Hannah's Reviews > Five Quarters of the Orange

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
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's review
Dec 24, 2010

it was amazing
Read in December, 2010

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, but this doesn't stop the entire family - Framboise's cold mother, her beautiful sister and her sly-but-cowardly brother - from becoming involved with the Germans... one German in particular. Things end badly, with Framboise and her family leaving the village after somehow causing the deaths of 10 people. It's not until the end, after untangling her mentally unstable mother's journal that Framboise (and the reader) figures the entire story out.

This book captured me and wouldn't let go. The words are simultaneously poetic and blunt: a naive but not innocent account from a child, and a regretful, ponderous account from the grown woman. Harris weaves a wonderful narrative.
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