Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
This is the book I received in the Book Swap. It’s by the same author as the book Chocolat and set in the same village.
I enjoyed the book as a bit of a light read. The main character, Jay, was interesting to me and different from other characters I have seen. I loved the contrast between London, the small English time where he spent his childhood and the French village that he came to.
The appearance of his old friend Joe as an “out-of-body” traveller was interesting, but not as clunky as it could have been, and I liked it. The village characters are all quirky and interesting, and I felt a real pang when it was talked about how many villagers want to modernize their villages for tourism. Realistic, but sad.
Harris’s prose is spectacular, and it’s worth the read just for that. Her images are vivid and luscious. The two real peeves I have about the novel are these:
The narratives done from the point of view of the wine was inconsistent, and in my opinion, unnecessary. I appreciate the exploration of new techniques, but I think an editor should have cut that at some point. I also think Jay’s romance with Marise was too sudden. She goes from reclusive to in his bed very quickly. I appreciate the off-camera talks that they must have had, but those would have been nice to see.
Overall, though, a good and quick read.