Harris is the author of Chocolat, which I've read and enjoyed, and Gentlemen and Players is just as enjoyable, though very different. It takes place at a private British boys' school and is told by two narrators: an elderly veteran teacher who has devoted his life to the school, and a young new teacher who holds an old grudge against the school and has created an elaborate plan to bring it crashing down, along with as many lives and reputations as necessary.
Although I've never really had any interest in British boys' schools, this was a page-turner. The war of nerves the young teacher unleashes on the school is truly creepy. My husband thought the twist at the end was a bit of a cop-out, but I thought it was great. Read it and decide for yourself.
Better than expected, a good read that pulls you in after the first 100 pages or so.
I had a hard time getting started, didn't care for the first person writing of two different characters.. and at two different time periods at that. But I stuck with it and after 50 pages started enjoying it and after 100 just couldn't put it down.
Exclusive St. Oswald's Boys School is the setting for a wonderfully written story of conflict between a "Mr. Chips" type teacher and a student (later colleague). At the start of fall term, minor annoyances escalate to kidnapping and murder. It will keep you engrossed.
So far this is the contender for the best book I have read this year. Harris lets out the story bit by bit, whetting your appitite for more with each chapter. The book is a mystery, a morality tale, a glimpse into life in a private boys school, a story of revenge. Her characters are fully drawn, with both darkness and humor. The twist will make you go "Whoa!"
I really enjoyed this book. Joanne Harris is a very good writer - although I was fairly certain of who the mysterious "evil" narrator was, it didn't at all detract from the fun of reading it and the joy of being right. I especially enjoyed the Latin glossary in the back of the book - especially after suffering through so much untranslated Spanish in _The Hummingbird's Daughter_.
Once this book hooked me I couldn't stop reading. The story starts slowly, and is peculiarly British in its setting and its language, so that from the outset I was kept busy looking up unfamiliar words. But Harris's writing style is uncluttered, her characters memorable (even when they have morality play names like Easy and Light and Meek), and her plotting plausible, with just enough of a twist that I didn't figure everything out until the end. A satisfying read.
A book that draws you in and eventually you can't put it down. The start takes a little concentration as it's written in first person by two characters in two time periods, but once you get into it it's easy to follow and fascinating. The ending is a real surprise too. Well worth reading.
This is a wonderful story that has so many twists and turns it makes all the roller coasters at Six Flags tame. I loved envisioning the plot twists in my head. This is a book that will keep you up at night.
this was a great book. i have read a couple of harris' books and, in general, i'm a fan.
i could not put this down. something kinda icky is going on the whole time in an upscale boys' school. i did have it figured out well before the punchline. but i liked it anyway. the characters are great - very well defined - i feel like i might know them :) i will never look at private schools the same way!
I am a fan of Joanne Harris, and love her books. However, this is my least favorite so far. It is still a good read, and has a great twist at the end. But if you are looking for something in the caliber of Blackberry Wine or Chocolat, it doesn't quite reach that level.
My impression is that the same few story lines are being repeated by a few different characters in the story. But since there is only one narrator, I found myself forgetting who he was supposed to "be" at any given time! When I realized, after only 5 cds, that I was only half way done and nothing terribly exciting had happened yet, I gave up. Hope you enjoy this more than I did!
This is my first time reading the works of Joanne Harris and WOW, am I ever impressed! I love any books set in a boarding/prep school (attended one in my youth!) that have a deliciously evil twist to them. Gentlemen & Players is a an excellent thriller.