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The Vintner's Luck

(Vintner's Luck #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,805 ratings  ·  371 reviews
One summer night in 1808, Sobran Jodeau sets out to drown his love sorrows in his family's vineyard when he stumbles on an angel. Once he gets over his shock, Sobran decides that Xas, the male angel, is his guardian sent to counsel him on everything from marriage to wine production. But Xas turns out to be a far more mysterious character. Compelling and erotic, The Vintner ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published August 5th 2000 by Picador (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  2,805 ratings  ·  371 reviews

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mark monday
he is neither soldier in the armies of the Lord nor adherent to the Day Star, son of the morning. he is his own creature, bound to earth.

oh sweet angel, caught between ice and fire; oh sweet prose, liquid and lapidary; oh sweet story, sinuous and subtle, that says so little yet feels so much.

a soulful and nourishing novel.
Richard Derus
Real Rating: 5+* of five

There might be another perfect read for me this year, but I doubt very much it will come at me from this angle or evoke in me this memory.

In everyone's life there is a piercingly perfect moment. Its sounds and lights and emotions are all, in one frozen frame of the film we must make for ourselves, exactly and precisely right. I had mine on a chilly autumn afternoon. My true love and I were walking the length of Broadway. We had reached the corner o
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If a man falls in love with a male angel one summer night on a hilltop in a French vineyard in 1808, if for years he sees this angel only once a year on this same hilltop, if the angel seems both intimate and impersonal at once, how will this affect the man’s ability to live his life as his family has lived for generations—raising children with his wife, making wine, interacting with the local nobility? What connection, if any, is there between the angel’s annual appearance and the success of ea ...more
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how many of you realise this, but from the age of 11 or so, I grew up in New Zealand. Our English curriculum makes it compulsory for us to do a reading log for every English class, covering a variety of books. In order to support our local heritage the log needs to include at least one book by a local NZ author each year. Shouldn't be too hard, right? We produced Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee, Katherine Mansfield, Phillip Mann and Witi Ihimaera. Shouldn't be too hard at all.

tl;dr SUMMARY VERSION: In The Vintner’s Luck, Book, I recommend an awesome concept, some interesting if distant characters, ~tragic gay angel love~, some thought-provoking religious mythology, some effective poetic language (infinite descriptions of wing movements, dead leaves, the Napoleonic Wars), a fast read, refreshing anti-agism (old people having sex! THE SCANDAL).
I caution against somewhat distant, unlikeable characters (and a massive cast), somewhat anticlimactic gay angel sex, some Twi
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book this morning, and I cried. This book is heartbreaking, but in the most beautiful, profound way possible.

At its simplest it's a book about a vinemaker, Sobran, and his relationship with an angel, Xas, he was fortunate enough to stumble upon one night, while looking for relief from heartbreak. A relationship that ends up defining both their lives, and hugely impacts the life of everyone else around them.

And this is why it is in no way a simple book, and
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, fantasy, angels
My flatmate recommended this to me with much high praise. And read my copy before I got my hands on it, and cried at it a lot. I have to confess, when I started reading it, I didn't really get into it. The story is about a man who agrees to meet an angel (or an angel who agrees to meet a man?) at the same time every year, for one night every year. The story focuses on these meetings, so what we get are glimpses into a life. It isn't just the meetings, but it focuses mostly on them, rather than t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Horsefield
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
The way each book deals with issues of structure, chronology, plotting, characterisation, and, of course, theology, are radically different to what I expected.
THE VINTNER'S LUCK should stand (and fall) on its own merits. But if comparisons must be drawn, one might look at how Neil Gaiman characterizes religious mythology in his fiction. Heaven and Hell are made real, as are Lucifer, God, and a host of angels, all given motivations and decisions to make.
This would all work out pretty
˗ˏˋ eg ˎˊ˗
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018, lgbt
4.5 stars

My heart has been completely pulverised.. holy hell
Debbie Zapata
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dar
In the France of 1808, Sobran the vintner gets roaring drunk, feeling sorry for himself because of troubles with a romance. He stumbles out into the fields and when he passes out, he is caught by an angel before he hits the ground.

The very first chapter was intriguing. It made me eager to find out why the angel was there in the first place, and who or what was in the whirlwind that made him suddenly stand at attention and promise to meet Sobran once a year on the same date and in the same place
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

The first time I read this I was totally engaged, this time not so much. I think the period when (view spoiler) was when both I & this book lost focus.

The prose is still so beautiful & lyrical to read though and at the start I soared with the story & found the book very hard to put down. & I loved the chapter headings- all connected with winemaking and all relevant to the chapter.
Julio Genao
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julio by: キラ

...but heartbreaking in its loveliness.

this book was ordered in june—and arrived in november, for some reason.

lucky me. i thought it was beautiful.

thanks for the gift, scarecrow!
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this book was often extremely beautiful and wonderful to read, but I don't think I completely connected with it at any point. I expect I'll get around to rereading it someday and it wouldn't surprise me at all if I liked it more on the second go, but for now it's a strong three stars.
Isa Lavinia

He swooned while still walking forward, and the angel stood quickly to catch him.
Sobran fell against a warm, firm pillow of muscle. He lay braced by a wing, pure sinew and bone under a cushion of feathers.

This is Sobran and Xas' first meeting.

Sobran, the son of a vintner in the early 19th century, is drowning his sorrows in wine - Celeste, the girl he loves, is forbidden to him, there is madness tainting her family's blood, so his father has not given his blessing to the match.

It's between two vineyard
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: recs-by-friends
This book- I'm not sure what to rate it.I liked it somewhat. The unorthodox love story between a man and a angel sounded like it would make for a great story. But honestly? I found it to be a slow and dragging read. It didn't catch my attention until I reached 30% and then again towards the 50'ish % mark. Being that the story took place during the 1800's I think that had some to do with it. Not the historical aspect of it, but in the way it was written. So I think this is one of those moments wh ...more
Alexis Hall
Read with her Lord High Katness.

I, err, I thought I'd read this. But I turned out to have read an entirely different book about angels.

I'll try to write a proper review at some point but for now: this was beautiful. Harrowing, complicated, terrible. Ultimately deeply human.

I might have cried.

A lot.
Complete symmetry is an insult to God. Lucifer does everything as perfectly as he can.
This is a beautiful work with some really nasty motivations behind it. What with Tumblr's ongoing Nipplegate and sex workers and queer people once again being eradicated in the name of the children no one can be bothered to equip with a bill of rights, leastwise in the USA, I am done with queer phobia, not to mention other bigotries, being normalized in my historical fiction. On the other hand, this novel reads l
Ann M
Sep 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: readers of fantasy
Spoilers, I guess: This is a very silly book about an angel who meets a completely uninteresting French vintner in the early nineteenth century and they fall in love. I never understand anyone's relationships, but this took the cake. Also, there are a lot of characters who are not more than names -- the author tries to hang a story on this silly premise by fleshing things out with the vintner's ever-increasing family, but, who cares? There aren't enough details to make it a historical fiction. I ...more
~Buddy read with bert as an act of rebellion against Christmas and Christmas books.~

I finished this in early hours of Monday morning and I'm still dazed by what I read. Because this book caused my heart to swell to twice it's size, broke it a little, kindly put it back together again, broke it some more, made me cry, and made me fall in love with an angel.

I just adored it.
“You fainted and I caught you. It was the first time I'd supported a human. You had such heavy bones. I put myself between you anit.
4.5 I AM WRECKED!!! I went through the gauntlet with this book, up & down so many times. My half star deduction was personal due to my inability to relate a bit with the depth of the religion discussion. I am still contemplating weather to read on into the next or leave it here, as I kinda like where it left.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book had me in tears. Knox has a wonderful way of carving words and phrases to create such beautiful imagery and meaning, I think this book is going to stay with me for a while.
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mel by: Alexis Hall
Shelves: favourites-2016
Could we only this once make an exception? Only once? I tell you to read this book and you just do it?

Because the book left me rather speechless, you see? So please, don’t expect this review to be very eloquent. I fear it might be a little unsubstantial.

I wish I could talk about The Vintner’s Luck with wisdom and insights because I feel like this is what it deserves, but, annoyingly, I find myself lacking. So I’ll be focusing on feelz instead…

The Vintner’s Luc
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommended to Res by: schemingreader
Shelves: sff, slash-interest
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judy Croome
This is a difficult novel to review. ‘Strange’ is the word that springs to mind. The premise – a lifelong friendship between an angel and a vintner – interested me, because I like surreal and/or paranormal stories. When I started reading, I couldn’t put it down because the imagery was beautiful and the philosophical discussions on religious beliefs interesting although, at times, too obscure. So, what was the problem I had with this story? I couldn’t get emotionally attached to any of the charac ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There will never be words to adequately describe this masterpiece. In these pages, Knox explores humanity, the idea of originality, of the influence of the divine. And of course she writes of love, loving because of, not in spite of. In my opinion, this is a very original piece, a novel idea. Hundreds if not thousands have toyed with the influence of angels on humans, though few have dipped their toes into the influence humans have on angels.
Abi Walton
3.5 stars. this quite book is such a gently captivating read. I tis the story of Sobran's life and his relationship with Xas his angel who agrees to meet him one night each year.
"Flirtation, not love," was one of my favourite ways to describe this book until about halfway through where I feel hard as the love story grows and becomes heart-wrenchingly wonderful. The love story between Xas and Sobran was the part that truly captured me. It isn't easy, they both struggle, as how can a relationship
In the early part of the 19th century, a young winemaker sees an angel out in the field behind his house. They talk for a while; eventually they agree to meet every year on the same night. I loved this premise; it reminded me of one of my favorite stories ever, Neil Gaiman’s “Men of Good Fortune.” The difference is that “Good Fortune” is about someone who will live forever, while Luck takes place over a single human lifetime. Also, in Luck, our human protagonist, Sobran, and his otherworldly visitor actually be ...more
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I originally picked it up (from, as apparently it's out of print now) when I heard that there was a film adaptation in production. I hope that I enjoy the movie as much as I enjoyed the book!

Knox's characters are rich, believable and human - especially her angels - and the story an especially moving romance that delves deep in its exploration of death, obsession, and family. She offers at the same time an alternate
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Theological elements 2 27 May 08, 2011 02:29PM  

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Elizabeth Knox was born in Wellington‚ New Zealand‚ and is the author of eleven novels and three novella and a book of essays.

Other books in the series

Vintner's Luck (2 books)
  • The Angel's Cut (Vintner's Luck, #2)
“You fainted and I caught you. It was the first time I'd supported a human. You had such heavy bones. I put myself between you and gravity. Impossible.” 68 likes
“Imagine a very long time passing - and I find my way out, following someone who already knows how to leave Hell. And God says to me on Earth for the first time, "Xas!" in a tone of discovery, as if I'm a misplaced pair of spectacles or a stray dog. And he puts it to me that he wants me in Heaven. But Lucifer has doubled back - it was him I followed - to find me, where I am, in a forest, smitten, because the Lord has noticed me, and I'm overcome, as hopeless as your dog Josie whom you got rid of because she loved me.' Xas glared at Sobran. Then he drew a breath - all had been said on only three. He went on: 'Lucifer says to God the He can't have me. And at this I sit up and tell Lucifer that I didn't even think he knew my name, then say to God no thank you - very insolent this - and that Hell is endurable so long as the books keep appearing.” 10 likes
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