Five Quarters of the Orange
By Joanne Harris
(William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780060198138, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 2001
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The novels of Joanne Harris are a literary feast for the senses. Five Quarters of the Orange represents Harris's most complex and sophisticated work yet -- a novel in which darkness and fierce joy come together to create an unforgettable story.
When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen -- the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that, look place during the German occupation decades before. Althrough Framboise hopes for a new beginning. She quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrap book of recipes site has inherited from her dead mother.
With this book, Framboise re-creates her mother's dishes, which she serves in her small creperie. And yet as she studies the scrapbook -- searching for clues to unlock the contradiction between her mother's sensuous love of food and often cruel demeanor -- she begins to recognize a deeper meaning behind Mirabelle's cryptic scribbles. Whithin the journal's tattered pages lies the key to what actually transpired the summer Framboise was nine years old.
Rich and dark. Fire Quarters of the Orange is a novel of mothers and daughters of the past and the present, of resisting, and succumbling, and an extraordinary work by a masterful writer.