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The Charioteer by Mary Renault

The Charioteer by Mary Renault


First published in 1953, The Charioteer is a tender, intelligent coming-of-age novel and a bold, unapologetic portrayal of homosexuality that stands with Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room as a landmark work in gay literature.

Injured at Dunkirk, Laurie Odell, a young corporal, is recovering at a rural veterans’ hospital. There he meets Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly, and the men find solace in their covert friendship. Then Ralph Lanyon appears, a mentor from Laurie’s schooldays. Through him, Laurie is drawn into a tight-knit circle of gay men for whom liaisons are fleeting and he is forced to choose between the ideals of a perfect friendship and the pleasures of experience. Includes an introduction written by Simon Russell Beale. 




‘The Charioteer remains compelling both as a snapshot of a particular – and particularly fascinating – cultural moment, and as a deeply romantic story of love fulfilled against the odds. It has all those qualities that make Mary Renault so memorable as a novelist: craft, subtlety, intelligence, and a terrific natural sympathy with the intricacies of honour and desire.’ - Sarah Waters 

‘An explosive and courageous book.’ - Simon Russell Beale 


‘Emotionally intelligent, beautifully written and deeply moving, it transcends categorisations.’ - Telegraph



'Emotionally intelligent, beautifully written and deeply moving, it transcends categorisations.' - Peter Parker, Daily Telegraph


'A stunningly good book.' - Antonia Senior, The Times


'A tender coming-of-age love story from one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.' - Daily Express

  • Details

    Imprint: Virago

    Publication Date: 7 November 2013

    ISBN: 9781844089505

    Pages: 420

    Format: Paperback

Notice to European Customers

All European Customers: You may be required to pay a local import tax on or before delivery for parcels entering the EU. Please check your local import rules for purchases from the UK.


Germany and Republic of Ireland: Due to a high return rate of parcels, we are sadly no longer shipping to Germany and the Republic of Ireland. 

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