Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

Vintage 1954

by Antoine Laurain

Historical Fiction Humour (fiction)

LoveReading View on Vintage 1954

Romantic, wry and fragrant with the intoxicating bouquet of la vie Parisienne, this book will brighten the greyest of days with Gallic charme and enchantement.

Paris, 2017, and Hubert invites a few associates to share a bottle of exquisite 1954 Beaujolais. Among his guests are American tourist Bob, and neighbour Julien. For Julien, 1954 has extra significance, for that was when an ancestor of his experienced “something extraordinary”. Namely, he sighted a flying saucer in a year that became known as “The Year of Flying Saucers” due to the prolific number of sightings. Next morning, each of Hubert’s guests themselves experience something extraordinary as they realise they’ve been transported to a Paris of the past, to a city in which citizens exchange lighthearted bonhomie on buses, and cafes allow patrons to “smoke with impunity”. Initially Bob amusingly muses that “despite globalisation, the French had not lost their soul!” Then it dawns on the wine-sharing group how they came to voyage through time: “when the flying saucer flew over, it changed the Saint-Antoine wine and since then whoever drinks it will go back to 1954”. 


Despite enjoying a very pleasant sojourn in the past - encountering Audrey Hepburn in a bar, dining with Edith Piaf - the question is: how can they return to 2017? Driven by droll humour and romance, and with a miraculous climax, this is a fabulously full-bodied-book with crisply sweet undertones.

Joanne Owen

Vintage 1954 Synopsis

When Hubert Larnaudie invites some fellow residents of his Parisian apartment building to drink an exceptional bottle of 1954 Beaujolais, he has no idea of its special properties. The following morning, Hubert finds himself waking up in 1950s Paris, as do antique restorer Magalie, mixologist Julien, and Airbnb tenant Bob from Milwaukee, who's on his first trip to Europe. After their initial shock, the city of Edith Piaf and An American in Paris begins to work its charm on them. The four delight in getting to know the French capital during this iconic period, whilst also playing with the possibilities that time travel allows. But, ultimately, they need to work out how to get back to 2017, and time is of the essence...

Vintage 1954 Press Reviews

Praise for Smoking Kills

'It has the pleasing weirdness that makes Laurain's novels so appealing.' The Sunday Times

'Hilarious, formidable -- and essential packing for any French Summer holiday' The Daily Mail

'A brisk black comedy... makes cigarettes seem seductive again, even to committed non-smokers.' The Guardian

'A seductively murderous Parisian tale.' The Times Crime Club

'Smoking Kills is one heck of a book ... a romp and a satire and it is a reminder of all that is funny-peculiar about Parisian culture. Read this book. It will be good for your health.' Shots Magazine

'Funny, superbly over-the-top.... not a page too much.' The Times

'This is guaranteed fun' Publishers Weekly

'This dark parody of classic romans noirs is one more reason to love the French.' Crime Reads

'Antoine Laurain is a compelling storyteller. The writing flows effortlessly, alternating action and reflection, the present and flashbacks, the sad and the comical.' Riveting Reviews

' of the most savage, most gloriously satisfying endings I've read in ages, I can't help but recommend this book for what it is: a gem.' Pop Matters

'This dark yet comic novel is perfect for readers wanting to enjoy a typically French satirical crime story.' Living France Magazine

'This is a real tonic for the soul (...) Smoking Kills is a very black comedy, it is a lot of wicked fun (...) original and playful and entertaining.' Nudge Books

'Dark and enjoyable . . . You will puff in pleasure.' The Book Bag

Praise for The President's Hat and The Red Notebook

'A hymn to la vie Parisienne...enjoy it for its fabulistic narrative, and the way it teeters pleasantly on the edge of Gallic whimsy.' The Guardian

'Resist this novel if you can; it's the very quintessence of French romance' The Times

'Soaked in Parisian atmosphere, this lovely, clever, funny novel will have you rushing to the Eurostar post-haste... A gem.' Daily Mail

If you loved this, you might like these...

Last One at the Party
A House for Mr Biswas
The Carer
Cherry Slice

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781910477670
Publication date: 20/06/2019
Publisher: Gallic Books
Format: Paperback

About Antoine Laurain

Antoine Laurain was born in Paris and is a journalist, antiques collector and award-winning author. His novel The President's Hat was a Waterstones Book Club and ABA Indies Introduce pick in 2013. The Red Notebook was on the Indie Next List for May 2015 and was a MIBA bestseller. Antoine represented France at European Literature Night 2014.

More About Antoine Laurain

More Books By Antoine Laurain

Cover for Smoking Kills by Antoine Laurain
Cover for The Readers' Room by Antoine Laurain
Cover for Readers' Room by Antoine Laurain
View All Books By Antoine Laurain

Share this book