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A lonely boy living on his uncle’s farm in the Lincolnshire Fens, Richard Mardick’s solitary existence is interrupted by a chance meeting, and idyllic love affair, with Lucy. A disused brickfield is the scene of their clandestine meetings, and it is there that Richard finds her drowned in a muddy pool.

Forced by circumstances to look back on these days, Richard finds himself recounting this episode to his secretary. Its shattering significance throughout the rest of his life is put into remarkable perspective by the unusual framework with which Hartley has enclosed his story.

Weaving skilfully through past events while staying awake to the present, The Brickfield is a masterly evocation of childhood and its influences on the adult mind.