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Publisher's Summary

After surviving the Dunkirk retreat, Laurie Odell, a young homosexual, critically examines his unorthodox lifestyle and personal relationships, as he falls in love with a young conscientious objector and becomes involved with a circle of world-weary gay men.
©1955 Mary Renault (P)2014 Audible Studios
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Christopher on 02-05-16

A Gay Classic!

The story is timeless in it's depiction of coming out and finding your own niche. Set in WWII the story of Laurie, a young man out of the army, wounded and coming to terms with his new physical body impairment as well as his sexuality. He breezes from the hospital to a party where he finds another group of like-minded men who round up the characters to be in Laurie's life. I found it interesting that different "types" of men still exist in gay society today. I really enjoyed the narrator who handled each voice well; never too over the top. This novel is a great representation of first loves and lasting loves. Highly recommend this book to young and old gay men of today for a bit of history on how it was like for us back in an earlier time and how some feelings stay the same when it comes to love.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Clinton Kippley on 04-03-15

A struggle at first. But then it pulls you in.

Amazingly well done. Psychologically comparable to Gone w/the Wind in many ways. Truly exceptional!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By ahumph292 on 03-10-17

Beautiful story, excellent narration

I loved this book. I found myself rewinding several passages to experience again the depth of feeling. It's a classic of gay literature.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mrs. Terrie Rintoul on 09-12-16

A complex and poignant love story far ahead of its time

Wonderful to see Mary Renault's marvellous work now available on Audible. I hope that it will open it up to a wider audience.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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4 out of 5 stars
By Kenneth on 10-09-16

Almost.....

With such a well-written story as this, full of insight, of compassion, of understanding and of critical observation, it come hard to have reservations. But I do. First of all, that unnecessary over-didactic first chapter explaining that this is in some way, a novel with a Cause. The novel stands by itself, in its own right, and perhaps those who support "the Cause" should read it again and take note of its pertinent observations.

Secondly, the narration leaves much to be desired. As a narrator, the reader does well, but the register of the voices that he uses to depict the main characters – especially those of Laurie and of Ralph, and to a degree, of Andrew – ultimately irritate because of the curious strained tone that is apparent in all of them.

However, at the end, it remains a Mary Renaud novel: elegantly written, astutely observed and insightfully critical - surely a significant novel of the 20th century.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Hayden Macpherson on 03-20-18

Awful. Just awful.

An unforgivable mangling of a truly remarkable work. Agree with the reviewer below- the bit at the beginning, a completely inappropriate co-option of Renault's work to fit a contemporary 'Gay Rights' narrative, is insufferable and unnecessary, and contradicts completely the core messages of the book (I can only imagine they were too subtle for the writer of the foreword). The Charioteer is first and foremost a good novel, not even so much a Gay(!) novel, still less a didactic political screed.

The voices the narrator adopts for the different characters are stilted and overdone (not to mention badly done); bizarre, actually. They're like caricatures: the masculine voices are exaggeratedly deep and dense-sounding; the feminine (for which he adopts a falsetto), mean and shrill. It's excruciating to listen to. Laurie, Ralph and Andrew (who the narrator distinguishes by making him speak in a barely-audible whisper) deserve better. Mary Renault deserves better. Her peerless and singular style (of which the narrator has no discernible appreciation) deserves better. Renault's descriptions and especially dialogue perfectly and effortlessly evoke the period, but this narrator doesn't really seem to know how people in the first half of the 20th century talked. A more experienced reader would have been much better. My personal choice would be an older woman, perhaps a distinguished (theatre?) actress; someone literate enough to understand the beauty and power of what they are reading.

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