Elizabeth Knox really has a gift for writing. She really does. As I already noted in my review
for her YA novel Dreamhunter
, her writing style is beautiful and poetic, but not pretentious, and lends an otherworldly quality to the story that you are reading. Even in the most inelegant and even disturbing of moments that beautiful writing is there, contrasting with the nastiness ((Such as some of the sexual scenes, discussions of rape and murder etc.)) it is describing without so much as flinching or trying to hide it.
One big thing about The Vintner's Luck is the recurring use of wine, not just as an item and an important part of the main characters' lives, but also as a means of titling chapters (each year is given a title to do with wine, from various types of the drink to different bits of terminology regarding the making of it), and the taste of it as a means of description. In a lot of ways the evocative writing of The Vintner's Luck
reminds me of Perfume
by Patrick Süskind - only instead of being able to smell everything, with The Vintner's Luck
you can practically taste
everything.The Vintner's Luck
is a very thought-provoking novel, especially - as you might imagine - due to its storyline of a man and an angel. The book revolves around Sobran's annual meetings with the angel Xas, giving us glimpses into Sobran's life (his marriage, the birth of his children, and the growth of his wine-making are three examples), while Xas gives us glimpses into Heaven, Hell and other aspects of the divine from his point of view. However there is no preaching, just simple facts and comments, and answers to questions asked by Sobran. And, of course, there is the relationship between the two characters and how it grows over their annual meetings, where they share a bottle of wine and talk about the past year.
Beautiful but sharp, and with parts most definitely worthy of getting a little teary-eyed, The Vintner's Luck
is a book I can't stop talking about. I am hoping that the movie
(starring Jeremie Renier as Sobran and Gaspard Ulliel as Xas) does the book justice. The same goes for the (much longer) sequel, The Angel's Cut
, which I got earlier in the week and have yet to read.