“I know, I know. You want me to get to the point. But this is at least as important as the rest, the method of telling, and the time taken to tell. It has taken me 55 years to begin, at least let me do it in my own way.”
WWII is one of my favorite genres. Every now and then I say – enough now. I don’t want to read about The War any more. There are just too many excellent stories build around that time and I get drawn to them like the wasps to the rotten fruit in the orchards of Les Laveuses, on the banks of the Loire.
Every WWII story is unique. Everyone grasps you in a different way, some you can categorize together, some are in a league of their own. Some are about the events, some about the experiences, some about the survival and some are about the ignorance, the unrealness, this-is-but-a-childish game, or events only possible in fiction. Five Quarters of the Orange
is one of those.
“Of course I had heard of these things. It was just that in Les Laveuses things were different. We’d all heard rumours, of course, but in my mind they had got somehow tangled with the Death Ray from The War of the Worlds. Hitler had been muddled with the pictures of Charlie Chaplan from Reinette’s film magazines, fact fusing with folklore, rumour, fiction and newsreel broadcast melting into serial-story start-fighters from beyond the planet Mars and night flights across the Rhine, gunslingers and firing-squads, U-boots and the Nautilus 20, 000 leagues under”.
This book was beautiful written and the scenery, characters and events where visually so well described, it played like a movie in my minds eye. Especially Mirabelle Dartigen’s album with the recipes, the photos and her sometimes unreadable, sometimes assumingly mad, scribbles.
The story is about so much more than The War and the Nazi occupation in France. In fact, it blurred more in the background. Characters you should like, you hate. Characters you should hate, you love. And that’s how and why everyone got misunderstood. Especially if you live on the continent of 9.
True to her name, Framboise is a fermented character with layers of sugar, sweet/sour tasting with a kick you should be aware of. But she’s a liqueur that will linger.
This was my first Joanne Harris book that I’ve read. I’ve seen Chocolat more than once and believe that Five Quarters of the orange will also make a wonderful, memorable movie. Book and movie should be enjoyed by a bottle of good wine or liqueur.