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A Game Of Hide And Seek
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A Game Of Hide And Seek

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  587 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
During summer games of hide-and-seek Harriet falls in love with Vesey and his elusive, teasing ways. When he goes to Oxford she cherishes his photograph and waits for the letter that never comes. Then Charles enters her life, and Harriet stifles her imaginings. With a husband and daughter, she excels at respectability: ornaments on the mantlepiece, remembered birthdays and ...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published by Virago Press Ltd (first published 29th 1951)
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Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A teenage near-romance has the chance of being rekindled twenty years later. Twenty years too late? (This review gives away no more 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.
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
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 Brontë 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 more 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 aro
Resh (The Book Satchel)
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 Ha
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Pym, Bowen, Persephone pubs
I happened upon Elizabeth Taylor, as I read that this novel was being republished and released last week. I am glad I did because it was a quiet, lovely read. The relationship is described and perhaps receives its best explanation in the beginning pages of this book. The couple, Harriet and Vesey, are playing actually a real game of hide and seek with Vesey's young cousins, Harriet's surrogate family at their relaxed home on the edge of town. Vesey and Harriet's friendship had grown here as they ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3Ms
Recommended to Laura by: SarahC
Opening lines:
Sometimes in the long summer’s evenings, which are so marked a part of our youth, Harriet and Vesey played hide-and-seek with the younger children, running across the tufted meadows, their shoes yellow with the pollen of buttercups.

This is the love story between Harriet and Vesey, a love they captivated since their youth. However, their lives take a different course and Harriet married another man. But their love nevertheless persists even if this not brings a happy end to the stor
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library_books, ebooks
My big problem here is that I don't think I understood the ending, which would make a difference, but here goes ...

I didn't find this a love story at all, but a tragedy on multiple levels. At the center are Harriet and Vesey, with their "love" thwarted by his summary dismissal from his aunt's house. It was never clear to me that he had any intention of following through with rescuing her from her situation; it later turns out he can barely take care of himself. There's a later implication that h
Mary Ronan Drew
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Taylor is best known for her novel Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, which in 2005 was made into a fine movie starring Joan Plowright. And if you have seen that film or read that book you have experienced the mix of laughter, tears, indignation, and sympathy that Taylor's stories evoke.

In A Game of Hide and Seek we meet Harriet and Vesey when they are 18, he casually cruel to hide his insecurity, she shy and fearful. They are in love but they dare not express their feelings. The closest th
Giulia (juliareadingdiary)
I am a bit puzzled by this book. I loved all the characters; I thought the main focus would be around the two lovers, but there actually is a complete cast of characters and each one of them is deep, recognizable and original. The countryside/domestic setting is depicted very skillfully and everything felt very near and real.
Yet, I can't say that I enjoyed the main theme - Harriet and Vesey's love story. It is beautiful and true, but, personally, I wasn't particularly moved nor I sympathized wit
A Game of Hide and Seek was published in 1951 and was Taylor's fifth novel. The main narrative concerns the relationship between Harriet and Vesey from their friendship when they were young which blossoms into an awkward love. Although in love, it is not strong enough to keep them together when Vesey goes to university. Vesey becomes a second-rate actor and Harriet marries the older, and rather boring, Charles with whom she has a daughter Betsy. Fifteen years later Vesey shows up again and Harri ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Taylor writes so sensitively about inner feelings. She is very clever at recalling adolescent yearnings and their romanticised views. I found it a very moving book. Dealing with life and how our choices affect everything and everyone involved. Harriet's relationship with her mother was very touching to me. The danger of idealizing memories and people. It was beautifully written and I loved it.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: New York Review Books classics series
Shelves: britmania
"Are we perhaps practically strangers? I suppose at some point my idea of you must have diverged from you yourself."
--Elizabeth Taylor, A Game of Hide and Seek

This is one of those stories that sneaks up on you. I didn't feel I was making any progress, then suddenly realized I was finished with Part 1. I can't say that I enjoyed the actual story, but the writing itself grabbed me from the start. The language is engrossing with illuminating observations and some brilliantly subtle phrasing.

You beg
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Looking at the other reviews, I am shocked that this got anything higher than 3 stars. Perhaps it is just me, but it was one of those books that I had to make myself read to the end.
I had a hard time putting my finger on what it was that I didn't enjoy about this book.
I was quite readable at times, but overall I thought it didn't flow very well; it jumps uncomfortably from one time period to the next and for many parts I had trouble knowing what on earth she was on about (and frankly, didn't c
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having loved Elizabeth Taylor’s Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, a book that made my end of year highlights in December, I was keen to try another of her novels. A View of the Harbour was a possibility, but in the end I plumped for A Game of Hide and Seek – both of these books appear on my Classics Club list, so I know I’ve still got Harbour to look forward to. In the meantime, I’m very glad to have picked this one to read – it delivered on every level for me.


First published in 1951, A Game
Huw Rhys
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a painter. After much contemplation, he daubs down one, thick streak of paint. Then over the next few days, he proceeds, very slowly, methodically and with great thought and accuracy to add other layers on top of this one streak. After a substantial period of time, the original streak of paint is almost completely obscured - but you know it's still there. Each subsequent addition has enriched the original streak - but it's still just the one single streak. You are aware that the canvass ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
On the face of it, A Game of Hide and Seek is a love story, but I found that it was far more than that. I absolutely loved the way in which the novel began, with the vivid scene of a hide and seek game. The imagery throughout is lovely, as is the way Taylor builds her scenes. The social context was marvellous, particularly with regard to the Suffrage Movement, which I am endlessly fascinated by.

This is the first novel of Taylor’s which I’ve read, and I found that she presented the human psyche a
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: persephone
I don't need to like the characters in a novel to like a book. But when it's a book about marital infidelity, it really helps to like (or at least empathize with) someone - either the cheater or the cheatee...or the child or the friend or anyone. But these characters were not worth any emotions that I tried to muster up. I just kept thinking, "that's who you're in love with? really?"

That said, I can't argue that Taylor lacked talent. She deftly drew each character and setting, so that I was enti
Anastasia Hobbet
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
I can now see why the 'other' Elizabeth Taylor is sometimes compared to Barbara Pym, though she's more cynical, more akin to another contemporary, Graham Green, and this book is much darker than the Taylor book recently made into a sappy movie, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. It's the tale, set in drab postwar England, of a dull, stifled suburban housewife and her childhood love, who meet again in adulthood and find themselves drawn inexorably together. There are no admirable characters in this b ...more
Susan Kavanagh
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: virago
I am always amazed at how well Elizabeth Taylor depicts the details of domestic life. With a few deft strokes she conjures up characters and place. Incredibly overlooked in her time, she has been recognized by many younger writers and Virago Modern Classics continues to reprint her books. In addition to this story of the repercussions of a second chance at love, I highly recommend Palladian, In a Summer Season, At Mrs. Lippincote's and A View from the Harbor. And these are just the novels I've r ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
odd, disturbing very abrupt ending. excellently written with compelling characters though who will stay with you, which is my measure of good/great writing.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
exquisite writing about Harriet and Vesey. Perfectly captures the mood and setting. Brilliant representation of the dilemma of Harriet's situation and one of the best endings of a novel -ever...
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot recommend Elizabeth Taylor highly enough. She is flat-out great. This is one of her best, moving, surprising, elegantly paced and beautifully written right up to the last page.
Óscar Brox
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La clase media/alta ha protagonizado no pocas de las grandes obras de las letras británicas, desde el teatro de Terence Rattigan hasta la novela según Elizabeth Taylor. No en vano, hay una poderosa reflexión moral sobre ese estrato social construido desde férreas rutinas, sólidos valores y fuertes amonestaciones. Un ambiente estancado, aburrido por naturaleza, que respira a través de esas tentaciones que nunca sabe hasta qué punto debe poner en práctica; decisiones que implican un vuelco sobre l ...more
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vmc, 2017
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christy by: Buried in Print
In a nutshell:

When Harriet was a teenager, she fell in love with Vesey, the nephew of her mother’s best friend. They fumble toward romance, but Vesey is a little too cruel and diffident and Harriet too passive to make much of a relationship out of their mutual attraction. Years later, Harriet is married with a teenage daughter of her own and crosses paths with Vesey, who is an actor, but not a terribly successful one. There is then, the classic set-up: do they rekindle a romance or do they stay
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hide and Seek is a novel of passion and star-crossed love. It begins with two teenagers, Harriet and Vesey. Harriet is a timid girl and Vesey, while also shy, is prone to outbursts of malice that may be found in episodes like his excessive teasing of the housekeeper. Vesey dreams of writing great literature and has the mind to make that possible while Harriet's dreams are somewhat less. She is unambitious and both her desire and her mind fail her when necessary to pass the exams for entrance to ...more
Nicholas During
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a cross-generational love story that delves not only into the idea of a relationship between two people, and how love can come about and lasts because of seemingly conflicting actions, but also how the bonds of a family in all the generations works to help and also hurt people. As the previous line shows this is not your average love story. Yes it ends badly. Yes the reader finds it difficult to understand how people behave that way (or love that person), but I think that is probably the ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atico
«Elizabeth Taylor es genial: logra que el lector entienda a los personajes, a veces viéndoles con estremecedora claridad, pero siempre empatizando con ellos. Quizá porque los dibuja con compasión, pero también con precisión quirúrgica.»


«Un gran placer literario (…) El juego del amor es una de las mejores novelas de Elizabeth Taylor.»


«Es hora de redescubrir a Elizabeth Taylor, esa brillante novelista.»


«Divertida, salvaje, llena de soledad y emociones
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, though unremarkable, story of Harriet and Vessey who reignite their childhood dreams of one another when they are adults, years after Harriet has married Charles and gave birth to Betsy. The major characters. save Betsy, are simply not interesting, with Harriet's husband given unbelievable human characteristics, which I guess is to make Harriet's life seem empty enough for her to stray, though Vesey isn't terribly interesting to read about himself. There are some nice moments throu ...more
Babe Rainbow
I say read, but didn't finish it, and remembered after a bit that I had already started and dropped it ages ago. The reason being that the main male character annoyed me like nothing else.

I read on for a bit to see whether I was meant to sympathise with him or not but when it turned out I WAS I couldn't go on. He's horrid. He undermines the main female character all the time, and is the kind of person who thinks it's somehow interesting to "shock" people with liberal opinions with conservative o
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NYRB Classics: A Game of Hide and Seek, by Elizabeth Taylor 1 31 Oct 23, 2013 10:35AM  
  • Invitation to the Waltz
  • Sisters By a River
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The World My Wilderness
  • One Fine Day
  • The Sugar House
  • Mary Olivier, a Life
  • Mr. Fortune's Maggot; and, The Salutation
  • The Fountain Overflows
  • The Rising Tide
  • Phoebe Junior (Chronicles of Carlingford, #6)
  • Corrigan
  • The Pumpkin Eater
  • Wish Her Safe at Home
  • Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary
  • All Passion Spent
Elizabeth Taylor (née 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 Mr
More about Elizabeth Taylor...
“a bronze lustre; pearls were twisted round her wrists” 0 likes
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