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A Game of Hide and Seek (New York Review Books Classics)

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A Game of Hide and Seek (New York Review Books Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9781590174968
ISBN10: 1590174968
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The mid-twentieth century British novelist Elizabeth Taylor numbered among her admirers Elizabeth Bowen, Ivy Compton-Burnett, and Kingsley Amis. She also regularly published stories in The New Yorker for close to two decades. For all that, her work, as steely as it is delicate, remains the secret of a small number of intensely devoted readers. The publication of her finest novel, A Game of Hide and Seek, long unavailable in the United States, should help to change that. This is an unabashed love story, capturing all the uncertainty and inevitability and deceptiveness of true love, tracking the shifting currents of emotional life, and never yielding to melodrama.

Set in Britain between the wars, a time of transition between old convention and new ways, the book has for a heroine Harriet, the only child of a suffragette, whom we meet as a shy and domestic and not especially smart or pretty girl. At eighteen she falls in love with Vesey, but after Vesey must go away, she marries another man, Charles, and bears a child. Then Vesey returns.

Love is at the center of the book, but so too is Taylor’s extraordinary knack for depicting characters. The minor figures in the book — from Harriet’s mother’s friend Caroline, with her progressive politics, to Charles, his coworkers, and his mother, to Betsy with her schoolgirl crush on her Greek teacher — are as memorable as the passion and heartache of Harriet and Vesey.

Review:

“Taylor has the genius of making her characters understood, sometimes with an almost frightening clarity, perhaps because she is compassionate as well as relentless in her delineation of them.” The New York Times

Review:

“Funny, savage and full of loneliness and suppressed emotion.” The Observer

Review:

"Presently reading Elizabeth Taylor's (no, not that one) A Game of Hide and Seek. She's a magnificent and — for the idiotic reason that she's very middle-class — underrated mid-20th-century writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike." David Baddiel, The Independent (London)

Review:

"Taylor is one of the hidden treasures of the English novel." Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph (London)

Review:

"One of my all-time favorite authors." Sarah Waters, Sunday Times (London)

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Elizabeth Taylor (1912–1975) was born into a middle-class family in Berkshire, England. She held a variety of positions, including librarian and governess, before marrying a businessman in 1936. Nine years later, her first novel, At Mrs. Lippincote’s, appeared. She would go on to publish eleven more novels, including Angel (available as an NYRB Classic), four collections of short stories (many of which originally appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and other magazines), and a children’s book, Mossy Trotter, while living with her husband and two children in Buckinghamshire. Long championed by Ivy Compton-Burnett, Barbara Pym, Robert Liddell, Kingsley Amis, and Elizabeth Jane Howard, Taylor’s novels and stories have been the basis for a number of films, including Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005), starring Joan Plowright, and François Ozon’s Angel (2007). In 2013 NYRB Classics will publish a new selection of Taylor’s short stories.

Caleb Crain is the author of American Sympathy, a study of friendship between men in early American literature. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and n+1. His novel Necessary Errors will be published in 2013.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Deb Rhodes, July 15, 2014 (view all comments by Deb Rhodes)
The British writer, Elizabeth Taylor, has long been unappreciated in the world of fiction. Her novel, "A Game of Hide and Seek" is a wonderful example of the depth of her understanding of human psychology and the nuances of the relationships between men and women.

Harriet falls in love with Vesey when they are teens. He is lazy and self-focused, fond of her in a vague sort of way. His aloofness increases her desire for his affections, which are few and far between. They go their separate ways without Vesey having declared his love for her. Harriet tells no one of her love for him; she holds it deep within her heart, marrying the older, less exciting Charles only because she despairs of ever seeing Vesey again.

But of course he eventually pops up in her life again, resurrecting all those long-buried feelings she's tried so hard to ignore. Will she stay with her faithful, if boring, husband, or once more give her heart to the one least deserving of its affections?
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
denenholz, November 26, 2011 (view all comments by denenholz)
This is a brilliant, subtle novel that culminates Taylor's obsession with the thwarted Romantic loves of the Bronte novels. The prose is luminous, perhaps the best in all of Taylor's work--and that's saying a lot. I tend to love and admire her short stories as much as the novels, but this novel and *In a Summer Season* are sublime. *Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont* is one of my favorites as well. The short stories are to my mind more uniformly well written and gripping than some of the novels. "The Blush" and "The Devastating Boys" are masterful, and there are many other excellent short stories, like "Good-bye, Good-bye," another Bronte-esque narrative.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781590174968
Author:
Taylor, Elizabeth
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Introduction:
Crain, Caleb
Author:
Crain, Caleb
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
328
Dimensions:
7.9 x 5.03 x 0.71 in 0.7188 lb

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A Game of Hide and Seek (New York Review Books Classics) New Trade Paper
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Product details 328 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590174968 Reviews:
"Review" by , “Taylor has the genius of making her characters understood, sometimes with an almost frightening clarity, perhaps because she is compassionate as well as relentless in her delineation of them.”
"Review" by , “Funny, savage and full of loneliness and suppressed emotion.”
"Review" by , "Presently reading Elizabeth Taylor's (no, not that one) A Game of Hide and Seek. She's a magnificent and — for the idiotic reason that she's very middle-class — underrated mid-20th-century writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike."
"Review" by , "Taylor is one of the hidden treasures of the English novel."
"Review" by , "One of my all-time favorite authors."
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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