Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Gentlemen and Players

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Gentlemen and Players

A Novel

by Joanne Harris

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

The English School System
Established in medieval times, the original purpose of grammar schools was to educate select members of the young in the grammar of Latin and other useful topics.

In 1944 England established a tripartite education system which placed grammar schools at the top of the heap. Less gifted children (as defined by those who failed an entrance exam at the age of eleven) attended either secondary modern schools or technical schools. In the 1960s the Labour government tried to do away with the grammar school system by introducing comprehensive schools which taught all ability levels.

In response, some grammar schools moved to a fee paying system but retained their "grammar school" designation, and some managed to fly under the radar long enough to escape the Labour axe and survived into the Conservative Maggie Thatcher years; thus, in a few English counties, grammar schools still exist as an option within the state education system.

Some others (including Leeds Grammar School and the fictional St Oswald's) were never absorbed into the state school system and thus have been effectively private since their founding which, in the case of LGS was in 1552 when it was established to provide free, subsidized or fee-paying education, according to need.

Joanne Harris
was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire on July 3, 1964; her mother is French, her father English. She was educated at Wakefield Girls' High and Barnsley Sixth Form College, and then read Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Saint Catharine's College, Cambridge. After a number of heroic career failures (rock musician, herbalist, accountant) she succumbed to genetic pressure and became a French teacher for 12 years at Leeds Grammar School, and later taught French Literature at Sheffield University.

Her first novel, The Evil Seed, was published in 1989, although she strongly advises against reading it. Since then she has written Sleep, Pale Sister (1993); Chocolat (1999); Blackberry Wine (2000); Five Quarters of the Orange (2001), Coastliners (2002), Holy Fools (2003), Jigs and Reels (2004), Gentlemen and Players (2006), and a cookbook-memoir My French Kitchen (2002). Her books have been published in 40 countries and have won a number of British and international awards.

She was awarded an honorary D.Lit (Doctor of Letters) by the University of Huddersfield in 2003 and also by the University of Sheffield in 2004.

According to her website her hobbies include "mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system, although she also enjoys obfuscation, sleaze, rebellion, witchcraft, armed robbery, tea and biscuits. She is not above bribery and would not necessarily refuse an offer involving exotic travel, champagne or yellow diamonds from Graff. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16, is currently studying Old Norse and lives with her husband Kevin and her daughter Anouchka, about 15 miles from the place she was born."

Coming Soon: The Lollipop Shoes (which sees a return of Vianne and her sister from Chocolat), to be published in the UK in June 2007. USA publication date unannounced.

This article is from the February 7, 2007 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Radium Girls
    The Radium Girls
    by Kate Moore
    In 1915, Austrian-born Sabin von Sochocky developed a luminescent paint that used radium to create a...
  • Book Jacket: Long Black Veil
    Long Black Veil
    by Jennifer Finney Boylan
    "This was a long time ago, before my first death, and none of us now are the people we were then. ...
  • Book Jacket: Proving Ground
    Proving Ground
    by Peter Blauner
    More than a decade after winning the 1992 Best First Novel Edgar for Slow Motion Riot, Peter Blauner...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Weight of Ink
    by Rachel Kadish

    An intellectual, suspenseful, and entertaining page-turner.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.