The Charioteer Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Charioteer

The Charioteer centers around Laurie ODell, a young Dunkirk veteran stationed in a military hospital. Laurie is a homosexual. While undergoing physical therapy for his shattered knee, Laurie falls in love with a young conscientious objector named Andrew Raynes. This love is complicated when an old school mate once again enters Laurie's life. Ralph Lanyon is also homosexual and has deep feelings for Laurie, but Laurie feels that he must remain loyal to Andrew, even though their relationship is built on friendship rather than sex. Laurie remains torn between his romantic feelings for Andrew and his stronger desires for Ralph. Laurie must hide his true nature from his fellow soldiers and his mother while trying to find balance and love in his life. Ralph reveals his true feelings for Laurie, which forces Laurie to face up to the fact that he is romantically in love with Andrew and physically attracted to Ralph.
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Shortly after Laurie and Ralph spend the night together, Laurie runs afoul of Bunny, Ralph Lanyon's former lover, who knows of Laurie's romantic interest in Andrew Raynes. Bunny posses as Ralph and suggests that he and Laurie are having an affair. This upsets Andrew and he applies for a new post. When Laurie finds out what "Ralph" did, he immediately reacts by severing all ties with Ralph. He goes AWOL and searches for Andrew in London. When he finds his friend, something inside Laurie changes and he realizes that he loves Andrew and that Andrew loves him, but it is a different kind of love than what he'd wanted or anticipated.
The review of this Book prepared by L.D. Stafford

Laurie, in hospital after being evacuated from Dunkirk, meets and falls in love with Andrew, a young conscientious objector working there as a cleaner. He also encounters Ralph, a hero from his schooldays expelled for a sexual relationship with another boy, who in turn falls in love with him. Andrew is a sexual innocent, Ralph an active member of the homosexual underworld. The bulk of the book is concerned with Laurie's attempts to choose between them.
The review of this Book prepared by Will Hale

Laurie Odell has just been invalided out of World War II, and has been sent to a military hospital in the UK to recover. There he deals with his increasing attraction both for a CO serving his time at the hospital and a former schoolmater of his. This novel is a surprising departure for Renault, in that it is set in this century, but the book is well done. One of the very earliest books in which the characters don't all have to die at the end.
The review of this Book prepared by Ivy

Chapter Analysis of The Charioteer

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of sex:    -   two guys doing it Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Taboo sex story?    -   Yes Unmarried Love Triangle?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Age:    -   20's-30's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   two guys doing it Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Mary Renault Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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