Mary Renault’s novel of gay love in the Forties broke new ground in its time and has become a universal classic, finds Peter Parker. After enduring an injury at Dunkirk during World War II, Laurie Odell is sent to a rural veterans’ hospital in England to convalesce. There he befriends the young, . Editorial Reviews. Review. “Renault masters a lyrical style, meticulous and probing, and introduces us into a world of emotions so delicate and private that the.

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Emotionally intelligent, beautifully written and deeply moving, it transcends categorisations.

I need to build Mary Renault a worship shrine. Unlike the idealistic Andrew, Ralph is very much aware of the nature of his own desires. The contemporary American reader charjoteer to fight through layers of British references to public schools, the military, the geography charioheer London neighborhoods, and so on.

Laurie knows he’s gay but of course back then you wouldn’t call it that. She and Julie met at the Radcliffe hospital in Oxford and took great risks sneaking into each other’s rooms in dead of night; on one occasion, matron burst in and one of them had to hide beneath the sheets.

Lastly, with a remarkable plot progression, there emerges a joyous aspect in The Charioteer. They’re sometimes decent, sometimes petty. The conscientious objector, Andrew Raynes, is a young Quaker, as yet unaware of his own homosexuality, who is working as an orderly at the military hospital where Laurie is being treated.

His initial introduction in the novel is negative: The discussion of the first two chapters began 11 February ; the final chapter was discussed from 29 April The book is strongest in the portrayal of the various characters in the book.

The Charioteer by Mary Renault

The more you try to be honest with them, the more they lie to you. War novel Gay literature. The book was first published insomething I kept having to remind myself about because it didn’t feel like it at all.


Andrew seems very young, perhaps in awe of Laurie, but ultimately, lacking in any personality.

The Charioteer, by Mary Renault, review

In a sense, The Charioteerthe story of two young gay servicemen in the s who try to model their relationship on the ideals expressed in Plato’s Phaedrus and Symposium, is a warm-up for Renault’s historical novels. We always agreed that right, left or centre, it is still necessary to make out as a human being. The Charioteer of Phaedrus handles two horses, one runs smoothly and obediently, the other fights against the control — it is up to the charioteer to make them chagioteer as a pair.

South Africa External Links: The two main characters have war injuries, but have acclimated to them. Yes, it is a Where do I start with this one??

Totally recommended to all open-minded readers! I found the beginning a bit slow and the language of the 50s a bit complicated, rsnault I’m really happy that it did not scare me off and I decided to continue reading. Refresh and try again. To view it, click here.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. The novel derives its title from the Chariot Allegory employed by Plato in his dialogue Phaedrusin which the soul the charioteer must learn to manage the two aspects of love, the black horse representing the lustful side of love, and the white horse representing the altruistic side of love.

Some fan discussions have not, strictly speaking, been about the book, but have been about the context of the book.

Also at the time it was written any renualt content in a mainstream novel would have lead to it being banned. Laurie has to decide between the platonic ideal apparently offered by Andrew and a more realistic sexual love offered by Ralph, and his wavering between these options maintains a narrative tension right until the very last page. Just a few thoughts.

The Charioteer – Wikipedia

Jul 13, K. Concrete thought contains a certain intelligence while ignoring the possibilities of the abstract and said concreteness led to the instance wherein I lost all respect for him. The story’s protagonist, Laurie ‘Spud’ Odell, is a young soldier wounded at Dunkirk Renault worked as a nurse during the warwho mmary decide if his affections lie with a conscientious objector or a naval officer. I really can’t reault I’d recommend this unreservedly to everyone, though if you’re interested in historical fiction about gays in the military, it’s hard to imagine that you could do better.

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It takes little reading between the lines to see her unsympathetically. Feb 23, Alicja rated it it was amazing Shelves: Head prefect at Laurie’s school, but is expelled; joins the Navy during the war and loses several fingers on one hand; one of Laurie’s love interests [6] Andrew Raynes: However in August fan interest was sparked by the discovery someone had written a screenplay based on the book [34] and in early December fans were excited by the possibility of a film [35] when they discovered a vid in the form of a trailer on YouTube.

I suspect they chose this particular painting because it’s an image of a pensive innocent looking young man.

The Charioteer is a novel to be savored. He strikes me as very melancholy, destined to be forever dissatisfied. In a lesser novel all of that would have amry frustrating, but Renault is such a good writer, and her characters are so fleshed out and compelling, that the book made me want to work hard for its pleasures.

It’s about characters who are coming to terms with their homosexuality and what that might mean for their lives, or have already come to terms with it, or may never come to terms with it.