- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (March 2, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385600593
- ISBN-13: 978-0385600590
- Package Dimensions: 7 x 5.4 x 1.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 149 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,614,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blackberry Wine Hardcover – March 2, 2000
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About the Author
Joanne Harris is the author of the Whitbread-shortlisted Chocolat (made into a major film starring Juliette Binoche), Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, Coastliners, Holy Fools, Jigs & Reels, Sleep Pale Sister, Gentlemen & Players and, with Fran Warde, The French Kitchen- A Cookbook and The French Market- More Recipes from a French Kitchen. She lives in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, with her husband and daughter.
Top customer reviews
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Jay tries to revive himself by buying a farmhouse in France (he lives in London when the story starts) and starting a new book there. The book goes well, but Jay's life gets worse. He begins having hallucinations about people from the past showing up in his life in the present and welcomes these delusions as relief from his unsatisfying life. By the time I'd gotten this far in the book I was seriously wondering about Jay's mental state; I'd call him deeply delusional and suffering hallucinations and deep dissociation from the present. There's a little commentary on the process of being a writer and living in an imaginary world, but Jay's condition goes well beyond that. He abandons his girlfriend in London and starts chasing after a reclusive woman in France, who he eventually beds. She's communications challenged, like most people in this book, which is supposed to heighten the suspense but only comes off as an irritation.
The end of the book is unbelievable. The recluse harbors a dark secret which comes out of nowhere and derails the entire book, and Jay takes it all in stride and decides to become an accessory after the fact to a murder. Jay's London girlfriend finds him in France and decides to help him launch his new book to be a big success, but he decides that would change the local village too much, so he destroys the only copy of his book, depriving himself of a living. This guy is a LOSER, what do these women see in him?
This book is well written and enjoyable in places, but overall I seriously disliked the main character and the direction of the plot. If I had a single complaint it's that the book is very slow for the first two thirds and then throws too many curve balls in the last forty pages. I thought Joanne Harris had a grasp on her plotting and characters, it wasn't a matter of an author going out of control, it's that I just didn't *like* the characters or the plot. Without those there isn't much left to enjoy in a book!
There's no need for me to précis the theme of this novel, others have done so very accurately, but suffice it to say that once again the "layman's alchemy" where, in this case, bottles of a very special wine that has powers and take on the narrative, is at first a little confusing, but then finally the penny drops and I get it!
If I have a negative comment, it's only that I was a little over the excessive horticultural references...but that's just me.