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The Vintner's Luck [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Knox
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Nov 2008
A novel set in early 19th century Burgundy, telling the tale of a man, his vineyard and an angel with whom he falls in love. It is a love triangle involving a man, a woman and an immortal. The story unfolds against the grand background and horrors of the Napoleonic Wars and on into the middle of the century.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Victoria University Press; 10th Birthday Edition edition (11 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0864735774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0864735775
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,211,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Elizabeth Knox's fifth book, her first to be published in the UK, plays out its huge themes in a small Burgundian village at the time of Napoleon. A novel of forbidden love, wine and immortality, it yields up its secrets--beautiful, tragic and horrifying--one by one, so they're as unexpected as the angel Sobran Jodeau, the young vintner, encounters in his vineyard one night in 1808. Xas is breathtakingly beautiful, has huge expressive white wings, leather trousers and smells softly of snow. He is a keen gardener, and also profoundly curious about mortals, how they feel, how they live, how they make their choices. They talk, and Xas persuades Jodeau to meet him--same time, same place--every year.

Jodeau marries, fathers children, and continues--bar a couple of years when he's off fighting, whoring and trying to keep his best friend alive on the Russian front--to meet with Xas. Their friendship deepens. Jodeau's wine improves, and the joys and troubles of village life wash around him. But this strange relationship between man and angel is inherently unstable, and following the death of Jodeau's beloved younger daughter, it veers off in a direction neither had anticipated. And then Xas tells Jodeau something that drives the vintner almost beyond madness. --Lisa Gee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"This is a gorgeous novel: as fine, rich, satiny and unpredictable as the vintages that it describes" (The Times)

"Ms Knox's philosophical scheme defies brief summary: like a witty, post-modern Milton, she rewrites the Christian myth and the whole cosmology of "Paradise Lost"" (Economist)

"A beautifully written exploration of the inexplicable, into which is woven an all-too-human chronicle of burning desire, violence, murderousness, bitter jealousy, curiosity, sexual deviations, shame and a fidelity of a sort" (The Times)

"Knox comprehends the irredeemable sadness of loss and, more than any writer I have read for years, manages to touch the heart by paring sophistry and digression from the essential cores of her characters. Beautifully written, The Vintner's Luck possesses a complex bouquet of conceits and ideas but it is the simplicity of Elizabeth Knox's writing that in the end draws out the savour of human experience and compassion" (Independent on Sunday)

"Angelic writing and inspired structure" (Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal, compelling and brilliant 31 Jan 2001
...This is an extraordinary story that is rendered totally believable by the writer's beautiful lyrical style and skill. I've tried to describe this book to friends and was met with blank stares or raised eyebrows, in the end I just give them the book to read for themselves. The human characters are far from perfect, sometimes they are thoroughly dislikable, however it is the angel's own failings which provide the central humanity of this novel. I found myself sucked into the seductive prose, and emerged feeling as though I understood the darker side of all of us. I found myself wondering throughout how the author came up with these ideas; however, the results are so bewitching all I can do is shake my head in admiration. This book is about love, about desire, about our own failings and our perhaps unrealistic expectations of those around us. Read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique 1 July 1999
By A Customer
I read a lot of books, and this is the first book in ages which, once I had finished the final page, made me sit and think. The story is told in such a way you can picture events as they happen. The characters are portrayed in a way which makes you feel as though you know them. It makes you believe in something you may not have believed in before - God, angels, love. It might depress you. It may make you realise we're all mortal. It will be a book you read and remember, even if you don't necessarily enjoy it. And it is a book you will lend to all your friends because once you have read it you will want to discuss it. If you read one book this side of the millenium, let it be this one.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, fascinating, couldn't put it down. 10 Sep 2001
What a wonderfully thought provoking and imaginative story. I have sent this book to many of my friends as I was compelled to keep it alive by talking about the story and characters with other people who had read it.
The two main characters are wonderful and I felt their passion, anger and sadness as if I were there.
My imagination created the most wonderful scenes through the writing of Elizabeth Knox.
I recommend it without hesitation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Blowing and Amazing 29 Jan 2007
I never write these reviews though I'm forever in debt to the people who do; so when I read this book I felt I had to finally praise a book that was better and greater than the average. I never cry over books maybe apart from Hardy's Jude The Obscure ( I think some people will relate to that:)) but I cried and ached throughout this book.

People complain about the murders sub-plot but for me they added a "The Perfume" taste I liked. I loved Xas though the last part of the book didn't stir me as much - it felt disconnected to the rest somehow.

Nevertheless, it will make you question God, Heaven, Hell, Devil, what is Good and Evil, what is love and if love is now too trivial and only supernatural characters like angels have in them the fierceness to love and lost without fearing to fall forever. It is that beautiful. Read it knowing you'll be puzzling about it for months.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is Elizabeth Knox not more well known? 28 Dec 2002
Why is Elizabeth Knox not more well known? Why has this novel not been made into a movie? Why isn't Knox being showered with literary awards? It's a total mystery to me. The Vintner's Luck is an extraordinary book - a love triangle between a woman, a bisexual man and an angel, all set in early 19th-century France! The novel is constantly surprising and tremendously moving. The overall feeling that is conveyed is one of an aching sense of loss. How did Knox come to write such an amazing book? What in her own life has she distilled into these pages? It's not often that you want to know so much about an author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Elizabeth Knox must have surely met her own 'angel' to be able to write such an exquisite book. The narrative gently leads the reader through the life of a wine producer during the Napoleonic era, who met an angel and has agreed to meet with him at the same time, same place every year thereafter. Sometimes sad, sometimes brutal, sometimes happy but always enthralling. The Vintner is a book not to be missed and a book to be read, time and time again.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed response 8 Aug 2006
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
I loved the premise of this book - that the vintner has a life-long assignation with the angel Xas on the same night every year, but overall found the book uneven and a bit disappointing. The angel was fabulous and fascinating as was his relationship to Sobran and his own story, it was the rest of the book (which was the largest part) that didn't work for me.

While time became an irrelevancy in the relationship with Xas, it didn't work so well with the story of Sobran's human relationships in the village. I found the murder sub-plot unnecessary and increasingly found myself skipping the 'human' story and just concentrating on the angel storyline.

The writing is also a bit tentative, with some odd use of language that perhaps the author thought sounded poetic, which to me just came over as arbitrary and a bit precious.

So mixed reviews, but probably worth reading for the Xas story alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely beguiling 9 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This wonderful book tells the story of a generation of life on a Burgundian vineyard with an intriguing twist. Elisabeth Knox has created a fantastic, delicious, sparkling tale - reminiscent of the grand crus vintages, landscapes and characters evoked.
This is a wholly original and beautifully told story; the characters and events are so realistically and richly created. You'll put this book down and almost certainly find yourself thinking about the subject matter and what it suggests.
In short: one of the most wonderful, intelligent and beautifully written books I've come across in a long time. I give this book five stars without any misgivings whatsoever.
Just one question: why isn't this novel, as well as its author, more widely known? Both deserve to be.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This edition consisted of 239 pages. I see no good reason why the publisher chose to use such a small size of type. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
The book is very well written, and I simply cannot let go of it, once I start reading it. I would recommend this book.
Published 5 months ago by Kyle Jackson Jakobsen
3.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical premise
The Vintner's Luck has a lyrical premise about a love between a man, Sobran, and an angel, Xas, and about the gift of wine-making that the angel grants to the human. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ameya
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous.
I have but one word to describe this book: gorgeous.

Okay, okay, that's a fairly bold statement to make. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Vanessa F
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful...
Sex, angels, wine and the nature of love. Surely the perfect combination . . . A truly excellent book - well written with sumptuous language that is emotionally charged and a joy... Read more
Published 21 months ago by R. French
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly beautiful piece of writing
I found this book in a strange shop in Akaroa, New Zealand which sold everything from children's toys to fudge. Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by R. A. Davison
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare delight
Only very rarely am I lucky enough to read a novel and to enjoy it so completely that I am left delighted and drained, happy to be the presence of that prose and drained by the... Read more
Published on 7 Feb 2011 by Rosamund
4.0 out of 5 stars highly unusual
A 19th century vintner keeps up an annual meeting with a fallen angel. Having said that, it's hard to know what to write next - this won't be like anything else you've read. Read more
Published on 31 Aug 2010 by William Jordan
2.0 out of 5 stars A lack of warmth.
Recommended by a friend. I read the blurb, the premise was fascinating it seemed tailor made for me to love, so why didn't I love it? Read more
Published on 15 July 2009 by Book Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars So beautiful, it stays with you.
Such a unique book. The writing is wonderful, I got carried away by line after line of beautiful images. Read more
Published on 26 Jun 2009 by Franny
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