Blackberry Wine
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Blackberry Wine

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Description

Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long-vanished friend seems to provide the key to an old mystery. As the unusual properties of the strange brew take effect, Jay escapes to a derelict farmhouse in the French village of Lansquenet. There, a ghost from the past waits to confront him, and the reclusive Marise - haunted, lovely and dangerous - hides a terrible secret behind her closed shutters. Between them, a mysterious chemistry. Or could it be magic?show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 28mm | 220g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552998001
  • 9780552998000
  • 58,911

Review Text

Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat - shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Prize) can make the most cynical reader believe in magic. She can seduce you with flavours, bemuse you with words (if you don't believe me, just read the first few sentences of this new novel.) Jay Mackintosh's story oscillates between 1970s boyhood summers in a small, dying Yorkshire pit-village and late 1990s life in a village in southern France (which readers of Chocolat will instantly recognize). Jay is a novelist with a dwindling love-affair and, after one bestselling novel, writer's block. He needs stimulation, and on impulse, sight unseen, buys a rundown farmhouse in Lansquenet. But he does not arrive there alone. He's still 'locked in adolescence like a record in a grove'. His summers in Yorkshire shared with an eccentric ex-miner who has a mystical attachment to growing things are not forgotten, and Joe Cox travels with him in disconcertingly solid spectral form - still full of wise saws and horticultural lore, urging Jay to plant his beloved old-and-rare species of fruit and vegetables, and protect them with cabalistic signs and symbols. Jay does find peace of mind and inspiration to write again. The warmth of his welcome to Lansquenet, the understated beauty of its landscape, his work in his garden and the memories of his youthful, rough, rite-of-passage at the hands of a gang of young Yorkshire thugs - and Joe's ultimate (it seems) betrayal, all help to unlock the barriers of creation. But that isn't the end of the story. There are impediments to overcome in Lansquenet too, decisions to be made, battles to be won ... and wine to be drunk: wine that talks 'with a million voices; which unleashes the tongue, teasing out secrets you never meant to tell, secrets you never even knew.'; wine that 'shouts, rants, whispers, speaks of great things, splendid plans, tragic loves and terrible betrayals ... chuckles softly to itself, weeps in front of memories best forgotten...' This is a novel which must be read; by a writer with a great and growing talent who speaks to her readers, in a unique and sensuous voice. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

"Touching, funny and clever" Daily Telegraph "A lively and original talent" The Sunday Times "Joanne Harris has the gift of conveying her delight in the sensuous pleasures of food, wine, scent and plants... Blackberry Wine has all the appeal of a velvety scented glass of vintage wine" Daily Mail "Thickly sensuous, wildly indulgent magical escapism: Chocolat lovers will drink deeply" Guardianshow more

About Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris is one of our best-loved and most versatile novelists. She first appeared on the scene with the bestselling Chocolat (made into an Oscar-nominated film with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp), which turned into the sensuous Lansquenet trilogy (with Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure). She has since written acclaimed novels in such diverse genres as fantasy based on Norse myth (Runemarks, Runelight, The Gospel of Loki), and the Malbry cycle of dark psychological thrillers (Gentlemen & Players, Blueeyedboy, and now Different Class). Born in Barnsley, of an English father and a French mother, she spent fifteen years as a teacher before (somewhat reluctantly) becoming a full-time writer. In 2013, she was awarded an MBE. She lives in Yorkshire, plays bass in a band first formed when she was sixteen, works in a shed in her garden, spends far too much time online and occasionally dreams of faking her own death and going to live in Hawaii.show more

Back cover copy

Wine talks. Everyone knows that. Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long-vanished friend seems to provide the key to an old mystery. As the unusual properties of the strange brew take effect, Jay escapes to a derelict farmhouse in the French village of Lansquenet. There, a ghost from the past waits to confront him, and the reclusive Marise - haunted, lovely and dangerous - hides a terrible secret behind her closed shutters. Between them, a mysterious chemistry. Or could it be magic?show more