July 25, 2006

Gentlemen & Players

Posted in Books at 1:39 pm by Calico Jack

Gentlemen & Players is one of the most interesting novels I have read in quite a while. Joanne Harris gives a fascinating look at the inner workings and politics of a respected English boys’ school, St. Oswald. Fourteen years ago, a lower-class student tried to gain acceptance at St. Oswald’s, but was never able to truly fit in because of his lower standing. Now, posing as a teacher, he is back for revenge against the teachers who betrayed him; and he is willing to go as far as murder to achieve the complete destruction of the school.

What makes this novel so fascinating is that Harris provides two first-person points of view in Gentlemen & Players, alternating chapters between Latin instructor Roy Straitley and “Julian Snyde.” As Straitley attempts to figure out who is sabotaging the school, Synde both recounts his childhood and sets in motion his carefully laid plan of revenge. This novel is filled with interesting surprises, and the climax of the book contains a twist so unexpected it reveals much of what came before to be a red herring. But for some strange reason, the twist works.

I read this novel in about two sittings because I couldn’t put it down. It’s a perfect book for when you have some free time and don’t want to get into anything too heavy.

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