Ash Rocketship's Reviews > The Charioteer

The Charioteer by Mary Renault
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019, favorites

This was stuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnniiiiinnngggggggggggg. The writing in this is so rich and so lovely and so dense and the characters are just as good. Laurie is a wonderful narrator with whom I never once got bored or even particularly frustrated. You are so tightly with him throughout that every choice he makes seems inevitable. I knew I would be interested in seeing the tone and content of something from 1953 and was really surprised by the frankness of it for the time and by the very clear depiction of the humanity of and call for respect for queer people (Less surprised when I read that Mary Renault had already been with her life partner for nearly 20 years by the time this was published. I was also not surprised to read about her discomfort with gay pride or her continued misogyny. Writers aren't their stories, but sometimes they put their words in characters' mouths very clearly.) but I also found myself surprisingly interested in the everyday life of World War II England. The gay romance is overt here, but it had the kind of subtlety in writing (out of necessity, surely) that is always extremely thrilling to me and makes the smallest of words or motions capable of eliciting hand-to-heart joyful gasps.

I cannot believe that this is the first Mary Renault I've read. This is a direct punishment for mostly refusing to read anything written before 1960 for most of my life and yet is also a reward because I now have so many more of her books to read and, because I'm older now and they've come to me later on, I also have the critical understanding to enjoy them and dismiss the bits that might have made me feel crappy when I was younger. Life works out okay.
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Reading Progress

June 26, 2019 – Started Reading
June 26, 2019 – Shelved
June 27, 2019 –
10.0% "i’ve never had to look up so many words while vaguely horned up in my LIFE"
June 28, 2019 –
June 29, 2019 –
65.0% "godddddddddddd"
June 30, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
June 30, 2019 – Finished Reading
December 6, 2019 – Shelved as: favorites

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