Gentlemen and players

Gentlemen and players Audere, Agere, Auferre To Dare, To Strive, To Conquer For Generations, Privileged Young Men Have Attended St Oswald S Grammar School For Boys, Groomed For Success By The Likes Of Roy Straitley, The Eccentric Classics Teacher Who Has Been A Fixture There For Than Thirty Years But This Year The Wind Of Unwelcome Change Is Blowing Suits, Paperwork, And Information Technology Are Beginning To Overshadow St Oswald S Tradition, And Straitley Is Finally, And Reluctantly, Contemplating Retirement He Is Joined This Term By Five New Faculty Members, Including One Who Unbeknownst To Straitley And Everyone Else Holds Intimate And Dangerous Knowledge Of St Oswald S Ways And Secrets Harboring Dark Ties To The School S Past, This Young Teacher Has Arrived With One Terrible Goal To Destroy St Oswald SAs The New Term Gets Under Way, A Number Of Incidents Befall Students And Faculty Alike Beginning As Small Annoyances A Lost Pen, A Misplaced Coffee Mug They Are Initially Overlooked But As The Incidents Escalate In Both Number And Consequence, It Soon Becomes Apparent That A Darker Undercurrent Is Stirring Within The School With St Oswald S Unraveling, Only Straitley Stands In The Way Of Its Ruin The Veteran Teacher Faces A Formidable Opponent, However A Master Player With A Bitter Grudge And A Strategy That Has Been Meticulously Planned To The Final Move, A Secret Game With Very Real, Very Deadly ConsequencesA Harrowing Tale Of Cat And Mouse, This Riveting, Hypnotically Atmospheric Novel Showcases New York Times Bestselling Author Joanne Harris S Astonishing Storytelling Talent As Never Before

Joanne Harris is an Anglo French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN , and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre

[Reading] ➿ Gentlemen and players Author Joanne Harris –
  • Hardcover
  • 422 pages
  • Gentlemen and players
  • Joanne Harris
  • English
  • 11 September 2018
  • 9780060559144

10 thoughts on “Gentlemen and players

  1. says:

    St Oswalds Grammar School for Boys is an exclusive British institution, a bastion of tradition and privilege Roy Straitley is an aging Classics teacher about to reach his 100th term at the school The sameness and relative serenity of St Oswalds is about to be shattered A new teacher is up to no good, determined to wreak havoc, perhaps even destroy the school and all those in it Ultimately, this will become a battle between the honorable Straitley and the wretch bent on revenge and destruction This is a very engaging read, told alternately from the perspectives of Straitley and his nemesis It takes place in two times as well, the present, in which small things disappear, evidence appears to incriminate people who are accused of crimes they did not commit Pawns are used and sacrificed in the deadly game We are also shown the roots of this evil, fifteen years prior, in which the young person comes to despise the school and its inhabitants A game of chess, both then and now Fun, fast reading, thrilling and with an excellent final chapter twist Heartily recommended.

  2. says:

    Joanne Harris is best known for her award winning novel Chocolat that lead to the highly successful film of the same name and two novels featuring the main characters Her other novels include Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, The Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Father Francis Born in her grandparent s sweet shop, her family has a tradition of storytelling, folklore, cookery and strong women It is no surprise then that many of her books feature food, sweets and strong women following their own path But in Gentlemen and Players, Harris changes tack completely She has taught modern languages at a boys independent grammar school for fifteen years and from this experience, she has gleaned inspiration.Art does often imitate life so it should come as no surprise then that Harris has set her 2005 novel Gentlemen and Players in the rarefied air of a private grammar school for boys, St Oswalds The novel is a psychological thriller, which sharply features deceits, flawed childhood, hidden identity, class distinction and revenge the story ends with a deliciously unexpected twist at the end There are two narrators Roy Straitley, the Classics Master, on the eve of his century 100th term who is affectionately referred to, by his students, as Quasi or Quasimodo as he is a trifle hunched and whose rooms are in the Bell Tower Straitley is a Luddite ignoring all requests to attend to his email, he swears in Latin and smokes banned by the school secret Gauloises in his office The other narrator is the unnamed perpetrator who is bent on revenge for a myriad of both real and imagined slights against St Oswalds a sociopath who is filled with hatred and bitterness This perpetrator knows no rules he will not break somehow he has infiltrated the teachers ranks, become on of them a serpent set loose in the garden One by one, insurrection among the boys, then scandals involving the staff begin to erupt, bringing chaos to the Michaelmas term.A white King marks the first narrator, Straitley, at the beginning of alternate chapters The second narrator is marked by a Black Pawn, and is the voice of the unknown enemy within St Oswald s If there s one thing I ve learned in the past fifteen years, it s this murder is really no big deal Such a tantalising first sentence in a novel Harris did not disappoint in the rest of the story It is gripping, clever and well paced the plot is tightly controlled with impressive ingenuity A tale for every reader Most Highly Recommended 4.5

  3. says:

    This book is an absolute delight from start to finish Joanne Harris has always been a favourite of mine and she certainly did not let me down with this one Mr Straitly is such a well drawn character I found myself cheering for him the whole time and I was desperate for him to succeed in the end The last paragraphs of the book brought tears to my eyes There is a very big mystery angle to this story and although I was able to guess the identity of the murderer fairly early on it was only because having read this author before I was aware of her devious mind and looked outside the square It was very cleverly written and very entertaining So so good easily five stars.

  4. says:

    Another wonderful read by Joanne Harris I wish I had read this one before the sequel A Different Class published 11 years later but nothing was spoiled by reading in reverse order I m looking forward to a third or fourth in the series but, hopefully, sooner than 11 years Highly recommended.

  5. says:

    This is definitely the best book I have read so far this year Why Let me count the ways Where to begin The only real complaint I have is that the synopsis and teasers given tell a story nothing like what readers have At least, it reveals only a sliver, and not even a very significant one comparatively minor enough that it changes the overall perception 1 As always, Joanne Harris is an expert at characterization This is my 4th book by her I read and even if I did not like the book too much overall, her characters have consistently been relatable to the point that I was able to see them in front of me, the two dimensional dimensional characters becoming three dimensional In this book, it is John Snyde, a psychopathic man, and Roy Straightly, a dedicated and loyal Classics teacher for thirty plus years Entering the minds of these vastly different men is nothing short of fascinating 2 The book is set up in a chess game format Book parts, rather than numerical, are labeled Pawn, King, Knight, En Passant, Check, Bishop, Queen, and Mate Readers should be told that the two points of view are differentiated by the color of the cheers piece As for myself, without this information, I failed to notice this and was slightly confused throughout until the very last chapter, although it became pretty clear after several sentences 3 A psychological thriller The thrill of the chase A mystery A suspenseful battle A masterfully written all night page turner.4 Themes I appreciate the shame of the LGBT community, the difficulties inherent in teaching, friendships, parenting, abnormal psychology, loyalty, and institutions and traditions ineradicable and with a character of its own 5 Sentimental and touching at the same time as appalling and frustrating The ending is similar to that in Robin William s Dead Poet s Society May he Rest In Peace and quite heart warming Well, unlike many mysteries and psychological thriller I have read, the eventual reveal was actually unexpected and not, like most, anticlimactic Spoilers John Snyde is a man and woman, as the reader find out as the story continues He dresses up, first as a teenager posing as his mother Julia Snyde, then than a decade later as a professor by the name of Diane Dare that is driven to madness, by both his feelings of inferiority, his need for revenge, and the death of the only guy he ever really loved As a child, because of his place on the lower end of the socioeconomic tier of life, he is excluded from the exclusive, sometimes pretentious St Oswald s Grammar School for Boys Because of his obsession with what he feels ruined his life, his new obsession is seeking revenge His definition of this revenge is master planned, with a series of events and planned schemes, from spreading rumors that cause the staff to hate each other, claims of sexual abuse that tears then apart, encouragement to specifically targeted boys to rebel, missing items resulting in planted evidence, etcetera His most intelligent rival can be found in Roy Straightly, whom is the one to eventually figure out his true identity and in clued in enough to unveil the truth, his true motive he was the one with an intense jealously of his girlfriend , many years ago, to push his unrequited love from the roof to his death A satisfying conclusion, although far from perfect And this is something I also really appreciate Almost always, on happy endings are exactly that and very frustrating On the other hand, happy endings are also frustrating in that this is nothing like real life Here, the bad guy is not caught, having recalled to another country But in his own way, his pain has caused him to pay for many years Although many characters are murdered, St Oswald s endures, as do most of the likeable characters Joanne Harris, I liked you before, but now I love you.

  6. says:

    Oh is this a splendid read I almost gave it 5 stars until just 50 or 70 so pages from the end, when I think Harris jumped the shark a bit But then I read Different Class first, so having given that one the 5 star, I felt this first one just shied behind it It is 4.5 star if I could give it that rating If you have ever taught for a private institution anywhere, this book will cut to your gut with its sharp spears of recognition Not just in England is there an embodiment like St O s Be it for hundreds of years or 120 or a mere 75, tradition matters As do the eyes of the gargoyle in the bell tower room 59 It s a maze of characters and most of them have at least one nickname The cabals and the choirs of allied voices ever altering and taking juxtaposition You need to be on your toes This is no easy or sloppy read possibility In fact, you may need to backtrack if you happen to catch a hint of what you wanted to grasp before that section.The voices are duo narrators And of course one is always our centurion semester champion So you also have to focus on who is speaking for that chapter or location And it helped too, for me, that this was a reread for at least 1 2 of the book I had this once before, way back in the days when it was a newbie and needed to get it back Laughingly I thought I could speed through it NO, this is NOT the book for that possibility Every nuance counts And the minutia also makes the mood, the wit, the whole piece living and breathing entire realm of susceptibility cemented within the place and times of St Oswald s Grammar School for Boys.There are too many passages that are worth quoting to post here About liars, charm, duplicity, and stolid honesty And yet their opposites too Do we ever stay 14 in our cutting likes and dislikes And the psycho babble asides and pop references add no little salt and pepper to the campus stew.Or to the town or to the Sunnybakers.Joanne Harris writes well Now and again there glows a hint of bias but well forgiven Because even that is exposed shortly for being there Like R Straitley, take his example, miss no glimpse or detail Highly recommend this book And after you are finished go on to Different Class Don t do it in reverse, as I did A few characters are in both and I knew who was NOT going to be gone which took away from the planned confusion Sourgrapes and the League of Nations non withstanding Why is it that most educational situations of esteem worth continue to change their room numbers or hall names or building designations At anywhere from 5 to 10 years, it s always another go around for continued and proper confusions It isn t only from donor favor, of that I am sure IMHO, it s new heads using their own Audere, agere, auferre powers Because they can To dare, to strive, to conquer I wonder if the gifter of the fob watch will be returning for a class year 3 If possible or if occurring, I can not wait.

  7. says:

    Delightful, engaging and well written thriller, with an interesting plot and credible characters It beautifully recreates the special atmosphere of an old, privileged, traditional educational institution, and the particular set of idiosyncrasies, values, ineradicable and peculiar attitudes that characterize teachers as well as students in such a unique environment The main character, old school teacher Straitley, is just lovely and his passion for teaching and culture are contagious You can not but love the man and wish that you had a teacher like that in your own youth.The finale is also quite good and an apt conclusion to a riveting and well written novel presenting interesting twists and turns The complex, deep, almost all consuming relationship between the school and the main characters is beautifully portrayed St Oswald s School and its peculiar atmosphere with its sounds, smells, and timeless weight of tradition will stay with the reader well after the book is finished Highly recommended and a well deserved 4 star rating.

  8. says:

    How do you feel when you know you are nothing but the porter s son and will never ever be accepted by any of the boys at St Oswald s Oh the agony of being overlooked, ignored, despised when you know that you are as good maybe even better than those snoots That s when you transform yourself from Julian Snyde into Julian Pinchbeck, as Julian Pinchbeck you have the run of St Oswald s, as the porter s son you have the bunch of keys that allows you to inspect every nook and cranny of St Oswald, you know its secrets, its joys and aspirations As Julian Pinchbeck you can eavesdrop into classes, although never an integral part of St Oswald, you absorb knowledge like a sponge, you even have a mentor who you respect but also dislike Although you feel a part of St Oswald you know that you will never belong and that turns into a violent hatred for St Oswald And then along comes Leon the rebel.You love him with a passion, you will do anything, just about anything to be his friend even when he treats you, your father the porter, and all other people in your social class as something revolting And then Leon finds out your true cannot imagine your life after that, you just cannot imagine.and then you push him off the roof You start a new life far away in France but you are never as vulnerable as you were as the porter s child You are now educated and know how to look after yourself pretty well, but all along you nurture that awful hatred for St Oswald s, you plot and plan your revenge for a decade and then you return to St Oswald to wreak your terrible revenge from the very inside of St Oswald, from its very soul you plan to finish St Oswald But what new avatar are you planning on If you look at Julian Snyde Julian Pinchbeck s life, it could be ours too How many times have we suffered slights, people ignoring you, people treating you like a bucket of garbage just because you do not belong to a particular social class, because we are not rich enough, the list is endless.And the harder you try the you fail.Isn t it better then to be your own poor self Not to compete Not to try to be someone or something you just cannot be So much comfortable, so much at ease Doing what you love and trying not to strive to be someone else For in such cases the race is endless and the goal never in sight.

  9. says:

    Nothing but pure delight entertainment at its best, with a few life lessons thrown in, for good measure Joanne Harris novels never fail to put me in a good mood, just through the sheer delight of her writing Sometimes you just need to smile, and be entertained Sometimes you just need a good game of psychological chess to chase away the cobwebs of winter This delivers on both counts.

  10. says:

    4.5 STARS Most adults assume that the feelings of adolescence don t count, somehow, and that those searing passions of rage and hate and embarrassment and horror and hopeless, abject love are something your grow out of, something hormonal, a practice run for the Real Thing It wasn t At 13 everything counts there are sharp edges on everything, and all of them cut An intriguing storyline and a twisted plot put this one in a whole new category for me Of course we all know what a fabulous writer Joanne Harris is, that was never in question But for the first three quarters of this book, I had to wonder what is the purpose to all of this I was even growing a little bored with it Ha Little did I know that I was about to be tossed off a cliff What an ending It made me see the entire book in a whole new light Fabulous work Loved it And I can t fail to mention the narrator of the audiobook, Steven Pacey, who did a wonderful job I will look forward to reading many books by Joanne Harris.

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