Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox

This may not be particularly articulate, because I'm not quite sure how to convey how much I loved this book. But here goes.

The Vintner's Luck is set in the French countryside of the 19th century. At the height of summer one night, Sobran Jodeau meets an angel, Xas. They agree to meet on the same night every year.

At first, Sobran treats Xas like a spiritual adviser, but soon their relationship evolves into something else, and eventually, man and angel fall in love.

Xas comes and goes in Sobran's life as the latter raises a family and tends to his vines.

The Vintner's Luck is a rich book, with layers and textures and some absolutely gorgeous metaphors and similes. I'm still mulling over the very last line of the book (don't worry, I won't give it away here). Xas and Sobran both have their own lives to live, but the feelings they have for each other complicate both in very unexpected ways.

Xas is a beloved of both Heaven and Hell (the contract goes something like this: Lucifer shall have his pleasures and God shall have his pains) and Sobran is devastated when he finds out that, technically, Xas is a fallen angel.

However, like everything, Sobran and Xas find a way through, a way around and a way to be together.

I don't drink wine, so my metaphor is food-based: for me, The Vintner's Luck was like the best chocolate in the world: rich and textured, but you can't eat a lot of it at once. Very heady stuff.

I loved it. It's going on my list of Favourite Books I Have Read This Year.

Somewhere near the top.


Sarah Pekkanen said...

Hi there -- I just saw that you're a fan of Jennifer Weiner's, which is how I found your website. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind checking out mine at and consider getting on the mailing list? I'm a novelist who just signed a publishing contract with the same editor as Jennifer, so as a fellow fan, I'd love your feedback about my website and the first chapter, when I post it.

Joseph said...

The Vintner's Luck could very well be my favorite novel: an exqusitely written tale of love, sprituality, and sacrifice, bridging two marvelous genres, the historical novel and the fantasy novel. Did you that a film version starring Gaspard Ulliel as Xas and Jérémie Renier as Sobran, directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), will be released next year? It'll be a tricky novel to adapt to the screen, but I hope they can get as much of it right as possible.

Maree said...

I saw that, yes. I'm hoping for great things. It should be visually stunning, if nothing else. :)

Anonymous said...

I read this book years ago and I still think about! I'm going to have to read it again. Great review!