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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Chocolat
I'm totally fascinated. Blackberry Wine is yeat an other wonderful Joanne Harris-book. I love them. This time it is writer Jay Makintosh who has to make up with his past involving the betrayal of an old friend. Harris keeps writing about the same themes in book after book. But that's really nothing negative. It's great. There definitely is a great bit of nostalgia over...
Published on 21 Aug 2005 by Faith

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good sequel to Chocolat, but could have been better!
It felt a bit raw and undeveloped (as if the author was in a hurry to finish it before the Chocolat euphoria faded). Parts of the storyline were unconvincing (the connections/analogies between Marise and Joe, the improbable caricature of Kerry, the fact that every interesting female had red/chestnut hair and green eyes...). The interludes back to the past became a drudge...
Published on 7 Jan 2002 by Keith Lucas


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good sequel to Chocolat, but could have been better!, 7 Jan 2002
By 
Keith Lucas "luke_armstrong" (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Paperback)
It felt a bit raw and undeveloped (as if the author was in a hurry to finish it before the Chocolat euphoria faded). Parts of the storyline were unconvincing (the connections/analogies between Marise and Joe, the improbable caricature of Kerry, the fact that every interesting female had red/chestnut hair and green eyes...). The interludes back to the past became a drudge towards the end but, alas, when the pace did finally quicken, it felt hurried and the story seemed to draw to a close before it was ready.
Read it for the beauty of its descriptions and the lush word portraits that Joanne Harris is so capable of creating, not for the storyline.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!, 6 July 2006
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Paperback)
An absolute gem of a book! At least as good as "Chocolat", which is one of my all time favourites.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious is the hand which feeds us, 14 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Hardcover)
Jay Mackintosh is a frustrated writer. Living in London, he is constantly forced to go to literary parties, and to teach creative writing by his tiresome spin doctor girlfriend, Kerry, and all because of a prize winning novel that he wrote years ago. If left to himself, Jay is content to wallow in the past and to write pulp SF under the name of 'Jonathan Winesap' (a pseudonym derived from two species of American apple). But then Jay is inspired by a piece of junk mail...
This is Joanne Harris' follow-up novel to the fantastically successful Chocolat, soon to become an obligatory film starring Juliet Binoche. The theme of the pleasure of mastication is continued here, with homemade bottles of fruit wine replacing chocolate festivals. Not that the wine that Joseph Cox makes is all that sweet. But Jay still drinks Joseph's 'Specials', like he writes SF, not for the pleasure of the taste, but for the joy of its associated memories. For each sip takes Jay back twenty five years, to the summers of the mid-70s, reliving his first tumultuous meeting with retired miner Joseph Cox in a small place called Pog Hill. There is the where Jay will undergo his pubescent years, hiding toys, comics, and himself by the canal. There, separated from his divorcing mother and father, Jay and Joe form a bond which is almost stronger than that between father and son. Joseph Cox is an aged man who has travelled the world, but whose blood beats with the heart of a hippie, and who proves to be a magical companion to Jay, with his herbs and rare seeds, each with its own story to tell. Joe and Jay become master and apprentice in the mysterious art of 'layman's alchemy'. But maybe magic is not enough to save them both from their fates... Jay escapes his London life to live in an idyllic French countryside. But as he becomes embroiled in the machinations of this new community, has he truly learnt the lessons of the past?
Blackberry Wine is a beautiful novel. Like a couple of other works recently, such as 'Emotionally Weird' and 'White Teeth', the 1970s are very much present, allowing Harris and others to show the development or stasis of their characters, maybe reflecting a bit of soul-searching brought on by the millennium. This novel will appeal to anyone who remembers where they were when Elvis died, and the hot summer of '76. There is a danger in going back to the past in that you can misremember things. Certainly, it would have been impossible for Jay to buy a copy of The Eagle in 1975, since it folded in 1969. One of the memories of my childhood was the revivification of The Eagle in the early 1980s. But never mind the details (Michele Roberts has also criticized Harris' ignorance of the French inheritance laws), it's the magic that's strongest here. It does seem that, in this quite subversive novel, that Joanne Harris has subtly reverted to her SF past. The model of this novel seems to be that of The Hero's Journey, so beloved of Hollywood filmmakers like George Lucas, with her portrayal of the young boy and his mentor. Although Harris sensibly falls short of Joe exhorting Jay to "use the Force".
Harris employs the unusual device of having the novel narrated by a bottle of wine, Fleuric 1962 (the year of Jay's birth). To some people, this wine could seem to be deceptively sweet, drowned in a world of fantasy. But the more discerning palate can also revel in its astonishing bite. Joanne Harris has gone on the offensive here, spelling out the law, laying down boundaries, much as Jay and Joe try to, marking a line in the sand: thus far, and no further. Just as Jay struggles with his identity, so does Joanne, reacting against the success of her previous novel, reminding you of her varied past as an SF writer, defining herself against the definitions that the media has made of her. I don't think we'll get to see John Thaw play Joseph Cox quite yet. Drink this novel in. It will give you a feeling that is the equal and opposite reaction to that of a hangover - pure joy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tres Bien, 19 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Paperback)
What a wonderful book. Joanne Harris has written a story here which is delightful to read and softly carries you along with the characters. You'll feel sad, happy but very contented. The book successfully manages to conjur up a different place in your mind. I can't wait to read Chocolat, only problem may be the desire to eat chocolate as this book makes you want to drink wine !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent characters and story-line., 8 Jan 2002
By 
Lou (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Paperback)
The characters in this book were so real. It appealed to me since I am a similar age to one of the main characters, Jay not Joe! It is set in the mid - late 1970s. Also, much of the story is set in France (another bonus!) It is the first book I have ever read that a wine bottle begins the narration - intriguing! A brilliantly written book which had an excellent ending. Most recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't bear to put it down!, 2 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Paperback)
I wondered how Joanne was going to follow 'Chocolat' which I found absolutely captivating. 'Blackberry Wine' is another great book - I was there, deeply involved, I loved the mixture of magic and reality, and the fact that she takes you to look at the story from several different angles. I felt bereft on finishing it. Then I bought 'Five Quarters of the Orange'.....
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than "Chocolat", 4 Jan 2002
By 
Martin Cooper (Newport, Isle of Wight United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Paperback)
After reading "Chocolat", I approached "Blackberry Wine" with trepidation: could a second novel be as good? The answer is "even better". The device of interweaving events twenty-odd years apart works brilliantly, as does the mixture of plain narrative and imagination. This all keeps the reader's desire to work things out alive. The more I read, the more I had to keep reading.
(Another review complains about details of the journey to Lansquenet: how prosaic can you get?)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm.., 23 April 2000
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Hardcover)
There were parts of this book that I loved. The story is fantastic, with dozens of tributaries leading to the final conclusion. Loads of detail and little sub-plots leave you wondering what this book is really about, which is great. I just whish it didn't treat people like they needed all the answers. Maybe it's just the type of books which I am used to, but I like having a couple of lose ends. The whole thing about weather Jay, the main character, is going mad or not is left to your imagination for a little while. It would have been nice if it had stayed that way, instead of being needlessly pinned down. I loved the characters, but this gripe spoiled the end of the book for me, leaving a bitter taste at the back of my palate. Corked maybe?
wide
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A richly atmospheric tale, 18 Jan 2013
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Kindle Edition)
This must be one of my favourite Joanne Harris books. Or even one of my favourite books, ever.

It's several years since I read this richly atmospheric tale. It's extraordinary. Narrated in parts by a bottle of home brewed wine left to Jay, an old man trapped in the memories of his childhood, more enticing than the present and to which he longs to return.

Set in a derelict farmhouse, with hints of magic among the blackberries, the wine, the scent of overgrown herb gardens and secrets behind the closed shutters. The scent of summers forgotten and places long past. A story told through a glass, darkly. I loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Storytelling, 6 Mar 2011
This review is from: Blackberry Wine (Paperback)
I have read and re-read this book many times. Not for those who feel uncomfortable with whimsy or fantasy. But if your imagination allows you to run free; this is a book for you. From the initial characterisation,thru a wonderful evocation of small town France,interesting romantic development,exploration of loss, and great finale, this book entrances. There are some valid criticism's (what is JH's fascination with red hair?)but this is an all encompassing book. I have lost my copy and can write this review from memory, just about to buy a kindle edition.
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Blackberry Wine
Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris (Paperback - 1 April 2001)
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