Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gentlemen and Players

by Joanne Harris (read August 2006)
I read this novel because of a review on JenClair's blog, A Garden Carried in the Pocket. I read Harris' Five Quarters of the Orange and really did not like it. As much as I disliked that book I liked Gentlement and Players. The story takes place in England at St. Oswald, an exclusive school for boys. Five new teachers are hired for fall term, one of them has a vengeance to inflict on the school. Like watching dominoes fall, the descent of St. Oswald's from an orderly academy with a stellar reputation to a house of dark, hidden secrets starts building momemtum according to the offender's carefully devised scheme.

The chapters were narrated alternately by the 2 main characters: Roy Straitley, the eccentric 65-yr-old Classics teacher and the perpetrator, one of the 5 newly hired teachers. Cleverly, Harris identified who was telling the story with the picture of a chess piece at the beginning of each chapter - a white king piece to indicate Straitley and a black pawn to signify the 'bad guy'.

I rate this book 5 out of 5. Really enjoyed this book.


Bellezza said...

Ah, it sounds like a perfect 'back to school' read. I'm picking up a copy. (Does it remind you in any way of Donna Tartt's A Secret History? I LOVED that book, which also was a "game" gone bad in a college setting.) I haven't read anything by this author before, but I'm looking forward to trying her.

Booklogged said...

Bellezza, I haven't read A Secret History. Sounds like I better.

Anonymous said...

I spotted this on Jenclair's blog, too. I have it on my list--it sounds good.

jenclair said...

And, of course, you were right in your guess about the perpetrator!

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

"I read Harris' Five Quarters of the Orange and really did not like it. As much as I disliked that book I liked Gentlement and Players."

You are always such a fair-minded reviewer Booklogged, reading from the heart and speaking with your breath.
All which adds to the complete enjoyment of your posts.

Booklogged said...

Danielle, thanks for stopping by and commenting. You'll enjoy this book, I think.

Jenclair, I never guess the bad guy so I never try. This one just landed in my lap. So suprising!

Susan, always with such nice things to say. Thank-you. Happy you stop in on a regular basis and cheer me up.

Library Mama said...

I'm still amazed at how quickly you read!

Do you read several books at one time, or do you immerse yourself in one novel until it's finished? I tend to do the latter. Otherwise, I tend to get a little muddled.

This particular book sounds fascinating. I'll add it to my list.

Booklogged said...

Library Mama, I usually read 1 or 2 books at a time, a novel and something nonfiction. The nonfiction I usually read in the bathroom and it takes longer.

This summer I've been reading 4 books at a time, 2 are audio books. I find I can pull that off if they are different genres. I have "Suite Farncaise" near the computer. I can only listen when I'm playing games, not reading or writing. In the car I'm listening to "Immortal in Death" while running errands. I just finished a YA fantasy, Enna Burning when I took a break to read in the afternoon and again in the evening.

Something else to keep in mind, I only have 1 child left at home and she's a senior who reads along side of me at times and at other times leaves me alone while I'm reading. My hubby is at work until 6 or 7, so I don't have the same responsibilities as you do. Also, I am enjoying summer break for 1 more week until school starts.

My sister, Framed, works full time and is extremely busy in church work and still reads 3 books a week. I don't know how she does it?

Joy said...

Hi! My name is Joy (thoughtsofjoyblog.blogspot) and I have been browsing and enjoying your blog. I was wondering if I could add you to my list of Favorite Sites? I will not do it until you respond. :)

Happy Reading!

Framed said...

Book, thanks for the plug, but I haven't read three books a week since my new church calling. Also blogging has seriouslsy cut into my reading time. Plus I mainly read mysteries which are usually pretty quick reads. I find it's taking longer to read a book now. "Angle of Repose" took a couple of weeks. Also I don't watch a lot of TV and I don't have any kids at home or a husband. Truthfully, what else is there besides reading? I did add this book to my list.

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Hope you had a good weekend Booklogged and here's looking forward to your next post.

Anonymous said...

I quite enjoy what I've read of Joanne Harris so far (although Five Quarters of the Orange is still sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be read), and sounds like I'd feel the same about G&P - I'm off to add it to my wishlist!

Oh, and I second the recommendation for 'The Secret History' - really great, especially for a first novel.

Booklogged said...

Susan, had a great weekend. How about you?

Lesley, I thought I had added 'The Secret History' after Bellezza's recommend, butI didn't. Thanks for the prompt.

Kirsten said...

Sounds like a good book- thanks for the recommendation :)