• The Charioteer

  • By: Mary Renault
  • Narrated by: Joe Jameson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (246 ratings)

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The Charioteer  By  cover art

The Charioteer

By: Mary Renault
Narrated by: Joe Jameson
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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

What listeners say about The Charioteer

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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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11 people found this helpful

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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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9 people found this helpful

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Heartrending History Lesson

This is basically the intellectual missing link between the modern gay identity and the it's the-old cultural heritage which is the subject of so much debate both within the gay community and in academia. It's also the sort of timeless, intimate human story that, in its universality, reflects parts of yourself that seldom see the light of day.. or maybe it was just super relevant to my own life in weirdly specific ways.. but either way, it's beautiful and deeply informative, in true Renault fashion.

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3 people found this helpful

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Amazing narration, refreshing novel

I don’t know how best to describe the appeal of this novel. But it was so interesting to hear this story, mostly centered on 3 main characters, during World War II. Despite the time period, there was a surprising number of observations about being gay that sounded very modern. The characters really come to life, especially with the help of the narrator who puts on a slightly different accent for each character, and their definite personalities come through.

In the end it really is their personalities that make the story, because well, not a lot happens. This is a book that examines all kinds of tiny nuances of and in between each character. Sometimes the details of their inner-workings feel a little overwhelming, especially as things become more tense in the second half. I ended it feeling I probably should read it again, knowing what I learned about these characters at the end. That being said, although it’s a bittersweet book, I’m glad I found it and I’m glad this narrator recorded it.

I found this book while looking for “classic” LGBT novels, and I would say it deserves the title of “classic.” I feel that the author really put thought and heart into the writing and the characters. I now would like to read some of her other books.

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This is a gay classic for a reason...

This is a gay classic for a reason. Like everything I have read from Mary Renault– simply exquisite writing. While the time in which this was written, 1953, prevents any real description of physical love I found this warm, highly intelligent, and perfect for an Anglophile like myself. I constantly found myself looking up some subject or other from the era in almost every chapter (Pink Gin, drippings, colloquialisms, fabric, military references, architecture, etc.). This opened wikipedia exploration into so many interesting things from the time that the book consumed much of my thought even when not reading. The restraint the author had to show exploring gay subject matter mixed with the language of the era, had me so enthralled that this aspect alone was reason enough to enjoy the book and really something to savor.

Understanding gay culture and mindset right after WWII was incredibly interesting and if you are an Anglophile, a history buff, or love an intimate internal portrait, you will find so much here that will spark your imagination and interest. Highly recommend this if you liked Renault’s other books like The Last of the Wine or The Persian Boy. Oh, and it’s not one of those old LBGTQ books where the characters are all miserable or end up dead. This is a great one.

AUDIOBOOK: A spectacular job by Joe Jameson, he added so much to the reading experience and character development. This is one of those books that you are glad you listened to and didn’t read as the voice acting added such an incredible amount texture and depth.

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Emotionally Sharp

This is one of those works that sneaks up to leave a reader almost shaken by it's humanity as the last words play out. The first half so thoroughly intertwines the reader in the routine of bruised souls, that as the story picks up velocity in it's closing chapters you become as emotionally wrenched as the characters. Great story and top notch narration!

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Great novel

Fascinating and Historically accurate story. Renault created an amazing and complex depiction of a young man’s search for truth.

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1 person found this helpful

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A work of art

Masterful writing and a sublime performance. It will take me a few days before I can start another book.

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Unparalleled

This author has written with devastating insight and tenderness about what it's like to be human, through the lens of extraordinary characters I cannot put out of my mind. I am stunned, and have nothing else to do but start the book over again. Joe Jamison narrates with exquisite compassion - I would listen to him read the telephone directory.

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Beautifully Poetic

It’s understandable why this is considered a classic by some. However, it’s written in a language from another era, and so beautifully poetic that it may be difficult to comprehend at times. Still, it’s immensely worth trying.

Joe Jameson’s narration is brilliant.

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