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
Publication Date: 7 November 2013