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Five Quarters of the Orange

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  31,514 ratings  ·  2,400 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, 307 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published 2001)
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Mandy 5 quarters....It was a reference to the orange Tomas brought to the children when he met them at the river - it had to be divided between the four chi…more5 quarters....It was a reference to the orange Tomas brought to the children when he met them at the river - it had to be divided between the four children (Cassis, Reine Claude, Paul and Framboise) but Framboise needed a piece to keep for the express purpose of tormenting her mother. She divided it furtively in an attempt to hide the fifth piece - hence 5 quarters.(less)
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Best for Book Clubs
6,813 books — 12,426 voters
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Food-Related Fiction
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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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
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dem by: Janice
Shelves: ww2, favorites
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
Jul 12, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
There is something a little unbalanced about this book -- and one gets that feeling from the start. In fact, the title itself suggests a certain asymmetrical allure which is disconcerting: five quarters of the orange suggests 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 problematic ending.

I loved Framb
It is France during the Nazi Occupation and the three Dartigan children befriend a young German soldier who brings them chocolate and magazines. A seemingly harmless, secret relationship, except the youngest child, nine year old Framboise, has fallen perhaps too hard for the charming Tomas. He was very charming. And the children's mother might have known him as well, but it is now years later and Framboise has never had the courage to finally face up to what was going on that last year they live ...more
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
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
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I have to say that reading this novel made me appreciate Gentlemen and Players a bit more. This time I knew what I was getting with Joanne Harris- a dark atmospheric novel of psychological suspense. She can certainly create dysfunctional child characters! It is hard to imagine that a nine year old could be so ruthless, but it was a different time, a different place, and I felt for Framboise.
Just as Straitley was the perfect foil in Gentlemen and Players, so Paul is in Five Quarters of the Orang
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew, this is a wrenching read. It's excellent and 4.5 star, IMHO.

The characters are not easily liked, very few are amiable, and the entire is both dramatically and emotionally tense. And that tension is for its entire length and continued within personality and character far beyond the ending. Because our narrator and others are never easy people.

Beyond the war and small town France location coupled with the scrumptious cooking and foodie directions, the real core of the story is the tightly c
Bionic Jean
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 crêperie. 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
Jul 01, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Aug 12, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jess The Bookworm
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story follows a young girl in a village in France during World War II as she deals with a difficult relationship with her mother and misadventures with her siblings and friends, ultimately leading to a tragedy which she must come to terms with later in life, as she returns home to start over.

The story is well-written, weaving childhood whimsy with the dark and dangerous. It did take me a while to get into, as the beginning is a little all over the place, but once I got into it, it was a pag
Blackberry Wine (1999) & Five Quarters of the Orange (2001) by Joanne Harris
Finished Reading: August 2015
Rating: 2/5 & 3/5

I read Harris' Five Quarters of the Orange & Blackberry Wine back to back, thus the double review. They are very similar, actually; a little too much. Both feature lead female protagonists that have strong, proud, independent, walled-away personalities, unwilling to accept, let alone ask, others for any sort of assistance. In both, they are not the lead character, but as t
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sensitive, elegant, and beautifully crafted.

Five Quarters of the Orange is a slow burn, the beginning especially, but the revelation is wonderful. Harris recounts the Occupation in the most acute sense without ever using it as a convenient backdrop against which to stage melodrama. The War only haunts the fringes of the novel, instead focusing on the psychology of the characters. And oh my, am I grateful for that. (The Nightingale, I am looking at you.)

I loved the dour but deeply introspective F
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I really, really enjoyed the Chocolat trilogy but was rather disappointed with this one. Like Chocolat, at the heart of this book is the relationship between a mother and her daughter with very much a foody theme running through it. Framboise and her family grew up in a small village on the banks of the Loire in France but left suddenly after events during WWII. Years later, Framboise, now widowed, returns to her old home, keeping her identify a secret for fear of reprisals for what, for most of ...more
Dec 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Framboise, daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen, returns to her home village on the banks of the Loire. Anxious about being recognised and causing old enmities to awaken, but wanting to connect with her roots after a long exile, Framboise hopes for a new beginning. But she quickly discovers that the present is always, always distinctly connected to the past. One can never run away from it.

Framboise has inherited a recipe book cum diary from her mother, Mirabelle. Is this recipe book just
Jul 31, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Dec 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Francophiles, WWII, psychological drama
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosiemae Burton
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is almost guaranteed for me that a Joanne Harris novel is going to be very well-written. She encorpoates social issues, different beliefs and food all into one and it is brilliant how she does so. However, this novel took a long while (about 100 or so pages) to really get going and I didn't like that there wasn't any clear indication on whether it was a flashback or current time. I loved Framboise as a narrator and I liked that I got to see a different side to wartime rather than the usual fi ...more
Rarely do I find a book whose title is so perfect and so symbolic of the essence of the book!

The orange is the forbidden fruit. The five quarters indicates the parts that make up the whole. And why five instead of four quarters? To me it symbolizes something hidden, something not quite right, perhaps a twist!

Ah! The innocence of children! Transport them back to the perceived safety of a small town during war time where they suffer the loss of a father, the emotional absence of a mother, and fall
Going into this book, I didn't realize how much of it was going to be flashbacks to WWII. It's a family drama where all of the main plot points take place during the war and center around the Nazis' invasion of France. I'm not a big fan of wartime historical fiction, and I honestly wouldn't have picked up this book if I knew that going in.

That being said, Joanne Harris's writing was as great as it always is. She has a real talents for writing about food and I wish there was more of it in this bo
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mary Ann
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary Ann by: cameron
This is simply a lovely book. I took a bit more time with it than usual because the beautiful prose is dense and loaded with layers of meaning and emotions. The first-person narration alternates between that of a nine year old in 1942 Occupied France and the same woman in the same village fifty-four years later as she slowly discloses her long-held secrets. The change in the time frames sometimes occurs abruptly, mid-chapter, so the reader must pay attention. It helps if the reader can read Fren ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Nov 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2008
This book turned out much better than I thought it would. It took along time for the story to start. I loved all the food talk though. I could actually end up smelling oranges.
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
«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.»

Five Quarters of the Orange was like a ripe fruit I wanted to eat all at once but that I tried to savor slowly.
Joanne Harris is one of my favorites authors and she never disappoints. This novel was different from the others I've read by her, but the touches that make her books unique were all there nonetheless.

Framboise returns to the smal
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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 pr ...more

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