A Game of Hide and Seek
First US edition
|Publisher||Peter Davies (UK)|
Alfred A. Knopf (US)
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
The novel is set in England between WWI and WWII and focused on the characters of Harriet Claridge and Vesey Macmillan. The novel explores their relationship, its effect on those around them, as they seek each other's love for more than 25 years.
The story starts in their childhood. Harriet is painfully inarticulate, while Vesey is defensive and irritating; yet they are drawn to one another. When Vesey attends Oxford, they are separated, but she cherishes his photograph and waits for him to write. But he doesn't, so Harriet marries Charles, a rather dull country solicitor, and have a daughter, while Vesey becomes an actor.
Skipping ahead 15 years, nothing has changed greatly. The latter portion of the novel is concerned with the rather pitiful, often lovely, and completely ineffectual affair they embark on. Their intrigue could not possibly be less of a 'grand passion.' When it ends as the reader knows it must, the affair is not completed; it is just forced to stop.
In a 1951 book review in Kirkus Reviews the review summarized; "A shaded, subtle recording of lonely lives which find no real contact—or comfort—with each other... the insights here are finedrawn, the conclusions inescapable. For her audience—which is established if selective." In reviewing the 2009 reissue, Elizabeth Day of the Guardian wrote "Taylor's forte as an author is acute observation and the devastating precision of her understated prose. Her brilliance is particularly evident in this, her fifth novel, set in her familiar milieu of middle-class married couples whose unfulfilled lives are crisscrossed with unspoken tension and stifled ardour." and it "showcases much of what makes Taylor a great novelist: piercing insight, a keen wit and a genuine sense of feeling for her characters." Writing for The New Republic, Elizabeth Day of the Guardian wrote "The ambiguous ending, Taylor’s best, like a perfect bubble that never bursts, is a moving refusal to render final judgment on any of the imperfect, well-meaning bumblers who make up the story."