Five Quarters of The Orange by Joanne Harris
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 333 (Ereader)
"When my mother died she left the farm to my brother, Cassis, the fortune in the wine cellar to my sister, Reine-Claude, and to me, the youngest, her album and a two-liter jar containing a single black Perigord truffle, large as a tennis ball, suspended in sunflower oil, that, when uncorked, still releases the rich dank perfume of the forest floor. A fairly unequal distribution of riches, but then Mother was a force of nature, bestowing her favors as she pleased, leaving no insight as to the workings of her peculiar logic.
And as Cassis always said, I was the favorite."
This is the story of Framboise who returns to the village where she grew up after leaving a long time ago. She is extremely concerned that the villagers will figure out who she is, creating mystery and intrigue as the narrative alternates between the past and present. Through her memories, we meet Framboise as a child and experience the summer the Germans were in town. In the present we follow Framboise's attempt to decipher the hidden secrets in her mother's scrapbook.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the writing was fantastic. Most of the story is told from the point-of-view of a child and I was fascinated because there is a big difference between Framboise in the present and the past. Although we flashback to Framboise's childhood, this isn't a story about a nostalgic childhood summer. This is a deep tale with a splash of dark sensibilities. I loved the complex characters and I don't think you really understand them until the end. I was surprised to find and enjoy the references to different food and drink, but it is weird that all the character's had a "fruity" name. The mystery is a big surprise all the way till the end.
Ultimately if you like a serious summer read, this is the book for you. I would definitely classify this book as literature that doesn't require you to think too hard.