Five Quarters of the Orange

by Joanne Harris, Rula Lenska | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1840324945 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Schneefee of Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on 7/24/2007
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21 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Schneefee from Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, July 24, 2007
And yet another London souvenir...

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Amazon.com
In Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris returns to the small-town, postwar France of Chocolat. This time she follows the fortunes of Framboise Dartigan, named for a raspberry but with the disposition of, well, a lemon. The proprietor of a café in a rustic village, this crabby old lady recalls the days of her childhood, which coincided with the German occupation. Back then, she and her brother and sister traded on the black market with the Germans, developing a friendship with a charismatic young soldier named Tomas. This intrigue provided a distraction from their grim home life--their father was killed in the war and their mother was a secretive, troubled woman. Yet their relationship with Tomas led to a violent series of events that still torment the aging Framboise.

Harris has a challenging project here: to show the complicated, messy reality behind such seemingly simple terms as collaborator and Resistance. To the children, of course, these were mere abstractions: "We understood so little of it. Least of all the Resistance, that fabulous quasi-organization. Books and the television made it sound so focused in later years; but I remember none of that. Instead I remember a mad scramble in which rumor chased counter-rumor and drunkards in cafes spoke loudly against the new regime." The author's portrait of occupier and occupied living side by side is given texture by her trademark appreciation of all things French. Yes, some passages read like romantic, black-and-white postcards: "Reine's bicycle was smaller and more elegant, with high handlebars and a leather saddle. There was a bicycle basket across the handlebars in which she carried a flask of chicory coffee." But these simple pleasures, recorded with such adroitness, are precisely what give Framboise solace from the torment of her past. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Framboise Dartigen relates this story from her point of view as a nine-year-old and as a woman in her 60s. She spent her childhood in a Nazi-occupied French village with her widowed mother and siblings. Knowing that the scent of oranges brought on her mother's severe migraines, Framboise was clever enough or devious enough to hoard orange peel for her own advantage. During their unsupervised play, the children met a young Nazi soldier and were captivated by his charm and the black-market gifts that he gave them. Years later, Framboise, now a widow herself, returns to the village on a quest for the truth about her family's role in a tragic event for which her mother bore the blame and was forced by the townspeople to flee. Framboise inherited her mother's journal, and soon learns that the past and the present are intertwined. Harris has woven a dark, complex story of a dysfunctional family in stressful times. As in the author's Chocolat (Viking, 2000), mother and, later, daughter are gifted cooks whose love of food and cooking shows in the wonderful descriptions of bread, cake, fruit, wine, olives, etc. A picture of life in an occupied territory emerges in which collaborators, resisters, enemies, friends, and family members live in the same area, going about their daily routines. Harris's fans will not be disappointed; her attention to detail, vivid description, and strong characterization are all in this book, too.
Carol Clark, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Journal Entry 2 by Schneefee from Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, July 27, 2007
This is going to be a bookring soon, travelling to
1. krab-te (Tegau, GER)
2. bluecat07 (Oberursel, GER)
3. Marianne013 (Ettlingen, GER)
4. belly-dancer (Braunschweig, GER)
5. solnechny (Selters, GER)
6. akkolady (Duisburg, GER)
7. pauline61 (Kroppach, GER)
8. boagat (Blankenrath, GER)
9. Sheepseeker (Bonn, GER)
10. morgenrot (Straubenhardt, GER)
11. westpohl (Leipzig, GER)
12. ink-heart (Braunschweig, GER)
13. Feodora (Braunschweig, GER)
14. Primel (Unterschleißheim, GER)
15. Lesenmachtfroh (Nürnberg, GER)
16. DieHenkerin (Hohenhameln, GER)

17. gate-indigo (Ostfildern, GER)
18. devourbooks (München, GER)
19. calisson (Heidelberg, GER)

Journal Entry 3 by Schneefee from Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, August 10, 2007
Maybe to say it first:
Of all three books in this Collection (Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange) this one is far the darkest one, but also the one that I liked most.

Where should I begin...

the names, maybe: Mirabelle, Framboise, Cassis, Reineclaude, Pistache, Noisette, Prune... what kind of family is that?? :-) 9 years of interpreting texts on Gymnasium just left their marks , so I couldn't help thinking of that. "Food was her nostalgia, her celebration, its nurture and preparation the sole outlet for her creativity" Framboise said about her mother's relationship with food. Seems that Mirabelle could have coped far better with food than with people. She ought to have been a very ambivalent mother, and her children never could know if they will be threatened (physically or mentally) or - seldom - overwhelmed with love. I wonder if it would have been different without Mirabelle being addicted to drugs or if the drug abuse was only one aspect of a deeper problem Mirabelle had.
There is little, but quite some sympathy for Mirabelle from me. I do admit she was really ill, recently widowed at quite a young age (somewhere Boise mentioned that she is 65, and her mother in that summer was more than 30 years younger than she is now - and in the book, she seems to be so old!), and trying to raise three children properly during Nazi occupation. Besides Boise doesn't seem to be an easy child either, using her mother's illness caused by the scent of oranges to drive her mad. Mirabelle never asked for help, was strong-willed (note that album entry: "No more pills!" and Boise said something like "Since it was my mother who wrote it, I knew that she wouldn't ever take one pill any more").
And how sad: The two times she seemed to be happy in the story, her illness threw her back in her usual sadness and madness: First, when she was having this affair and began to dress nicely. Second was when Reine became Harvest Queen and Mirabelle ran to her daughter, only to discover Reine had an orange in her hand.
The longer I think of it, I wonder if Mirabelle was maybe using the excuse of a migraine to get out of the house and meet Thomas? Well in the end, Thomas seems to be at the core of any scheming going on here. He was the one that played on the deepest wants of these people in order to satisfy only his own longings - and to survive WWII, at least.

There were a couple things I found pretty amazing about Boise.
For example, she never told her daughters that she had siblings. She totally tried to block the past - and so became very similar to her mother, denying and ignoring. But, then there was this book left to her (album - it took me a while to realize that this des not mean photo-album here). I wonder why she had come back to the village of her childhood at advaced age, but at the same time tries to swamp the past out and stay incognito in her mother's house. Obviously, Framboise is really similar to her mother, concerning the emotional wall both women built up around them. And so is the one of Framboise's daughters (don't remember - was it Noisette or Pistache?)

The siblings are so different from each other: Boise seemed to have a cold, hard core, even at the age of 9 (while listening, I always thought of her as 13 or 14, later I read she was 9) Reine was just the opposite, vulnerable and sensitive, and obviously she couldn't cope with it mentally healthy. Her emotionality really boomeranged back to her in the end. Cassis strove his entire life for control.
I read a nice statement somewhere in the Internet:
"In effect, Boise longed to erect a wall, Cassis longed to be the wall, and Reine longed to tear down the wall. None of them really succeeded." ("Beej")
I agree to Beej that actually Reine was the most interesting of the children. Not only was she raped, which is horrendous enough on its own, but she was betrayed through that ordeal by someone she trusted, Thomas. And, unaware that Boise knew she had been raped, she held this secret in her heart, and though we are not told whether she mentioned this to anyone, but I don't think so.

Also, I was thinking of Old Mother as a symbol for luck in general, but maybe also for Mirabelle in particular... I have to think this through a bit more

The 5 quarters of the orange, what could that mean? It's most evident for me that they are Boise, Reine, Cassis, Mirabelle, and Paul. Without the 5 pieces, you do not know the entire story. When Boise shares the last orange and cuts it into 4 more or less even pieces and hides a smaller fifth for the later manipulating of her mother's migraine.
If these 5 are the five quarters of the orange, who is that small hidden piece? I think it is Paul. His role in the whole drama is unknown by the major players until the end. He plays the role of protector of the family (later you find out that he also was the destroyer before); Boise imagines that her tricks with the orange pieces protect her and her siblings from the interference of their mother. That hidden wedge holds the secret of the story; Paul holds the secret of the story, more so than any of the others are aware.
Paul knows more than the other kids. They did not realize their mother was having an affair with Thomas, but Paul pointad that out in graffitying "Nazi Whore". Think, Paul was dismissed by everyone, little stuttering boy that he was, but he was everywhere, noticing everything.
Hm, but I have to think through this either...

You see, I really liked this book, and I liked the Narrator. Think, in her German articulation, Rula Lenska was surprisingly good :-D but I liked her English either (sorry, I can't judge her French, but to me it seemed well either ;-)).
Furthermore, all tracks are of about the same sound level and the tracks are not too long. In fact, they're surprisingly short, but that really doesn't bother me.


Now I wonder what you all think of it?


Edit 30. August:
I found a nice statement in the internet. It may be a bit farfetched, as the writer admitted herself, but an really interesting subject to think of:
It suddenly struck me that Reine by itself means queen. And there was a French queen, hundreds of years ago, named Claude. It fits that Reine was crowned harvest queen.
I know that Boise is short for Framboise, but every time I saw that word, I thought of the word boise with an accent aigu over the "e". It means wooded, and I felt that Boise was a tough as wood.
Then Cassis reminded me of Creme de Cassis, a liqueur, and the person Cassis had a drinking problem later in life.

Jane, being a bit farfetched in her thinking

Journal Entry 4 by krab-te on Saturday, August 11, 2007
Danke gut gelandet
11.9.
Ich hatte mich mit dem Hören diesmal schwer getan


Morgen geht sie per Post zu bluecat07.

Journal Entry 5 by Schneefee from Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Monday, September 24, 2007
Lost in post schon nach der ersten Station :-(

Vielen vielen Dank, krab-te, für's Brennen von Ersatz-Exemplaren. Ich hätte sonst alle drei Hörbücher nochmal durch den Audio-Grabber jagen müssen.

Journal Entry 6 by bluecat07 from Karben, Hessen Germany on Monday, September 24, 2007
Die neuen Kopien sind heute gut hier angekommen. Danke fürs Schicken und Brennen, krab-te! Ich werde sie heute abend auf meinen Rechner ziehen und die nächste Adresse anfragen, damit sie nicht so lange aufgehalten werden.

Journal Entry 7 by bluecat07 from Karben, Hessen Germany on Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Und schon sind die Hörbücher wieder auf dem Weg zu Marianne...

Ich habe sie erstmal auf meinen Rechner gezogen und werde hier meinen Kommentar abgeben, wenn ich dieses gehört habe.

Vielen Dank für den Ring, Schneefee!

Journal Entry 8 by Marianne013 from Bühl (Baden), Baden-Württemberg Germany on Saturday, September 29, 2007
Found the audiobook in my mailbox yesterday. Thanks for providing and sending it. I'll listen to it as soon as possible and edit my journal entry afterwards.

Journal Entry 9 by Marianne013 from Bühl (Baden), Baden-Württemberg Germany on Friday, November 02, 2007
The audio book is on its way to belly-dancer. Have fun.

Journal Entry 10 by belly-dancer from Edemissen, Niedersachsen Germany on Saturday, November 03, 2007
Arrived safely today!

Journal Entry 11 by solnechny on Sunday, December 30, 2007
I am in anticipation for this one, too. Thanks for the ring, Schneefee.

Journal Entry 12 by akkolady from Duisburg, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Monday, January 28, 2008
Got it along with Chocolat, which I wanted to get in the first place.
Unfortunately at the moment I'm not in the mood to listen to it at the moment, but I'll do so later.

Journal Entry 13 by pauline61 from Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, February 08, 2008
Got it along with Chocolat (5313010) and Blackberry Wine (5313035)
Unfortunately at the moment I'm not in the mood to listen to it at the moment, but I'll do so later.

I will send it to the next and give my comment later.

Journal Entry 14 by boagat from Briedel, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany on Friday, February 15, 2008
Arrived safely. Thank you.

Edit: A great story. A bit difficult, nothing to just listen to while doing other things.

Journal Entry 15 by Sheepseeker from Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Monday, April 14, 2008
Letzte Woche - während meines Urlaubs - angekommen. Vielen Dank fürs Schicken!

'Five Quarters of the Orange' und 'Chocolat' kenn ich beide bereits, ich habe mir die CD wegen 'Blackberry Wine' bestellt. Zu diesem 'Buch' werde ich also weiter nicht kommentieren...

Journal Entry 16 by morgenrot from Straubenhardt, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Saturday, May 17, 2008
Tja-wir waren eine gute Woche ohne Postzustellung...nur wegen "VitaminB" kam gestern die gesammelte Papierflut samt Sicherungskopie hier an! Ich werde frühestens Ende nächster Woche zum Hören kommen-aber dann mit Genuss! Danke!

Journal Entry 17 by westpohl from Leipzig, Sachsen Germany on Friday, June 06, 2008
CD ist angekommmen und wird demnächst beim Bügeln angehört.

Journal Entry 18 by ink-heart from Wolfenbüttel, Niedersachsen Germany on Thursday, June 26, 2008
Arrived safe and sound together with "Blackberry Wine" and "Chocolat". Thank you Schneefee and westpohl!

Journal Entry 19 by ink-heart at Braunschweig, Niedersachsen Germany on Friday, July 18, 2008

Released 10 yrs ago (7/18/2008 UTC) at Braunschweig, Niedersachsen Germany

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For once, I am sending the audiobook on without a comment. - I am going on a holiday tomorrow and just didn't want to stall the ring any longer. I'll edit my first journal entry soon after I'm back. The Harris-Box is sent to Feodora tomorrow morning. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 20 by Feodora from Braunschweig, Niedersachsen Germany on Sunday, July 27, 2008
Arrived last week. Will take it to Bonn with me a might listen

Journal Entry 21 by Feodora from Braunschweig, Niedersachsen Germany on Friday, September 05, 2008
As I could not get into the story it might travel to its next station

Journal Entry 22 by Primel from Unterschleißheim, Bayern Germany on Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Die CD ist gut angekommen!

Journal Entry 23 by Primel from Unterschleißheim, Bayern Germany on Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Ich habe festgestellt, mein Englisch ist sehr dürftig. Die CD reist demnächst weiter!

Journal Entry 24 by wingLesenmachtfrohwing from Nürnberg, Bayern Germany on Monday, October 13, 2008
Arrived today as part of a box which is in fact a disc.
I'm looking forward to it. What a pity that there are so few comments so far.

Journal Entry 25 by wingLesenmachtfrohwing from Nürnberg, Bayern Germany on Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Will be commented soon

Released 10 yrs ago (10/21/2008 UTC) at -- Per Post geschickt/ Persönlich weitergegeben --, Bayern Germany

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Geht mit der Joanne Harris Box weiter an Henkerin.

Journal Entry 27 by DieHenkerin from Hohenhameln, Niedersachsen Germany on Thursday, October 23, 2008
Heute wohlbehalten bei mir angekommen. :o)
Vielen lieben Dank für den Ring und fürs Schicken!

Journal Entry 28 by DieHenkerin from Hohenhameln, Niedersachsen Germany on Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I don't like time-shifting in stories or films. I had to listen hard in order to catch everything... Not easy, when your children are jumping around you. :o(
It felt extremely odd that all the French names were pronounced like English ones. Not to mention "Backfisch" and other German expressions...

Released 10 yrs ago (11/19/2008 UTC) at -- Per Post geschickt/ Persönlich weitergegeben --, Niedersachsen Germany

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...on its way...

Journal Entry 30 by gate-indigo from Ostfildern, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Friday, November 28, 2008
got it

Journal Entry 31 by devourbooks from Bergen auf Rügen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Germany on Wednesday, March 11, 2009
cd kam heute in münchen an.

Journal Entry 32 by wingcalissonwing from Neckargemünd, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Wednesday, April 01, 2009
kam schon gestern mit der Post, danke!

Bisher habe ich nur Blackberry Vine angehört und die ersten Kapitel von Chocolat, und es hat mir sehr gefallen.

Sobald ich weiß wohin, kann es weitergehen.

Released 9 yrs ago (10/24/2009 UTC) at Angelbachtal OBCZ -Eiscafé San Marco in Angelbachtal, Baden-Württemberg Germany

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geht mit zum Treffen

Journal Entry 34 by sonnenscheinHD from Eppelheim, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Saturday, November 14, 2009
Mit herzlichem Dank gestern in den tiefen einer Tüte gefunden, werde bald reinhören, danke!

Released 9 yrs ago (11/18/2009 UTC) at -- Per Post geschickt/ Persönlich weitergegeben --, Baden-Württemberg Germany

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Reisen wieder nach Hause zu Schneefee, danke fürs teilen!

Journal Entry 36 by Schneefee from Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Thursday, December 03, 2009
back home and RES for Vekiki's friend in London

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