"Woman and Boy looking at a Book" by foremost American photographer Gertrude Kasebier
Malinka now and then confesses herself lacking in stamina to find the ideal next book to read and asks for my help. Her usual technique is to shout from the library-corridor the name of an interesting looking book. I answer back with carefully chosen two-syllables expressions like "Hmm-Noops!", "Hmmm..Good", "Forgerit", "Tooboring" and "Didnlykit". A couple of weeks ago she shouts "What about The Go Between"?. "Nothing is ever a lady's fault " - I reply. "What?" "Past is a foreign country, they do things differently there" - I insist. She emerges in my room with the paperback in her hands. "I guess it's worth reading, then..". I tell her that the book, by L.P. (Leslie Poles!) Hartley was turned into one of my all-time favourite films.. The colours of long English Summer afternoons.. A simple but unforgettable theme music one tried to play on the out-of-tune piano.. And there were big names involved too.. Joseph Losey,the Cannes-laureate Director... Harold Pinter the Nobel-laureate author of the screen-adaptation... And Julie Christie of course. Julie Christie, to die for, in the main role. "Who is Julie Christie?" - asks Malinka. Who is Julie Christie??? Who was the main votive figure of all my generation's adolescent wet-dreams?.. I try to explain that she was even better that Virginia McKenna or Michelle Pfeiffer or Jacqueline Bisset or Charlotte Rampling, although part of that category of out-of-this-world passion-inspiring beauties when in full cinematic lighting and make-up. She had never heard about her . I tell then to my too young "The Go-Between" prospective reader that I will order the film first thing in the morning, so that she can understand what my awe is all about.
Surprise! There is no DVD edition of the film! Fortunately, when I'm about to resign myself to ressuscitate my VHS video player I spot, among the amazon.co.uk order list, a reference to a second-hand DVD in a cardboard pocket. A vivid e-mail correspondence then follows with a pleasant auctioneer which has for sale a free bonus to a Daily Telegraph week-end edition many years ago . Gerald wants to make sure I understand that it's a freebie and that it's not a video, which is the only format released so far by the producers of the film. I thank him for his gallant concern but I was indeed eager to get a DVD, either bootlegged, downloaded or newspaper bonus, I didn't care.
So I waited for Malinka to finish the book and then.. zzzzwaap! Like a white columbine or a a flower bouquet in the palm of a magician, my DVD cardboard envelope appears in my hand out of nowhere. We proceed to spend a nice couple of hours around the film and our own experiences of Summer manors with posh English accented-aborigines .
Now it's maybe the right time to humbly confess that although I had acquired the book with the firm intention to read it - having loved the glorious film - I had not in fact did it so far. I am now engaged in countering that shameful hole in my reading armour. Having already almost finished that task, I'm most pleased to announce to the Right Honourable Reader that, as it happens time and time again, the novel is immensely more rich than an already enormously satisfactory screen-adaptation.
So, let me act as a Go-Between myself, carrying this time a message from the author to the Right Honourable Reader: please be curious about the most "different" and exotic of all places, the most foreign country of them all - your own Past.