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Five Quarters Of The Orange [Kindle Edition]

Joanne Harris
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake - but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface. This is where Framboise, a secretive widow, plies her culinary trade at the crêperie - and lets her memory play strange games.

As her nephew attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes Framboise has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers, memories of a disturbed childhood during the German Occupation flood back, and expose a past full of betrayal, blackmail and lies.

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Product Description

Amazon 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


Mouthwatering...a celebration of pleasure, of love, of tolerance. Read it. (Observer on CHOCOLAT)

Sensuous and thought provoking...subtle and brilliant. (Daily Telegraph on CHOCOLAT)

If Joanne Harris didn't exist, someone would have to invent her. (Sunday Express on BLACKBERRY WINE)

Enchanting (Woman's Journal on BLACKBERRY WINE)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 750 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; New Ed edition (2 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F2QO9G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,882 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.
In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Her hobbies are listed in Who's Who as 'mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion'. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.

Photo © Kyte photography

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly moving – occasionally tragic 7 Jan. 2003
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
'Five quarters of the orange' is a story of a childhood tragedy in wartime France, and the shadows it casts across the later life of the heroine Framboise Dartigen. Written so blandly the book appears dark and gloomy, but this is far from the case.
Wartime France is portrayed through the eyes of the nine year old Framboise who's unworldly insight into the German occupation is in sharp contrast to the more familiar resistance-focused found in history books. She lives a life of fishing and adventure against the backdrop of her mother's kitchen – a place of wonderful cuisine brought to life with great skill. What tragedy turns her into the lonely old women that she becomes is kept well concealed until late in the story, providing a suspense that forced me to keep turning pages to find the answer.
The nuance of the recipes that form a large feature of the book were lost on me, but I'm sure will appeal to those who know their kitchen better. For those, like me, who prefer a compelling and human story this novel is sure to deliver. A book to be savoured!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ever Joanne Harris 2 Mar. 2007
I won't write about the storyline as there are enough reviews on here to satisfy anyone.

In my opinion this is simply the best book JH has ever written and I have read them all. It is thoroughly brilliant from beginning to end and it sits handsomely in my top 3 all time favourite books.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless 22 Mar. 2007
Having read this book twice I love it with a passion, and think it the best of the 3 foody books (see also...Chocolat, Blackberry Wine). I envy the way Joanne Harris seems to write so flawlessly and can bring the sights and smells to life as if they were a separate character within her story. She has the happy knack of flitting backwards and forwards in time to bring us this tale of guilt and regret. No doubt I shall read it again at some point and for me this is the type of book that you can't bear to pass onto friends for fear of losing your copy.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly good 6 April 2001
By A Customer
This book is a must for all Joanne Harris fans. It is better than 'Blackberry Wine', better even than 'Chocolat'.
It will also come as a surprise to 'Chocolat' fans, who, like me, might open it up expecting another sugary-sweet charming village comedy. The novel begins in a similar manner, with Framboise, now an elderly woman, settling into a French village, her old hometown. But throughout the text are scattered seeds of unease and doubt, and as the narrative slowly unravels, the reader becomes aware that she is hiding her identity and an ugly past.
The story very cleverly intercuts between Framboise as an elderly lady, around 60, and as a child of 9 in wartime France. It is the childhood memories which become the most intriguing - Harris brilliantly captures the difficulties of childhood - 'the cruelty of childhood' - and the poignant way her relationship with her mother disintegrates into hate and destruction. As a contrast to this is a love-crush she develops on a German soldier, which becomes incredibly touching. It was a stroke of genius that Harris explores this with a heroine who is only 9 - caught awkwardly between childhood and adolsecense, uncertain of what her emotions are, unable to label her feelings as love, or to know whether she loves him as a man, a father-figure, a friend, an idol, or a mixture of them all.
I won't say anymore or it will spoil the book and the surprises it throws at you, but the narrative slowly sucks you (rather like the victims claimed by old Mother in the river) into deeper, darker and muddier waters, resulting in violence, death and tragedy. Even the redemptive ending cannot really take away the bitter taste in your mouth at the end...but nevertheless, a brilliant book.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but ghastly 4 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Joanne Harris through Blackberry Wine which I thought was a wonderful novel, the sort that didn't leave my hand until I'd finished it. Five Quarters is a different kind of book entirely. The writing is still wonderful (even if you can have too much of a good thing with all that syrupy, sticky, sensual food imagery. I hope that Harris and Nigella Lawson never collaborate on a book!) but the character are a truly awful bunch and while I could raise sympathy for some of them, I couldn't like any of them and was very glad to say goodbye at the end of the book. The story itself moves through its stages like the slow, lazy, ominous stirrings of 'Old Mother' in the depths of the Loire. Boise is certainly not like any nine year old I have ever encountered. The way she behaves seems much older. Many authors stumble over portraying children with the correct nuances and psychology for their ages and Harris in my opinion definitely comes a cropper here. All that plotting and slyness with the orange peel smacks of adult subterfuge beyond the capability of a nine year old girl, even one mature enough to menstruate (very precocious indeed, especially 60 years ago and one of the elements that had me trying too hard to suspend my reader disbelief)
This is a disquieting, claustrophobic novel and although the ending is redemptive, the whole definitely left a nasty taste in the mouth of this reader!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!! 30 April 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was the 1st Joanne Harris book, and I have to say I was absolutely addicted to her books. Have read all her books, and this one is even better than Blackberry Wine or Chcocolate. The word that comes to my mind to describe this book is "magical". Joanne Harris is a wonderful writer, at a point I could swear I almost felt the scent of that orange...

I can't wait for her next two books, due to next month and August!
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