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Five Quarters of the Orange: A Novel (P.S.)

Joanne Harris

28,058 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0061214604 / ISBN 13: 9780061214608
Published by Harper Perennial, 2007
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Five Quarters of the Orange: A Novel (P.S.)

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous woman they hold responsible for a tragedy during the German occupation years ago. But the past and present are inextricably entwined, particularly in a scrapbook of recipes and memories that Framboise has inherited from her mother. And soon Framboise will realize that the journal also contains the key to the tragedy that indelibly marked that summer of her ninth year. . . .

Review:

Joanne Harris' sensational novel Five Quarters of the Orange revolves around a recipe book, continuing the theme of culinary intrigue begun in Chocolat and Blackberry Wine. Framboise, the middle-aged narrator, begins her story in Les Laveuses, on the banks of the Loire:

When my mother died she left the farm to my brother, Cassis, the fortune in the wine cellar to my sister, Reine-Claude, and to me, the youngest, her album and a two-litre jar containing a single black Perigord truffle.
Framboise returns to the village where she grew up during wartime, and with the help of the recipes scribbled in her mother's album, opens up a small restaurant. However, she is desperate to keep her identity a secret even amongst the aged villagers with whom she played on the banks of the Loire in the years of German occupation during the Second World War. Framboise immerses herself once again in the peaceful rhythms of village life, pungently evoked by Harris's evocative prose. But slowly, reluctantly, Framboise begins to unravel the terrible wartime secret that drove her family away from the village. As she cuts between idyllic descriptions of the village and the increasingly dark memories of the war, Framboise admits:
I know, I know. You want me to get to the point. But this is at least as important as the rest, the method of telling, and the time taken to tell. It has taken me fifty-five to begin, at least let me do it in my own way.
This could be a description of Harris's prose itself, as it slowly and deliberately cuts between Framboise's fragile present and her happy childhood, destroyed by the tragic innocence of youth. Although Five Quarters of the Orange finds Harris on familiar ground to Chocolat, this is a much darker and compelling novel of childhood nostalgia and betrayal, and the need to confront the tragedies of the past before they destroy the possibilities of a happier future. --Jerry Brotton

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