Five Quarters of the Orange
by Joanne Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Five Quarters of the Orange / 0-06-095802-2
I loved "Chocolat", so it was probably a given that I'd be immediately hooked by "Five Quarters".
"Five Quarters" is darker than "Chocolat", but in many ways just as sweet. Throughout the novel, Harris uses scents and tastes to transport the reader back through the narrator's childhood recollections. Reluctantly, she remembers the German occupation and her own innocent collaboration with them as they oppressed her people and hurt her family and friends. The lingering bitterness between mother and daughter that Harris excels at is more closely explored here; Boise struggles to understand her mother in light of her own life experiences. As Boise fights to keep the life she has carved for herself, and as she learns late in life to love and trust the man who has always loved and protected her, we are drawn irresistibly into Harris' sweet, enchanting prose.
It is easy to see the differences between "Chocolat" and "Five Quarters", but it is easy to see the similarities, too. Here there is less magic and fewer easy resolutions, but the greater pain brings greater growth and depth.
~ Ana Mardoll
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