The Vintner's Luck Paperback – 5 Aug 2000
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|Paperback, 5 Aug 2000||
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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.
"Original, often astonishingly vivid...Xas is one of the best angels since William Blake's."--Nina Auerbach, "The New York Times Book Review"
"Daringly exploring the spiritual worth of sesnual pleasure, New Zealand writer Knox's imaginative, imagistic tale soars."--"Entertainment Weekly"
"Rich prose and an original plot...a delightful, thought-provoking read."--Robin Vidimos, "The Denver Post"
"Strangely compelling...multilayered and challanging...[The Vintner's Luck] is not your typical angel story."--David Tedhams, "The Washington Post Book World"
"Elizabeth Knox spreads her odd and original gossamer over many things....[Her] imagination resembles one of those Burgundy slopes, mysteriously sunned and fed, that produces a vintage unlike any other."--Richard Eder, "Los Angeles Times Book Review"
Original, often astonishingly vivid...Xas is one of the best angels since William Blake's. "Nina Auerbach, The New York Times Book Review"
Daringly exploring the spiritual worth of sesnual pleasure, New Zealand writer Knox's imaginative, imagistic tale soars. "Entertainment Weekly"
Rich prose and an original plot...a delightful, thought-provoking read. "Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post"
Strangely compelling...multilayered and challanging...[The Vintner's Luck] is not your typical angel story. "David Tedhams, The Washington Post Book World"
Elizabeth Knox spreads her odd and original gossamer over many things....[Her] imagination resembles one of those Burgundy slopes, mysteriously sunned and fed, that produces a vintage unlike any other. "Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review""See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Okay, okay, that's a fairly bold statement to make. But, The Vintner's Luck being as criminally unknown as it is, only readily available in its nation of origin (New Zealand), I feel I have to make a case for its beauty and sheer energy that kept me turning the pages.
Well, maybe not turning the pages as quickly as I could. I would read ten to twenty pages at a time and need some time to gather my feelings and think carefully upon what I had just read. If that makes any sense.
Now, some of you may be going: "Vanessa, how on Earth could you call this novel 'criminally unknown'? A film starring Gaspard Ulliel, the handsome Frenchman from Hannibal Rising, and Keisha Castle-Hughes from Whale Rider (and its same director) was released in 2009!" Well, the film was critically panned by everybody who saw its first screening at a Toronto film festival, and the author herself said the film missed the point of her novel so badly it made her cry. Certainly not an accolade to be proud of, in any case.
Read the book. It is probably a lot better than the movie - which I haven't gotten around to seeing yet.
The book covers so many more themes, and it really made me think on a spiritual level from time to time. I really loved how whenever Xas (the angel in the story) is around, the writing takes on a hushed, religious tone. Elizabeth Knox is also one of these rare authors who can seriously deliver literary punches to the gut. Characters die at the tip of a hat. Alliances are broken. Secrets are revealed. Each and every time this happened, I felt so horribly shaken up. Also, this is the first book I've read where I nearly let out a wail of pain in my workplace while reading a particular part of the story.Read more ›
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.
I am really loathe to even mention this book in the same sentence as One Day, let alone compare the two as though they were equals but the basic premise is the same.
When he is 18, Sobran Jodeau gets drunk, and stumbles across an angel, from there Sobran and the angel Xas meet each year on one day, the 27th of June for many years.
When I initially attempted to read this book, carting it from motel to motel, I found it odd, and couldn't get into it. Though its chronological, the jump from June to June made it feel disjointed as though a natural progression was missing. However, I decided that in my ebook addiction I had left paperbacks I had bought unloved and unfinished and decided I should finish them before getting any more electronic books.
I'm glad I did, the initial oddness i felt faded the more I read it, and I came to feel passionately that this was a book of beauty, a gem with a lyrical, magical quality to it. It's uniqueness and originality in every respect seems to make it defy normal descriptions. The juxtaposition of the human and the divine, the elements that seem to be inspired by Paradise Lost. The warm believable love, the dark secrets and mysteries, the allusions to insanity and even to evil, make this book although couched in the reality of wine production seem like a fairytale for adults, and an extraordinary one that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was given a copy of this book by a friend in New Zealand. I fell in love with it from the first paragraph. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Crackdown
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 2 months ago by Sadie Forsythe
This edition consisted of 239 pages. I see no good reason why the publisher chose to use such a small size of type. Read morePublished on 1 May 2014 by Peter
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 on 31 Mar. 2014 by Kyle Jackson Jakobsen
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 morePublished on 3 July 2013 by Ameya
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 morePublished on 23 Nov. 2012 by Bob
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 morePublished on 7 Feb. 2011 by Rosamund
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 morePublished on 31 Aug. 2010 by William Jordan