Friday, April 29, 2011

Five Quarters of the Orange

by Joanne Harris

I fell into a book-funk and got wrapped up in other things, but I've managed to pull myself out.

I really enjoy reading Joanne Harris's books. She isn't one of my favorite writers, her writing lacks a certain poetic polish and those great moments when you as a reader realize that someone has seen the world the way you see it or has felt the exact same way you have felt, but she creates some truly great stories. Though there are a few similarities between "Five Quarters of the Orange," "Chocolat," and "The Girl With No Shadow," "Five Quarters of the Orange" is a very different book. There isn't much that's magical, and it has a much more somber quality.

This book combines two of my favorite subjects to read about: food and WWII. And in "Five Quarters of the Orange" she also throws in a sense of unfolding mystery. There is an interesting commentary on the innocence and naivety of children, and how games can turn so horribly wrong before the child's mind can fully catch on. It's sad, really. There is a lot of guilt in this book. It can be difficult to read. Mirabelle Dartigen probably never should have had children in the first place, and her bad spells certainly didn't help matters. And really, you can't fault Cassis or Riene-Claude or Framboise for their foolishness; they were growing up in the middle of occupied France with no father and a disturbed mother.

Harris creates a curious story which unfolds nicely, reaching far into the suppressed past. I like it. Though all the guilt weighs heavy on you when you read it; it can be hard to shake off. But a really good story to read nonetheless.

1 comment:

Sam Li said...

I've read Joanne Harris' food trilogy, and Five Quarters of the Orange is the best~