Hide and Seek with the Angels: A Life of J M Barrie by Lisa Cheney - review by Catherine Peters

Catherine Peters

No Stirrings in the Undergrowth

Hide and Seek with the Angels: A Life of J M Barrie


Hutchinson 402pp £20

A hundred years after its first production, Peter Pan is as popular as ever. The name of the boy who wouldn’t grow up has passed into the language, but that of his creator was largely forgotten until the 2004 centenary brought him to prominence again with the misleading film Finding Neverland. (Barrie’s magic country was called Never Never Land – the difference is subtle but important.) The film told, with many distortions and inaccuracies, the strange story of Barrie’s obsessional relationship with Sylvia Llewellyn Davies and her five sons, and Barrie, once a revered and honoured Grand Old Man of literature, is now remembered mainly for possibly having been a paedophile. 

Barrie’s many other novels and plays are forgotten, though he was once ranked with writers as great, and diverse, as Stevenson, Shaw, and Wells. His writing made him a fortune even before the success of Peter Pan, and long before his death he had become widely respected, immensely wealthy, and

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