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The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox
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The Vintner's Luck (original 1998; edition 2000)

by Elizabeth Knox

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7053213,430 (4.05)1 / 68
Member:stephxsu
Title:The Vintner's Luck
Authors:Elizabeth Knox
Info:Picador (2000), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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Tags:TBR, New Zealand lit

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The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox (1998)

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
I learned about this book from a reviewer I trust. They talk mostly about gay novels and this was in "books that ruined me" section.
At first this seemed like a really difficult read. In many parts this book offers no explanation and it's pretty hard to read. The reason for it is that it tries to write about only one night in year when an angel meets a mortal and in that night we try to catch up with all the characters. If you don't pay attention all the time (as me) it's quite easy to just forget who a character is and you just can't care as much as you should.
The story itself is amazing and really easy to love and adore - a mortal and an angel share a bond, they meet and talk and kiss. This is a strange world where angels can be seen by mortals but it also has a good historical background so you're always between reality and fantasy.
I must admit that I liked reading about this book much more that I liked this book. Some parts were amazing and I'm really not talking about the love story. The love story is what I had problems with and it's only because I expected something really different.
We are spoiled by all those stories where angles sacrifice everything for a human and they get (at least for a moment) a quite human love. This is also not that. Prepare to read about other relationships, murder, war, wine. This is much more than a love story. And the reason why someone won't like it is probably the same as mine - they expected something they've already read and this is not it. ( )
  anukrose | Nov 2, 2016 |
Stank!
  nancyread | Jul 7, 2016 |
Tiptree longlist 1999 ( )
  SChant | May 10, 2013 |
My flatmate recommended this to me with much high praise. And read my copy before I got my hands on it, and cried at it a lot. I have to confess, when I started reading it, I didn't really get into it. The story is about a man who agrees to meet an angel (or an angel who agrees to meet a man?) at the same time every year, for one night every year. The story focuses on these meetings, so what we get are glimpses into a life. It isn't just the meetings, but it focuses mostly on them, rather than the minutiae of daily life. As a consequence, it takes time to get to know the characters. I think it was that that kept me from getting too deeply into the story.

It actually reminds me of a line from the first page: He took a swig of the friand, tasted fruit and freshness, a flavour that turned briefly and looked back over its shoulder at the summer before last, but didn't pause even to shade its eyes. And then: Again he tasted the wine's quick backward look, its spice -- flirtation and not love.

Not only is that a lovely thought, and it tastes nice to synaesthetic little me, but it kind of describes how I felt about the book at first.

I didn't really know what to expect from the story. There's a little mystery in it, about some murders that happen in the area, and then there's the love story between the man and the angel. I found both of them compelling. There are also glimpses into heaven and hell, provided by Xas, the angel, and the intervention of Lucifer -- things that really point at a greater plot, I suppose, but we see it framed in the same way as Sobran, the human, does.

The writing is also nice. It probably wouldn't surprise you to know that this book tasted, as a whole, like wine, but it wasn't always the same kind of wine. I didn't read that much of the book aloud, actually, but it was still strongly synaesthetic for me. (I can't imagine books without synaesthesia. You'll have to pardon me always explaining books in synaesthetic terms: sometimes, there are no others.)

The love story is the part that really captured me, I have to say. It isn't easy, Xas holding back from it, and then Sobran becoming angry and not wanting to see Xas, and then Xas' disappearance... There's enough of it to catch hold of your heart, though, and when you're reaching the end of the book, it really, really begins to hurt.

I didn't actually cry, although it was a close thing: I was desperate to read the last twenty pages, so had to read them under my grandparents' eagle eyes, and that wasn't conducive to a full-on sob fest...

I really do love the last lines:

You fainted and I caught you. It was the first time I'd supported a human. You had such heavy bones. I put myself between you and gravity.
Impossible.
( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I really wanted to reread this before reading the sequel; I wasn't sure if it'd be as good as I remembered, though. Actually, I don't think a reread did it much good, but I'm sure it'll benefit me when I read the sequel -- I think I shielded myself from the emotional blows, this time, and skimmed over the surface. It was still a beautiful read, though reading it this way made me so much more curious about the background plot that's barely touched on -- Lucifer, and God, and Xas' resemblance to a certain person...

I wonder if any of this is elucidated in the sequel... ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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Could a stone escape from the laws of gravity? Impossible.
Impossible for evil to form an alliance with good.

Comte de Lautreamont
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A week after midsummer, when the festival fires were cold, and decent people were in bed an hour after sunset, not lying dry-mouthed in dark rooms at midday, a young man named Sobran Jodeau stole two of the freshly bottled wines to baptise the first real sorrow of his life.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312264100, Paperback)

"A week after midsummer, when the festival fires were cold, and decent people were in bed an hour after sunset, not lying dry-mouthed in dark rooms at midday, a young man named Sobran Jodeau stole two of the freshly bottled wines to baptize the first real sorrow of his life."

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:53 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Imaginative story of the lifelong love between a man and an angel. New Zealand author.

(summary from another edition)

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