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The Vintner's Luck Paperback – August 5, 2000
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The year is 1808, the place Burgundy, France. Among the lush vines of his family's vineyard, Jodeau, 18 years old and frustrated in love, is about to come face to face with a celestial being. But this is no sentimental "Touched by an Angel" seraph; as imagined by Elizabeth Knox in her wildly evocative and original novel, Xas is equipped with a glorious pair of wings ("pure sinew and bone under a cushion of feathers") and an appetite for earthly pleasures--wine, books, gardening, conversation, and, eventually, carnal love.
The fateful meeting between man and angel occurs on June 27. After an evening during which Sobran spills all his troubles and Xas gently advises him, the angel promises to return on the same night next year to toast Sobran's marriage. Thus begins a friendship that will last for 55 years, spanning marriages, wars, births, deaths, and even the vast distances between heaven, earth, and hell. In addition to the wonderfully flawed Sobran and his mysterious angel, Knox brilliantly limns secondary characters who are deeply sympathetic--from Sobran's unstable wife, Celeste, and his troubled brother, Leon, to his dear friend and confidante, the Baroness Aurora. Love, murder, madness, and a singular theology that would make a believer out of the most hardened atheist all add up, in The Vintner's Luck, to a novel that will break your heart yet leave you wishing for more. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The reason to read this highly engaging, luminous novel is the angel; Xas is one of the best characters I have come across. A beautiful, distant, earthy, gentle, erotic, subtle angel, touched by God and Lucifer both, he is well worth all the trying, annoying, bland, and confusing parts that pepper the story.
Right behind him is Aurora, a wonderfully written character, so much more strong, gentle, wise, and clever than Sobran (if you don't believe me, just ask Lucifer!). She's another fabulous new literary character, a perfect complement to Sobran and Xas.
Like all truly great novels, this one at times is trying, and other times slow, and other times almost self-indulgent, but all of these supposed "inadequacies" actually make the story more real, more strong, more original, more memorable. All the classic novels have their fair share of irritating or confusing parts; it's almost a calling card of sorts.
Altogether, the book is wonderful, with highly original ideas, plots, and characters, with twists on every cliche and philospophy of God and religion and angels. Read it!!!
So, what is the author trying to say? Is she saying that only God can be perfect, and therefore He tolerates no attempt by any lesser being to achieve perfection? If that's so, then is God purposely inciting chaos in order to keep humans from attaining symmetry? And finally, is she saying that for humans to strive to attain what is the province of the divine is pointless because God will never give up that feature that defines Him?
As always, there is a danger of reading too much into a book. But, the fact that this book can spark such introspection and debate makes it stand out among the countless other collections of words filling the bookstores. Even if these qualities are not appealing, The Vintner's Luck offers many other charms. The characters are solidly written and the dialogue is superb. It is our luck that The Vintner's Luck has come along. It makes us realize that literature of this caliber still has a place on all of our bookshelves.
This book has some of the best writing I have read in a long time. Elizabeth Knox explores themes such as love, desire, loss, sorrow and madness in a way that still has me thinking about the characters days after I've finished. It is full of the kinds of sentences that make me stop and think, and become favourite quotes (I particularly loved 'Despair is gravity'). All of the characters are written with explanations of their inner worlds and motivations, so that I couldn't help but feel compassion and tenderness for them, even when their behaviour includes infidelity and murder. I found most of this story had me feeling both joy and heartbreak simultaneiously as the characters experience the consequences of their choices, and the impact of other people's choices on themselves.
So why only 3 stars? Firstly, the format is set out as short sections covering each yearly visit. For me, this made it very difficult to get into the flow of the book, it felt disjointed with a slow pace. However, this did improve in the last third of the book where the sections become larger and cover more events.
Secondly, I very nearly gave up on this book. It is clear from the outset this is a character driven story, but the characters are not developed until the second third of the book. Once they are developed it makes plodding through the first third worthwhile. If you are thinking about giving up, I encourage you to keep going, it gets better!
And lastly, they say good writing 'shows' not 'tells'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have a confession to make. I have a secret soft spot for trashy novels. You know the sort—shallow, not particularly thought provoking, usually cheesy enough to make me... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sadie Forsythe
Knox is an exceptional story teller, and she created a small world unlike any I've read of before. I am looking for a hardcover edition of the sequel, "The Angel's Cut,"... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael
Good grief. This was beautiful & devastating.
Set against a backdrop of history that includes the Napoleonic wars and Burgundian wine country life in 19th century... Read more
This is one of the worst pieces of garbage I have picked up to read. The characters were shallow and underdeveloped and the plot negligible. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fantastic story. I just loved it. Something completely different.Published 5 months ago by Danielle
From page 1 I struggled with the convoluted phrasing. The characters are poorly developed as is the setting. There was no tension, no excitement, no reason to read on...Published 6 months ago by Sandra Gay
It is a very strange but beautifully told story. It has everything: mystery, the supernatural, romance, agriculture, class, France and much more.Published 10 months ago by Nerissa Brobbey