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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I want to read everything else she wrote, and though I’m not sure how I feel about historical fiction set in Ancient Greece, if it’s anything like this, I am sure I will love it.

I could really imagine this one being narrated in the kind of voice that BBC announcers in the ‘s used to have I’m fairly curious but i don’t quite dare to read it yet. Laurie’s painful struggle to reign in his nature while his heart pulls the other way.

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 loved every line. Renault’s treatment of homosexuality was, for the time, startlingly straightforward “Andrew, thought Laurie; the name slipped into place like the clear colour note in the foreground of a picture”.

This page was last modified on 17 Septemberat Same-sex parents ‘should be featured in school books’. I had to reread many passages a few times!?!?! In canon, Lucy Odell is a “womanly woman” who clearly uses her feminity to manipulate everyone around her, not least her only son, who adores her. Fans of romance, esp. He knows that he could probably influence Laurie in his choice, but chooses not to – an admirable quality.


Retrieved from ” https: Laurie is divided between the love for Andrew, which Laurie seems to want to keep innocent and spiritual, and the love for Ralph, which is physical and brings with it the participation to a circle of gay men, that Laurie seems not to be able to accept, because it seems to exclude them from the rest of society.

Laurie falls in love with Andrew, but doesn’t want to tell him as he views Andrew as being in some way ‘pure’ and doesn’t want to sully this idealistic love with carnality – which he feels would happen if he confesses to being gay and attracted to him.

Laurie must come to terms with his own nature as well as the two different aspects of love characterised by Andrew and Ralph: Although the major chariotee in The Charioteer are subject to personal preferences usually interpreted in relation to their canon appearances, fans have considerably evolved their understanding of several of the supporting characters. It requires close reading.

The Charioteer

Even when you say to yourself that you are determined to live your life along this certain line, how do you know you are not lying to yourself? On one side is Andrew, a pious, naive young conscientious objector who works in the hospital as an orderly; on the other is Ralph, an old school friend who, despite having many affairs with men and women while traveling the world in the navy, still harbors strong feelings for Laurie.

But I think she was a genius at capturing the real, honest essence of people and relationships.

In Ralph, Renault sees a tarnished hero with the potential to be a noble warrior she alludes to Plato’s Symposiumin which a character philosophizes about an army composed of male loverswhom Laurie, who has not yet lost his youthful idealism, can redeem. Renault, though, was probably not after this kind of attention, for all that her book was so brave and compassionate.


Canon is slightly hazy on the exact marital status of Laurie’s mother. Now the other horse enters and he is Ralph, a handsome, reserved and generous naval officer also injured at Dunkirk. Such is the life of the gods.

The Charioteer by Mary Renault – review | Books | The Guardian

T “Conquest is intoxicating, but a gift makes you think. It’s true that there are moments when it has the sepia feel of a period piece, all aspidistras, linoleum and aunts called Olive; and like Renault’s Hellenic novels, it sometimes seems overly preoccupied with ethics, with high-minded considerations of how a man might live a good and honourable life.

Because I feel like someone tore it out and stomped on it.

The only gay man I was aware of was a guy, who sold feather dusters around the centre of Athens; he was campy, outspoken, mocked, and it scared me that I might be like him. This romance novel is set in the period of World War II at a military hospital during nightly bomb raids and blackouts. I just wanted to give him a shake and say ‘for goodness sake, pull yourself together!

Reg’s wife who has an affair [10] Mr. I had forgotten how much I miss this style of writing, that early 20th century British novelist writing that I read so much of in my adolescence and don’t read as much now. I am really interested now in Mary Renault. Now as he gets to spend time with Ralph while he has his evening passes, Laurie understands that it’s possible to love and touch.

Feb 23, Alicja rated it it was amazing Shelves: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.