Gentlemen and Players: A Novel

Gentlemen and Players: A Novel

by Joanne Harris
4.0 32

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Overview

Gentlemen and Players: A Novel by Joanne Harris

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 more than thirty years. This year, however, the wind of unwelcome change is blowing, and Straitley is finally, reluctantly, contemplating retirement. As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike, beginning as small annoyances but soon escalating in both number and consequence. St. Oswald's is unraveling, and only Straitley stands in the way of its ruin. But he faces a formidable opponent with a bitter grudge and a master strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final, deadly move.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061839917
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 143,795
File size: 563 KB

About the Author

Joanne Harris is the author of seven previous novels—Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, Coastliners, Holy Fools, Sleep, Pale Sister, and Gentlemen & Players; a short story collection, Jigs & Reels; and two cookbook/memoirs, My French Kitchen and The French Market. Half French and half British, she lives in England.

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Gentlemen and Players 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
onion_girl More than 1 year ago
This is the third book written by Joanne Harris that I've read and I have to say it is my favorite. As soon as I finished I wanted to go back a do it all over again. I love the character of Roy Straitley and the setting of St. Oswalds. The plot is ever compelling with twists and turns, cunning and heart. I listened to the unabridged audiobook version of this book and if you can find it I highly recommend it. I'm an avid reader of books with my eyes and my ears. I love the freedom of being able to immerse myself in a story even while driving, grocery shopping or cleaning the house. What made the audiobook version of this novel stand out was the rich baritone of Steven Pacey delivering Ms. Harris' fluid and intelligent prose. This book shares the texture and community of Dead Poet's Society while being unique in it's plot and characters. Roy Straitley has some outstandingly snarky sotto voce lines in the story that gave me to giggling and lent the character a depth and warmth that made him approachable even for a female reader half his age. Read this book, listen to this book...whatever you do don't miss this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Audere. Agere. Auferre. ¿To dare, to strive, to conquer¿ is the motto of St. Oswald¿s School, setting of this brilliant two-person POV novel by the half-British, half-French author of Chocolat. In that motto lay not only the raison d¿être of the villain, but also a major identity clue. Almost nothing is what it seems in this beautifully written high-stakes tale of revenge. The revelations and reversals require careful reading. Manipulative? Yes. But then any author who names her characters as if they were in a morality play is openly inviting the reader to pay close attention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even if you figure out the "twist" before the end, you will enjoy this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had trouble putting this book down. The portrait of the stuffy old English boys' school in decline rolled around my head the way you let a fine wine swirl around your mouth, always sure you have missed a hint of some other flavor. Though I was able to figure out what was happening before the ending, I really enjoyed the ride and frequently was almost convinced I was wrong. Loved the book. One of her best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took a bit to get into this book but once I did it was difficult to put it down.
Stemline More than 1 year ago
As the jacket blurb says, there are enough plot twists to keep you almost permanently off balance, although the book is not truly a mystery. The depiction of an elite private school is interesting to those of us who have never attended one.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Joanne Harris won high praise her debut novel 'Chocolat' (1999), which was later made into a feature film. The books that followed, especially 'Five Quarters of the Orange' attracted more readers. . For me, she's one of those authors who just keeps getting better and better as time goes on. Proof? The compelling, suspenseful 'Gentlemen and Players.' Set at an exclusive school in England, St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys, we're introduced to two teachers, the venerable classics professor, Roy Straitley, and a younger teacher. After 30 years at St. Oswald's, a school he loves, Straitley is on the verge of retirement. There are too many changes in the wind - five new faculty members, the advent of computers, advanced technology he's ready to turn teaching over to younger hands. However, the peaceful, golden days of retirement begin to fade when the usual serenity of St. Oswald's is interrupted by a series of inconvenient incidents. Nothing to really become exercised about - a missing coffee cup, a straying pen. Would that were all. The story turns darker when we learn that the new teacher has come to St. Oswald's with one goal in mind - to destroy the school by whatever means necessary. He harbors an old grudge against the school and means to be revenged. Harris's mixture of academia with all its conventions and the duel for the future of St. Oswald's between Straitley and a psychotic master strategist result in a riveting story. There could not be a better actor to serve as reader than British thespian Steven Pacey. He easily inhabits the personas of the older Straitley and the younger man bent on destruction as the story unfolds in alternate narrative voices. Pacey achieves nuances of the patrician with Straitley, and dark obsession with the teacher intent on vengeance. Hard to find a more enjoyable or compelling listening experience! - Gail Cooke
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webmaven More than 1 year ago
very evocative of the period. surprising plot twists. interesting characters
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love stories of England past, as I do, then this is for you. Good character development so I THOUGHT I could picture the characters and hear their voices, except for the KILLER! Totally fooled. Fun book with great ending.
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nprfan1 More than 1 year ago
To paraphrase an old saying, if you choose to pick up this book you will never know who the players are without a scorecard.

Well, on one side, anyway. The name of the player on the other side is quite clear - Roy Straitley, master of classics and Latin at St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys for over thirty years, and apparently the self-appointed defender of the school and its way of life when several unexplained incidents occur in the latest term. They range from the minor - the theft of an expensive Mont Blanc pen and a coffee mug - to the major - the dismissal or near-dismissal of several teachers at the school due to scandals which have no basis in fact, but are believed by the locals, the press, and the news media due to various idiosyncracies among the staff.

These idiosyncracies are used by the player on the other side - the child of a school porter of fifteen years ago - to carry out a plot to destroy the school from within, a plot generated because of perceived wrongs done to that child when growing up.

To say any more would spoil the surprises you'll find if you read the book, but be warned that Joanne Harris throws out a lot of red herrings throughout this story and you won't really be sure who Straitley's opponent is until Harris literally throws it in your face.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago