Five Quarters of the Orange
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Five Quarters of the Orange

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  17,846 ratings  ·  1,584 reviews

The novels of Joanne Harris are a literary feast for the senses. Five Quarters of the Orange represents Harris's most complex and sophisticated work yet - a novel in which darkness and fierce joy come together to create an unforgettable story.

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 in

Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Help by Kathryn StockettWater for Elephants by Sara GruenThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Best for Book Clubs
175th out of 3,126 books — 8,398 voters
Chocolat by Joanne HarrisLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Food-Related Fiction
9th out of 278 books — 348 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I first read this book some time ago. When I read it, I throughly enjoyed it. This year, I found my mind going back to the book several times and decided I needed to read it again.

There are only two books (other than the Harry Potter Series) that I have read more than once - Cold Mountain, and now this book. While reading this book for the second time, I wondered at length, what is drawing me back to this book.

The story is a dark story of a child growing up with a very difficult, unpredictable m...more
Jan 27, 2014 Dem rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dem by: Janice
Five quarters of the Orange by Janne Harris is one of those novels that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.

4.5 Star Rating

Set in a small town in rural France during the the Second World War, this novel tells the story of a young girl by the name Framboise Dartigen and how during the occupation of the town this young girl befriends a German Soldier and what appears to be a harmless friendship turns into something which both her family and the town will never forget for y...more
I am head over heels in love with this book. Only a terrific author can write about something as appalling as war and occupation and uneccesary death but yet make you feel so alive and carefree whilste reading it. The prose was as mouthwatering, succulent and juicy as the food in the book and I wanted to be there! Yes, I wanted to run down to the Loire and swim and splash and yell and hang upsidedown from trees overhanging the river and race through sun-soaked fields and pick fruit in the orchar...more
Jul 22, 2008 Samantha rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Samantha by: Kasey Dorris
I ended up liking this book in the end, and would maybe have given it 4 stars, if large parts of it didn't drive me so nuts. I just had a few problems with it. I had a really hard time getting into it; the real story didn't really start until 100 pages into it. And I had a really hard time connecting to the characters in any sort of way. The mom acts like she hates her children the whole book, and the children hate their mom. And when people waste that much energy being mean and cruel to each ot...more
Do you know, I have a much harder time writing a review for a book that I didn't particularly like than for one I really enjoyed?

I didn't particularly like Five Quarters of the Orange, by Joanne Harris, but I am at a loss to explain why. I can't point to egregiously bad writing, and while I didn't like any of the characters, that itself does not a bad book make. See, e.g., my review of The Good Terrorist. Puzzled by my reaction, I asked my mother what she thought a book needed in order to be a g...more
Under the shroud of a new identity an aging woman returns to her childhood town. She opens a café and reopens the wounds of her past.

In German-occupied France, 9 year old, Framboise, and her brother and sister secretly befriend a German soldier and trade secrets for black market goods. Using the black market oranges to provoke her mother’s migraine headaches, Framboise torments the woman and ensures herself unsupervised time with the soldier. The friendship spurs a series of events which affect...more
I don't really know what to say about this book. I don't know if I just wasn't really into it when I started it, or if I really didn't like it as much as I thought. It took me over 100 pages to really get into the story, and I had sort of written it off by then. But then things picked up, and the last, maybe, quarter of the book finally got good. While you are reading, you know that "something happened" and that you will eventually find out. It was frustrating to me that she gave so little infor...more
Mar 31, 2008 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Francophiles, WWII, psychological drama
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2008 Amanda rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I started off enjoying this book. And then my enjoyment faded. The two things that stood out in my mind that I did not care for were this:
1) The story is narrated by a woman, 1/2 of the time when she was 9 and the other half when she was an adult. Her narattion as a child was annoying - she was manipultive towards her mom to the point of cruelty, and she had a negative "know-it-all" attitude towards her older siblings. Newscast kid, you're only 9, stop talking and acting like you're an independe...more
Aug 08, 2007 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone interested in culinary appearances in literature or looking for a slow, downer summer read
Shelves: great-story
This book seriously dragged me right along to an inevitable (and dark) conclusion. I kept toggling between enjoying her writing style, loads of unique description and a nice layer of old memories and new experiences for the main character, and being sort of shocked and horrified by the absolute coldness of most of the characters in the story. It was an interesting book, but I had a hard time absorbing myself in it(which is what I've been looking for lately).

Perhaps the other drawback (and major...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I found this at my grandparents house on a trip when I hadn't brought anything to read. I finished it all too quickly, scarfing it down like an orange at Christmas time.

"Five Quarters of the Orange" is told from the perspective of Framboise both looking back at the past and recounting current events as an older woman, and telling "present" events as a child. Framboise and her family live in a small French village during the German occupation. The father was killed early in the war by a German, b...more
Jenny Sparrow
Я, наверное, не смогу многого сказать о романе Дж.Харрис "Пять четвертинок апельсина". Если чуть перефразировать цитату с обложки, получится точно мое восприятие её: "Эта книга Харрис - острая, с горчинкой". И те апельсины, с которыми она связана лично для меня - это сорт кюрасао - горькие, пряные, дикие.

Именно такой предстает перед нами Фрамбуаз, главная героиня, от лица которой ведется повествование. На сей раз форма романа немного изменилась - всю историю нам рассказывает один человек, но соб...more
What I liked about this book: the main character is richly drawn, and I especially enjoyed seeing her at different stages of life. There's also a momentum to the story that keeps you reading, wanting to know just what will happen next (and what really did happen way back in the past). The setting is fabulous -- especially for anyone who studied French in high school and dreams of extended travels in the Loire Valley. And of course the food talk. Yummmmm....

What I didn't like about this book: I t...more
There is something a little unbalanced about this book -- and one gets that feeling from the first words in the first chapter. In fact, the title itself suggests a certain asymmetrical allure which is disconcerting: the five quarters of the orange, suggesting a lopsided business, perhaps; but nonetheless a surfeit of something. The "too many" quarters-of-the-orange makes me uneasy and leaves me wondering how it will all fit back together again, once sliced. In the end, the title presages its own...more
When Harris includes a food or drink in her title, you know that the epicurean side of her story will be as important as any character or event. In this book, a story of a woman coming back to the abandoned family homestead, hoping to make a place for herself as someone different than the girl who left the place, her mother's recipe book actually is the plot. Secrets are uncovered not only between the recipes, but inside the body of the recipes. But it's not until she begins to reconnect with he...more
From the author of "Chocolat" comes this novel set in a village on the banks of the Loire. The main character again has a shop - in this case a creperie. Again, food plays a central part in the story. But this is a much darker story altogether, and a much more satisfying read.

Framboise is the daughter of Mirabelle Dartigen - a woman held responsible by the villagers for a terrible tragedy which took place during the German occupation many years previously. Framboise returns to the village anonym...more

Another engrossing read from Joanne Harris which although similar to ‘Chocolat ‘and ‘Blackberry Wine’ it is a much darker story. Once again set in France this time a small village ‘Les Laveuses’ near Angers on the banks of the Loire, during WWII and the present day.
The protagonist is Framboise Dartigen who has returned to the village after a long absence to live in the farmhouse of her childhood. Her mother Mirabelle Dartigen has since died and part of Fra...more
If you like to read about food, then you will like this book. It's about an older French woman named Framboise who after inheriting her misunderstood mother's journal/recipe book, returns to her childhood farm and in the course of restoring the farm and cooking her mother's recipes, recalls the summer when she was nine and German soldiers were occupying her rural village during WWII. It's an intriguing story about Framboise's complicated relationship with her mother and the devastating result of...more
I really liked the story as it unfolded through a series of back flashes to the past and through the notations in the scrapbook/cookbook/diary entries that the mother wrote.

It was a painful story of growing up in a small village in France during WWII and how the daughter came back to her child hood home and tried to start over with a small eaterie as an older, single adult woman. It was about her struggle trying to resolve the conflicts and lies that had driven the family away and her trying to...more
This was just such a wonderful book to read. Harris’ writing is so wonderfully descriptive. In just a few sentences she takes me directly to the village of Les Laveuses on the Loire. She’s able to cast a mood so precisely, that reading this book is much more like living it. The tastes and smells of a big part of this novel. It makes me want to go and cook, to bake, to fill my own kitchen with culinary delights.

The story itself is complex. Framboise Dartigen has a secret from...more
What a terrific novel. It starts off like a liqueur chocolate: when you first pop it in your mouth, you are not quite sure what it will taste like. Then the further you go, the secret of the interior starts to reveal itself slowly until you are totally absorbed in its content. Couldn't put it down - a simple interwoven story, told beautifully. A must-read.
Wonderful read. It's a bit slow at first but picks up quickly. It's a story of family, love, hatred, war, and desire. The writing about food is made me hungry! The writing is so vivid...this is a rare, beautiful novel.
The best way to explain my less-than-enthusiastic reaction to this book is to let you know that I am a wimp. I much prefer books with flowers and laughter and genteel muddles.
Kate Z
I read this book as part of the "Food Glorious Food" January challenge. It also fulfilled one of my personal goals for 2012 to read books that have been sitting on my shelf.

Normally I don't love books that have strained/negative relationships between mothers and daughters but even though that tension provides the framework for this story, the real story is that of a French farm family during WW2 at the time of the German occupation.

A while back I read and really enjoyed Winter Garden - another...more
This story is artfully told through the eyes of Framboise, as nine year old girl and as an adult woman, who lived with her widowed mother and siblings in a small French village during WWII. The concept of the book is unique, from its origin in a recipe style scrapbook to the title, which refers to a momentous choice in the book that proves a turning point towards its outcome. Harris has crafted a story filled with characters who are deeply written, who you like, dislike, and pity, sometimes simu...more
My initial reactions to this being our book club pick were a.)Not another book about kids and Nazis and b.)Well, I did like the movie Chocolat. Now that I've finished the book, I'm glad to find that it's much more than a (sigh, buzzword alert) "coming-of-age" story with Nazis, and that I should really read the actual Chocolat book.

Harris write beautifully and handles the food motif well. It's much more woven in and goes beyond the typical recipes-as-metaphors theme. This is one of the few books...more
Karen Brooks
This book was recommended to me as a great holiday read by a very dear friend. Having read and loved Chocolat, I eagerly began this novel, which is set in a small village in France in contemporary times, segueing back to the German occupation during World War II as well.
The heroine is the feisty, secretive and hard Framboise Simon, a widow in her sixties and brilliant cook whose gifts in the kitchen become renown not only in her little village but also, much to her chagrin, beyond. A loner (her...more
There are many things I liked about this book: The complex relationships, the strong personalities, the harsh forms of love that result from these relationships and personalities. But they were overshadowed by what I didn't: The longest, most run-on and drawn-out, least surprising, most anti-climatic revealing of a secret.

Harris spends the majority of her book (seriously, the majority: 300 out of 320 pages) teasing you with this great and shameful family secret the narrator is carrying around....more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
You'll love this ...: May 2013 - Five Quarters of the Orange 66 60 Jun 05, 2013 01:32AM  
  • La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture
  • Pomegranate Soup
  • The Various Flavours Of Coffee
  • To My Daughter in France
  • The Villa in Italy
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers
  • A Filha do Capitão
  • The Dead School
  • Swift as Desire
  • A Thread of Grace
  • Baunilha e Chocolate
  • The Gypsy Madonna
  • Pied Piper
  • Rector's Wife
  • The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (The Sephardic Cycle, #1)
  • Foreign Tongue: A Novel of Life and Love in Paris
  • A Very Long Engagement
  • Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Joanne Harris was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels; The Evil Seed (1989), Sle...more
More about Joanne Harris...
Chocolat (Chocolat, #1) Blackberry Wine The Girl with No Shadow (Chocolat, #2) Gentlemen and Players Holy Fools

Share This Book

“I let it go. It's like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.” 295 likes
“It's a feeling which tells me that any woman can be beautiful in the eyes of a man who loves her.” 48 likes
More quotes…