September 2008 Book of the Month.
The slow decline of a wine collector told backwards. We meet Wilberforce as he ascends into alcoholism and then back-track to the uninteresting computer self-employed workaholic he once was until a moment of uncharacteristic impulsive behaviour. This author’s first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, was one of my favourite books of last year. This is very different, a sad tale of obsession, ignorance and being totally out of touch with one’s fellow human beings. Wilberforce is not a pleasant man, his tale interestingly delivered. Torday can certainly write.
Late one summer evening, Wilberforce - rich, young, and work-obsessed - makes a detour on his way home to the vast undercroft of Caerlyon Hall, and the domain of Francis Black, a place where wine, hospitality and affection flow freely.
Through Francis, Wilberforce is initiated into a life rich in the promise of friendship and adventure, where, through his new set of friends, the possibility of finding acceptance, and even falling in love, seems finally to be within his reach.
Wilberforce becomes a willing pupil to Francis, and in the cellars of Caerlyon he nurtures a new-found passion for wine. But even the finest wine can leave a bitter aftertaste, and Wilberforce will learn the undercroft's unpalatable secrets, and that passion comes at a price ...
'Remarkably, given the bleakness of both subject and hero, it is an incredibly good read.'
Marianne MacDonald, DAILY TELEGRAPH
'It is a fable, a lingering, haunting morality tale about addiction, snobbery and a kind of desperate, furious love.' Sue Gaisford, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
"the whole book is delightfully written.. Paul Torday is a remarkably original novelist" David Sexton, EVENING STANDARD
"exceptionally accomplished.. second novels are notoriously difficult to pull off but Torday has managed a near masterpiece" Virginia Blackburn, DAILY EXPRESS
Publication date: 01/09/2008
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||1st September 2008|
|Publisher:||Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Paul Torday was our Guest Editor in April 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing. Paul Torday was born in 1946 and read English Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. He spent the next 30 years working in engineering and in industry, after which he scaled back his business responsibilities to fulfil a long-harboured ambition - to write. He burst on to the literary scene in 2006 with his first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, an immediate bestseller that has been sold in 25 countries. Paul Torday died in 2013.More About Paul Torday