Author(s): Paul Torday
This is a novel that tells its story back to front, whose main character we meet when he is down on his luck, in his local French restaurant drowning his sorrows in the depths of two bottles of vintage Petrus. It hasn't taken all that long for Wilberforce, as we will only know him, to reach this point, and we see it, almost in slow motion, from the moment it begins - that one fateful day when he takes an unexpected detour into the country when he is driving home on a twilight evening. He drives along a lane beside a high stone wall, towards a house which had been signposted from the main road: Caerlyon Hall. He was breaking his routine, and it felt refreshing. The lane headed towards an enormous grey house, at the back of which a board was positioned by the side of track: in gold Palace script on a burgundy-coloured background it announced 'Frances Black: Fine Bordeaux Wines. Visitors Welcome' and Wilberforce remembers feeling a little like Alice must have felt when she found the table at the bottom of the rabbit hole, with the little bottle labelled 'Drink Me'. Through Francis Black, Wilberforce develops a taste for fine wine, and a new set of friends, who fill him full of promise and affection and acceptance.
Strong EPOS A solid follow-on to Salmon Fishing but wholly unique Hugely atmospheric, with lush descriptions of landscape and wine and deeply felt emotions.
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 19 countries. He is married with two sons by a previous marriage and has two stepsons and lives close to the River North Tyne.