Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Listened to: "Gentlemen and Players" by Joanne Harris.

Listened to Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris, 2006, downloaded from

Good. Deceptively good because the characterizations were very well done, so effortlessly well done and flowing that I did not even notice until now. The novel had some surprising moments. I saw the 'big' surprise coming because I was told there was one. Set in an English private school, St. Oswald's, during both present day and fifteen years previous. Gentlemen is narrated by two characters: the son of the school Porter (the handyman/groundskeeper), Julian, and the Classics teacher, Mr. Straitley.

Julian is quite villainous. As a young teenager Julian is mostly adrift without parental support and attention and he goes downhill quickly when attached to Leon, an older, loutish student from St. Oswald's. As an adult Julian is murderous, with – revealed at story's end – a lifetime body count of at least four people. Julian is amoral and set on revenge against the school that never accepted him. His infatuations with the school, it's staff members, and one of the school's students are very well written.

Mr. Straitley is 65 and in his 100th semester of teaching at St. Oswald's. As the semester begins Straitley's curriculum is under siege from the newly established Languages department – whose head has taken away his office - and the school's recent emphasis on computer sciences. Straitley's narration is set in present day and records the reactions of the victims of Julian's underhanded and scheming plan for revenge against the school.

Pretty good n

No comments: