Tuesday, April 05, 2011
THE VINTNER'S LUCK
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
The first time I read, The Vintner's Luck I immediately read it again. This book so moved me and touched me that I had to go back and revisit it again and again. I think I've read it five times. It's the kind of book I wish I had written. The movie is out, but not available in the states yet. It stars the incredibly sexy and talented Gaspard Ulliel as the fallen angel, Xas. He was in the prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Rising. Not his best work unfortunately. He was also in Paris, Je'taime, A Very Long Engagement and one of my favorites, The Brotherhood of the Wolf. The vintner is played by Jeremie Renier who was also in Brotherhood and En Bruges. Here's a link to the trailer.