recently and although there are three I have yet to read I think I already agree This is a wonderful novel What is there to say 3.5 stars rounded upFor some reason I didn t connect with this novel in the same way as I have with the other novels by Taylor I have read The two main protagonists are Harriet and Vesey They have known each other since childhood and have always had feelings for each other Their feelings as teenagers are intense and innocent and Taylor is good at highlighting hidden fears, disappointments, griefs and longings that everyone has and then show how odd and absurd it all is Harriet is shy so is Vesey, but in a different way and also has a cruel and destructive self destructive streak They lose touch when Vesey goes to Oxford he doesn t stay in contact from distance Harriet marries an older man and has a daughter, safety and security Vesey drops out of Oxford and becomes an actor They might again when Harriet s daughter is fifteen Feelings are still strong and the second half of the novel is the working out of the situation There are plenty of minor characters, some better drawn than others The portrayal of Harriet s daughter Betsy is well drawn in its capture of teenage angst, rebelliousness and obsession Taylor also has a sharp sense of humour as this passage shows Harriet is young and working in a shop with her co workers Miss Lovelace removed her chicken broth from the gas ring so that Miss Lazenby could heat the little pan of waxWe spread it on and tear it off, Miss Brimpton directed Then we ll have the chicken broth, Miss Lovelace put the pan back on the gas ring On the upper lip first dear, Miss Brimpton advised Harriet, Slightly downy if I may say so Anyone else would be insulted, Miss Lazenby said dreamily I call mine a bloody moustache Well that s up to you dear, what you call it Harriet obediently spread the melting wax around her mouth I m doing my beard as well, Miss Lazenby said recklessly The tenor is set from early on and the story itself is poignant love which endures but never really works out and the differences between the two are clear Vesey, whose next steps would take him over the threshold of a new and promising world, wished to go without any backward glances or entanglements He was not one to keep up friendships, never threw out fastening tendrils such as letters or presents or remembrances was quite unencumbered by all the things which Harriet valued and kept drawers full of photographs, brochures, programmes, postcards, diaries He never remembered birthdays or any other anniversary Taylor highlights the mundanities of everyday life, marriage and convention as well When she married Charles, she had seemed to wed also a social order A convert to it, and to provincial life, and keeping house, she had pursued it fanatically and as if she feared censure But now she flouted what she had helped to create an illusion of society an oiling of the wheels which went round but not forwards conventions which could only exist so long as emotion was in abeyance As always Taylor is very quotable and this is a nuanced novel and it is clear that if Vesey and Harriet had been together that things would not necessarily have been better In that way it is also rather bleak but Taylor does insert humour, even about her own trade The novel is practically finished as an art form, he replied I suppose it is, said Harriet Virginia Woolf has brought it to the edge of ruin Yes, said Harriet But it was inevitable, he added, laying no blame As I said I didn t connect with this one in the way that I did with A View of the Harbour, but it is an interesting exploration of love and convention. Taylor is at the top of her game in this novel, the love story of Vesey and Harriet, who have known each other since they were children Harriet is modest, self effacing, and diffident Academically untalented in childhood, she is aware early on of being a disappointment to her careworn, widowed mother, Lilian, who was once a suffragette and, unsurprisingly, had big dreams for the girl Vesey is the restless, troubled, and rather unreliable nephew of Caroline, Lilian s great friend, also a crusader for women s rights He is uncomfortable with vulnerability and tenderness, so any time he demonstrates these towards Harriet, he follows up with sarcasm and even cruelty The love between the two is real enough, but the character of each prevents any real relationship from forming.When Vesey goes off to Oxford, Harriet finds work as a shop girl Ultimately, she marries a much older man, who provides her with a comfortable, middle class existence After almost twenty years without contact, Vesey re enters Harriet s life The dutiful, conscientious, and quite conventional woman now finds herself behaving almost as a character in a drama or a novel She corresponds with Vesey destroying his letters after having memorized them and journeys several times by train to London to meet him Vesey has made little of himself He s a third rate actor, who travels around the country from venue to venue, living in squalid boarding houses, neglecting himself, never getting ahead Taylor suggests that a lack of parental love is at the root of his troubles I found this a much accomplished novel than Taylor s earlier works There are no pontificators here The characters and the situations and, yes, the story of a tragically unfulfilled love between two ordinary people, as well are very well realized.Rating 4.5 I almost died of boredom. Perfect love casteth out awkwardness The intro described this as a cross between Wuthering Heights and Persuasion Yeah I think I d rather read actual Bront and Austen yikes I couldn t make head nor tails of the love story in the beginning Of the why these two together And that just set a negative tone for the whole novel for me which I could never get over The writing was, however, very lovely and there was much to admire in the development of certain characters Hovering around the two and a half to three stars ratingMaybe closer to two Full marks for the gorgeous hardback cover on this edition though So pretty Harriet And Vesey Meet When They Are Teenagers, And Their Love Is As Intense And Instantaneous As It Is Innocent But They Are Young All Life Still Lies Ahead Vesey Heads Off Hopefully To Pursue A Career As An Actor Harriet Marries And Has A Child, Becoming A Settled Member Of Suburban Society And Then Vesey Returns, The Worse For Wear, And With Him The Love Whose Memory They Have Both Sentimentally Cherished, And Even After So Much Has Happened It Cannot Be Denied But Things Are Not At All As They Used To Be Love, It Seems, Is Hardly Designed To Survive Life One Of The Finest Twentieth Century English Novelists, Elizabeth Taylor, Like Her Contemporaries Graham Greene, Richard Yates, And Michelangelo Antonioni, Was A Connoisseur Of The Modern World S Forsaken Zones Her Characters Are Real, People Caught Out By Their Own Desires And Decisions, And They Demand Our Attention The Be Stilled Suburban Backwaters She Sets Out To Explore Shimmer In Her Books With The Punishing Clarity Of A Desert Mirage I did not enjoy this book I came very close to abandoning it several times I dreaded the thought of reading it, ten or twenty pages at a sitting It was an emotional roller coaster There were moments of agony there were moments of bliss But mostly, it was a drudge.Try as I might, I could not connect with the characters Try as I might, I could not overcome the unsettling feeling of having been repeatedly dropped by parachute into situations which I did not understand which were peopled by characters that I did not recognize.So why did I finish it Because this author, than 100 years after her birth, is being lauded as one of the greatest authors of her time Because I was curious And as my mother habitually responded to my tiresome to her childish curiosity just because.I believe that this novel was not written to be enjoyed It portrays a grim slice of middle class life in mid 20th century England With a few changes in dialogue, some different place names and given names, it could have been middle class life in mid 20th century Canada In fact, it might very well be a slice of life in many cultures in the early 21st century.As I ponder my discomfort, I begin to realize that I feel strongly about this story because I do recognize these people I don t like them, though, these immature, dysfunctional, insecure people Watching them stumble through their daily life for eighteen years has been painful Almost as painful as looking back on the immature, dysfunctional, insecure people who populate my own personal history.Without exception, the characters in this book all had their own unique and exceptional gifts, their own potential which with appropriate nurturing might have blossomed and borne fruit Sadly, it seems that not one of them had this advantage They are wounded people, emotionally crippled, victims paralyzed by misunderstandings, poor communication, contemptuous glances, and self serving schemers The list of blows is lengthy The sins of the father are visited upon the son Likewise, mother and daughter Both are front and center in this tragic tale Those who, in mid life, are stuck at the emotional age of eighteen are neglectfully parenting another generation who will likewise be stuck in adolescence I weep and gnash my teeth I can manage no other response. Forbidden fruit would be just as boring as the other kind if we ate it all the time Harriet and Vesey meet as adolescents, fall in love as near adults, and spend near middle age rekindling their proto love after two decades of virtually no contact and marriage, kids, etc The title is apt, since the entire novel constitutes a slow, gamboling chase of two people trapped in not so much a love story as a lost love story For all the doom though, Taylor, is hilarious, with wicked little touches and tricksy things and people permeating the lot In the end, it comes down to people wedding themselves to convention instead of greater, nobler ideals, like love If you ve seen it, it might remind you of the classic film Brief Encounter, which I must always recommend for fans of doomed passion.Weirdly overlooked, Taylor stands out as one of the greats of just after WW2 British fiction. A Game of hide and Seek is the story of Harriet and Vesey who develop affectionate feelings for one another as children but fate plays a game of hide and seek with their lives.The novel has very strong character sketches The reader almost feels as if inside Harriet s head As for Vesey, I found myself warming to him as the novel nearly reaches its end Vesey is always the insensitive fellow, but Taylor explains how or why he is so towards the ending which made me love his character too Both Harriet and Vesey are victims of misunderstandings, unsaid confessions and unexpressed feelings Charles Harriet s husband , who is aware of Harriet s affections towards Vesey, feels his marriage threatened by Vesey s presence Taylor brings out his fears and agony as a husband while contrasting it to the desperation and yearning that Harriet and Vesey feel for each other The secondary characters are well crafted too.I found this to be a heart touching read It is one of my favourite novels now Highly recommended For a detailed review visit

Elizabeth Taylor n e Coles was a popular English novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Coles was born in Reading, Berkshire in 1912 She was educated at The Abbey School, Reading, and worked as a governess, as a tutor and as a librarian.In 1936, she married John William Kendall Taylor, a businessman She lived in Penn, Buckinghamshire, for almost all her married life.Her first novel, At Mrs

❮Epub❯ ➥ A Game of Hide and Seek ➤ Author Elizabeth Taylor – Webcamtopladies.info
  • Paperback
  • 260 pages
  • A Game of Hide and Seek
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • 02 August 2019
  • 9780860685562

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