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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Fans of The Charioteer have been described as “an active, tight-knit, thoughtful and opinionated fandom”. However, it is much renauult than a “gay novel”, and is one of her most popular within Renault fan communities.

The Charioteer by Mary Renault – review

I read the last chapter with dread, shock, worry and being sorry mzry mortified. After finishing the book I have went through all the reviews and found that a lot of readers felt involved in the same way as me, staying up late, reading for short moments when waiting to cross the street, etc.

Now the other horse enters and he is Ralph, a handsome, reserved and generous naval officer also injured at Dunkirk. Pages to import images to Wikidata. My rule in distinguishing between a three-star and four-star book is how urgently I feel the need to return to reading it while I am not. I thought I was charioteeer an equal distance from him and the other characters, but when I got to the end, I realized I wasn’t able to detach my point-of-view from his and he totally, totally convinced me of his perceptions, so much so that I thought Ralph had really spoken to Andrew.

The reader, at times, may feel frustration with Laurie, himself.


Feb 23, Alicja rated it it was amazing Shelves: There was also a follow-up discussion beginning with a post on 5 June Although the major characters renaut 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.

Lists with This Book. I understand them, I even empathize with them but like?

The Charioteer – Wikipedia

Click here for related articles on Fanlore. May 30, Podga Podga rated it it was amazing. Oct 28, Kristen rated it it was amazing.

It treats a very sensitive topic in a really subtle way. 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.

There are moments of obscurity, but also moments of revelation.

Accessed 2 Augus I can’t stop thinking about it. In canon, she is a colourless family drudge, always a little too eager to make herself useful. A span of time ago, this work’s Laurie would have been considered fit to burn, but not at the stake.

Much as the subtle touch and go of a socially forbidden romance proves an indulgence to read, even more so when soaked in warfare, ancient literary influence, and the bildungsroman of a double life, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

By the time I was done, I was convinced it belonged near the top of the list of the best novels ever written about gay characters. This time, there was greater familiarity with the historical and cultural background to the book; and, although there were still many posts with a fannish bent, the discussion overall tended more towards an analysis of the reasons for, and the effects and implications of the changes. To complicate matters fate brings back into his life an old school friend, Ralph Lanyon, who is familiar with the pitfalls of being gay during that era and also develops feelings for him.


I knew I was different, but not in a way that bore mentioning or even secret acknowledgement in the ulta-macho Greece of that time. This discussion included reference to quite a lot of the historical context of the novel, as well as explorations about character motivation, etc. I haven’t really read books set in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century by someone who lived during that time in a loooong while, maybe not since I was eighteen?

I stayed up way later than I usually do, last night, to finish this, because I couldn’t wait any longer. Inlorie purchased a copy of the original Longman edition of The Charioteer only to discover it differed significantly in content from the version she had previously read.

Remember how great and romantic Farewell to Arms was, except that the female character was sort of a misogynistically drawn 2D fuckdoll, and the protagonist was a bit of an inarticulate, hypermasculine alcoholic brute? However, his love for Andrew is perforce platonic, since the younger man gives no indication of sharing his preferences.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. As Renault’s biographer David Sweetman has noted, the narrative charioter an atmosphere, sweet and touching, of “amazed discovery”, one that is maintained until the very last page.

His initial introduction in the novel is negative: It is, however, an idea that Laurie carries with him into adult life, as did many gay men of his and earlier generations.