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Different Class (2017)

por Joanne Harris

Séries: St. Oswald's (2)

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3631869,449 (3.68)23
"From the New York Times bestselling author of Chocolat comes a dark, suspenseful tale in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith about a sociopathic young outcast at an antiquated prep school and the curmudgeonly Latin teacher who uncovers his dangerous secret. After thirty years at St. Oswald's Grammar in North Yorkshire, England, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go. Each class has its own clowns, rebels, and underdogs--all who hold a special place in the old teacher's heart. But every so often there's a boy who doesn't quite fit the mold. A troublemaker. A boy with darkness inside. With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new headmaster arrives at the venerable school, bringing with him new technology, sharp suits, and even girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist these steps toward the future, a shadow from his past begins to stir again. A boy who still haunts Straitley's dreams twenty years later. A boy capable of terrible things"--… (mais)
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I have always loved stories set in schools, and this is one of the finest in the genre. Joanne Harris first introduced us to St Oswald’s, a minor public school located in the fictional Yorkshire town of Malbry, ten years ago in Gentlemen and Players. That was a rattling good yarn, teeming with themes of revenge and bitterness played out against a backdrop of an ancient school that a new management team is striving to modernise.

Different Class picks up where Gentlemen and Players left off, at the start of the following school year. As with the earlier book, the story is told in alternating narratives, one delivered by Roy Straitley, curmudgeonly Classics teacher now with one hundred terms of teaching at the school under his belt, while the other comes from one of his former pupils, recounting events from the early 1980s.

After the events of the previous book a ‘Crisis Team’ has been installed in the school to help the newly-appointed headmaster, John Harrington, himself an old boy of the school whom Straitley vaguely remembers. Harrington’s time as a pupil had coincided with a difficult spell for the school (indeed, the school seems to have lurched from one challenging period to another), and his return as headmaster seems set to herald a period of relentless modernisation. This frightens Straitley who is a great advocate of traditional methods.

It has been clear from all of her previous novels that Joanne Harris is masterful at telling a story, and the two entwined narratives in this book complement each other beautifully. She also has a conjuror’s gift for misdirection. She suckered me completely in Gentlemen and Players, and even though I was expecting something of the sort she did so again here.

This is clearly a book I will be reading, and enjoying, again before very long. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Sep 1, 2021 |
3.5 stars ( )
  snakes6 | Aug 25, 2020 |
At one point in this novel, a character comments that nothing ever happens in Malbry. I can only assume they were being ironic, or haven’t been paying attention, because this Yorkshire village has recently played host to intrigue, murders, scams and full-on psychopathy. We return to the world of Gentlemen & Players and blueeyedboy for a third time, slipping back within the walls of St Oswald’s School and back into the company of the tweedy Latin master Roy Straitley. It’s the year after the events in Gentlemen & Players and the school is still struggling to recover, with a new Head taking over the reins in an attempt to bring the school into the modern era and to brush off unpleasant associations. Many of the new initiatives are anathema to Straitley, but it isn’t just the corporate-speak of the modern education system that makes him feel threatened. For Straitley recognises the new Head – a man who was a boy at St Oswald’s thirty years ago, at another time of scandal and misfortune – and senses that all is not well. It clearly isn’t accidental that Johnny Harrington is back; but what’s his plan?

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2019/12/01/different-class-joanne-harris/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Jan 7, 2020 |
Gave up. Didn't like the characters or construction. Nothing happens. ( )
  thewriterswife | Mar 26, 2018 |
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"From the New York Times bestselling author of Chocolat comes a dark, suspenseful tale in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith about a sociopathic young outcast at an antiquated prep school and the curmudgeonly Latin teacher who uncovers his dangerous secret. After thirty years at St. Oswald's Grammar in North Yorkshire, England, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go. Each class has its own clowns, rebels, and underdogs--all who hold a special place in the old teacher's heart. But every so often there's a boy who doesn't quite fit the mold. A troublemaker. A boy with darkness inside. With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new headmaster arrives at the venerable school, bringing with him new technology, sharp suits, and even girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist these steps toward the future, a shadow from his past begins to stir again. A boy who still haunts Straitley's dreams twenty years later. A boy capable of terrible things"--

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