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Five Quarters Of The Orange
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From the bestselling author of Chocolat, a powerful drama about the dark repercussions of Nazi occupation in a rural French village.

About the Author

Joanne Harris's Whitbread-shortlisted Chocolat was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is the author of many other bestselling novels, including Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, both also featuring Vianne Rocher, as is her new novel The Strawberry Thief. She has also written acclaimed novels in such diverse genres as fantasy based on Norse myth (Runemarks, Runelight, The Gospel of Loki), and the Malbry cycle of dark psychological thrillers (Gentlemen & Players, Blueeyedboy, and Different Class).

Born in Barnsley, of an English father and a French mother, she spent fifteen years as a teacher before (somewhat reluctantly) becoming a full-time writer. In 2013, she was awarded an MBE. She lives in Yorkshire, plays bass and flute in a band first formed when she was sixteen, and works in a shed in her garden.

Reviews

Tragedy, revenge, suspicion, and love are the ingredients for the latest offering from the author of the acclaimed Chocolat. Framboise Dartigen recounts what happened in her tiny village of Les Laveuses during the German occupation and why after carrying the secret for more than 55 years she hid her identity upon returning. Beset by wartime privations, the people of Les Laveuses were a mixture of resistance fighters, collaborators, and financial opportunists. When a German soldier died mysteriously, townspeople were executed, and Framboise's mother was tortured and driven out by her neighbors, who believed that she had collaborated. Only her children knew the truth, and now Framboise, the sole survivor, has come back to claim the family farm and run a little crperie featuring her mother's recipes. In the album she inherited from her mother are not only her recipes and mementos but also clues to what really happened so long ago. Like the oranges whose fragrance so tortured Framboise's mother, the ending is bittersweet, and readers will love it. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

If Harris's previous novel, Chocolat, was an adorably sweet morsel of French village lore, then this, her third, is a richer, more complex dessert wine. Still using her arsenal of culinary metaphors, quirky characters and slightly surreal incidents, Harris presents a complicated but beautiful tale involving misfortune, mystery and intense family relations. Framboise Dartigen, a feisty yet sensitive girl, grew up in a gossip-ridden hamlet on the banks of the Loire called Les Laveuses. Striving for attention and power, nine-year-old Framboise (or Boise, to her family) took to playing nasty tricks on her headstrong, mentally vulnerable mother, Mirabelle, who had a weakness for oranges. And it was not the usual affliction Mirabelle actually experienced "spells" (akin to epileptic fits) if she even smelled the fruit. But despite Framboise's girlish pranks, Mirabelle's maternal instinct was strong. When her children befriended German soldiers who were in the village during the World War II occupation, things went awry, and mother and children were forced to flee. As Framboise tells the tale, she's in her 60s and has returned to Les Laveuses, posing as a widow named Fran‡oise Simon. When the caf‚ she owns is reviewed in a national food magazine, her cover is blown and the past resurfaces. Harris has constructed a multilayered plot, punctuated with scrumptious descriptions of French delicacies and telling depictions of the war's jolting effects on one fragile family. This intense work brims with sensuality and sensitivity. (May) Forecast: Given Chocolat's brilliant success in print and on screen, this book will have no trouble attracting attention. Whether the previous book's readers are ready for this more serious novel is questionable, however. Harris, who lives in England, will make appearances in six U.S. cities in early June. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Adult/High School-Framboise Dartigen relates this story from her point of view as a nine-year-old and as a woman in her 60s. She spent her childhood in a Nazi-occupied French village with her widowed mother and siblings. Knowing that the scent of oranges brought on her mother's severe migraines, Framboise was clever enough or devious enough to hoard orange peel for her own advantage. During their unsupervised play, the children met a young Nazi soldier and were captivated by his charm and the black-market gifts that he gave them. Years later, Framboise, now a widow herself, returns to the village on a quest for the truth about her family's role in a tragic event for which her mother bore the blame and was forced by the townspeople to flee. Framboise inherited her mother's journal, and soon learns that the past and the present are intertwined. Harris has woven a dark, complex story of a dysfunctional family in stressful times. As in the author's Chocolat (Viking, 2000), mother and, later, daughter are gifted cooks whose love of food and cooking shows in the wonderful descriptions of bread, cake, fruit, wine, olives, etc. A picture of life in an occupied territory emerges in which collaborators, resisters, enemies, friends, and family members live in the same area, going about their daily routines. Harris's fans will not be disappointed; her attention to detail, vivid description, and strong characterization are all in this book, too.-Carol Clark, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"Her strongest writing yet: as tangy and sometimes bitter as Chocolat was smooth" * Independent *
"Outstanding ... beautifully written" * Daily Mail *
"Joanne Harris a naturally sensuous writer, but her latest book has a dark core...Her descriptive and narrative talents are put to a profounder use...This gripping tale is bound to be made into a film. It's as vivid a journey through human cruelty and kindness as I've read this year" * Daily Telegraph *
"Harris indulges her love of rich and mouthwatering descriptive passages, appealing to the senses ... Thoroughly enjoyable" * Observer *
"Just as she did in Chocolat, Harris indulges her love of rich and mouth-watering descriptive passages, appealing to the senses with seductively foreign names, and evoking the textures and smells of food. These descriptions are suffused with a child's wide-eyed wonder that lends the story a magical quality, almost like a folk tale or a children's story. Even having the Occupation as a backdrop, Harris sets out to tell a story that proves, like her previous books, to be thoroughly enjoyable..." * Guardian *

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