Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Five Quarters of the Orange

Finished Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris. The story jumps back and forth between World War II and the present. Like Harris' Chocolat and Blackberry Wine, the book is interlaced with food descriptions and recipes that entrance the reader.

Biose has returned to her family farm in France forty years after she, her siblings and mother were driven away by the locals who blamed them for the massacre in the village. Biose returns under an assumed name and opens a creperie, making the recipes her mother transcribed amid emotional code in a journal during the war. While Biose fears discovery by the locals, it's actually family members who threaten her exposure. Meanwhile we learn the story of her childhood friendship with Tomas, a German soldier who gives her and her siblings chocolate and comic books obtained through the black market.

The book reminded me a bit of Atonement, in that both novels feature a young girl who witnesses adult situations that she does not understand. This character then becomes embroiled in a situation that leads to a tragedy which she will forever feel guilt over.

This book was intriguing. I read it quickly and also followed it's recipe for Creme de Frambiose. It has to sit in the basement for 18 months. We'll see how it comes out at Christmas 2013.

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