ISBN: 1840324996 Global Overview for this book
21 journalers for this copy...
Joanne Harris's first novel, Chocolat, was set in the sleepy French village of Lansquenet, where enchantment, romance, and soft-centered truths issued from the local confectioner's shop. She returns to the same location for Blackberry Wine. But as the title suggests, she's shifted her focus from food to drink, choosing a half-dozen bottles of homemade plonk as the catalyst for her "layman's alchemy." And even the narrator is no human being but a faintly tannic Fleurie 1962: "A pert, garrulous wine, cheery and little brash, with a pungent taste of blackcurrant!"
There are, of course, some less vinous characters in the novel. Harris's protagonist, Jay Mackintosh, is a former literary star, now sadly stalled. He spends his time writing second-rate science fiction, leading a hollow media life, and drinking: "Not to forget, but to remember, to open up the past and find himself there again." Yet the nice, expensive wines don't do the trick. Instead, six "Specials"--a gift from his old friend Joe--function as Jay's magical elixir. Like Proust's lime-blossom tisane, they give him the gift of his memories but also unlock his future, which encourages him to flee the rut of his London life and buy a house in Lansquenet.
As Jay settles in, he contemplates his childhood friendship with Joe, whose idiosyncratic outlook was the inspiration for his only successful book. Meanwhile, he becomes involved in village life, encountering some familiar faces from Chocolat. Caro and Toinette, the snooty troublemakers, soon put in an appearance, and Josephine, the bar owner and battered wife of the earlier novel, becomes a real friend. But it's a new character, the enigmatic Marise, who becomes the focus of Jay's attention--and who helps to restore his literary joie de vivre. This feat of resurrection makes for a hugely enjoyable read. It also goes one step further in adding Lansquenet to the map of imaginary destinations, where daydreams can come true with intoxicating frequency. --Eithne Farry --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Like her well-received 1999 novel, Chocolat, Harris's latest outing unfolds around the arrival of an outsider in a tiny French town. This time wine replaces chocolate as Harris's magic elixir, and the newcomer to the village of Lansquenet sur Tannes is Jay Mackintosh, a 37-year-old has-been writer from London. Fourteen years have passed since Jay's debut novel, Jackapple Joe, won the Prix Goncourt. Since then, he has been churning out B-novels under a pseudonym; he currently lives with his girlfriend, Kerry, an aggressively successful 25-year-old celebrity journalist. Flashbacks reveal that Jay's only recollections of happiness are the golden summers he spent as a youth with old Joseph "Jackapple Joe" Cox in the small English town of Kirby Monckton. Joe, a colorful character who made wines from fruits and berries, inspired Joe's successful first novel. But one day he disappeared. When Jay stumbles across an advertisement for an 18th-century "chateau" in wine-growing country, the spell of his misery is broken. After downing a bottle of Joe's '75 Special, which he has been hoarding for 24 years, Jay decides to buy the house sight unseen. Leaving Kerry in London, Jay moves to Lansquenet and starts a new rural life, beginning to write under his own name again. He is bewildered by his reclusive neighbor, Marise d'Api, who apparently coveted his derelict house and land, and is ostracized by the townspeople. Jay's quest to discover why everyone, including Marise's former mother-in-law, blames Marise for her husband's suicide keeps the plot moving at a steady clip. Despite some unbelievable twists and a slightly uneven paceAit begins slowly, but by the last quarter races aheadAthis is an entertaining narrative, equal parts whimsy and drama. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
2. bluecat07 (Oberursel, GER)
3. Marianne013 (Ettlingen, GER)
4. belly-dancer (Braunschweig, GER)
5. solnechny (Selters, GER)
6. akkolady (Duisburg, GER)
7. pauline61 (Kroppach, GER)
8. boagat (Blankenrath, GER)
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10. morgenrot (Straubenhardt, GER)
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12. ink-heart (Braunschweig, GER)
13. Feodora (Braunschweig, GER)
14. Primel (Unterschleißheim, GER)
15. Lesenmachtfroh (Nürnberg, GER)
16. DieHenkerin (Hohenhameln, GER)
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19. calisson> (Heidelberg, GER)
The story flips back and forth in time between the 70's and the present day, and I needed a while to get through what happened in the 70s (still I think I didn't get all of it, but I don't mind as I surely will listen to it several times more).
Unhappy and angry, Jay stayed in Kirby Monckton with stiff grandparents in the wake of his parents' divorce. He met Jackapple Joe, who lived in Pog Hill Lane (not "Pork Hill", as I always had thought ;-)) by the railway, an old canal and a dump. Joe was a gardener who made magic with fruit and herbs. He made wine from jackapple potatoes, seeded from South America. His other Specials included raspberry, elderflower, blackberry, rosehip and damson wines, which bottled a 'hive of secrets'. Joe shared his dream of a 'Bordo chatto' with his young friend, sowing the seeds of Jay's relocation to France. When opening a bottle of Blackberry Wine, memories of that time overcome Jay and make him purchases a Chateau in France on impulse, in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. In his new home Jay sees apparitions of his old friend, who speak to him as Joe used to do, with casual advice on gardening and on life.
Of course we have a gentle love-story, which develops between Jay and his new neighbour Marise, a mysterious young woman, isolated from the village and the target of vicious gossip. Jay slowly sifts truth from the tales that he hears and gets to know the villagers and, more slowly, Marise and her daughter Rosa.
Again, as in Chocolat, "every single person makes the difference" in Lansquenet, and Jay not only comes to terms with his own past and current life but also upgrades Marise's Situation.
I really appreciated this audiobook!
Update 23. August 2007
While surfing through the www, I found the recipe of a
BLACKBERRY WINE CAKE
submitted by Iris
"An easy cake to make. Cake mix is combined with blackberry wine and blackberry flavored gelatin, then baked in a Bundt pan."
Original recipe yield:
1 - 10 inch Bundt pan
PREP TIME 10 Min
COOK TIME 40 Min
READY IN 55 Min
* 511 g white cake mix
* 1 (3 ounce) package blackberry flavored gelatin
* 4 eggs
* 120 ml vegetable oil
* 235 ml blackberry wine
* 190 g confectioners' sugar
* 120 ml blackberry wine
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and gelatin mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, oil and blackberry wine. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Pour 1/2 of blackberry wine glaze over top of cake while still warm. Let set for 10 minutes then remove cake from pan. Allow cake to cool fully before pouring the remaining glaze on top.
4. To make the Glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar and 1/2 cup blackberry wine.
(found at allrecipes.com, quite a nice page)
Ich hatte mich mit dem Hören diesmal schwer getan. 21.9.
Geht morgen per Post zu bluecat07.
(Edit sagt so ist es besser.)
Ich habe sie erstmal auf meinen Rechner gezogen und werde hier meinen Kommentar abgeben, wenn ich dieses gehört habe.
Vielen Dank für den Ring, Schneefee! Ich höre immer gerne etwas Englisches.
Unfortunately at the moment I'm not in the mood to listen to it at the moment, but I'll do so later.
I will send it to the next and give my comment later.
Zwischenmeldung 30.4.: Ich höre!
As I already posted in the journal entries for 'Chocolat' and 'Oranges...', I've read those two a little while ago and liked both.
It seems to me 'Blackberry Wine' is not as deep as 'Chocolat', but then the characters are again very well built and likable.
As always I found it hard to listen to the pronounciation of French words by the English speaker (I had to look up some names of places ;-), but the overall impression was good.
In the beginning I got the 70s and 90s mixed up, because I listened to the CD while driving to/from work.
Thanks for sharing the CDs with us, Schneefee! I already pmed morgenrot for an address...
For once, I am sending the audiobook on without a comment. - I am going on a holiday tomorrow and just didn't want to stall the ring any longer. I'll edit my first journal entry soon after I'm back. The Harris-Box is sent to Feodora tomorrow morning. Enjoy!
I'm looking forward to it. What a pity that there are so few comments so far.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Geht an Henkerin weiter. Enjoy! My be with a glass of wine?
Vielen lieben Dank für den Ring und fürs Schicken!
Sobald die nächste Adresse da ist, reist die Joanne Harris-Box weiter.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
...on its way...
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
geht mit zum Treffen
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Reisen wieder nach Hause zu Schneefee, danke fürs teilen!