Jeff's Reviews > The Charioteer

The Charioteer by Mary Renault
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M 50x66
's review
Jun 14, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: gay-interest, fiction, wwii, anglophilia, military

Ahh, so good! I think what I love most about this novel is the complexity (or is detail the right word I'm looking for...or maybe both?) - there's so much going on! Facing (or not) one's own sexuality, the politics of sexuality in the mostly-male environment of the military, the pros and cons of a gay community (one of the more fascinating themes, I thought), to name a few, are just some of the major topics we get to explore in the novel. And of course the writing is really beautiful. Some of my favorite passages describe the scenes in 'Limbo,' for example; but at the same time the characters are drawn so well. Like, I can easily picture Ralph saying any of his soft "____, Spud" lines and my heart melts a little more each time! Andrew and Ralph have completely different personalities, with Laurie representing the middle-ground between their extremes, but what could have become trite in the hands of a lesser writer is avoided here. Little actual 'action' happens - and what does is usually shrouded quite masterfully in subtlety - but the novel works because of that fact. I feel like I'm right there with Laurie every step of the way, trying to piece together what he thinks and feels as he does. But from the first chapter, I'm happily lost in the novel and eagerly awaiting what happens next.

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