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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Yorkshire, 1869. When self–made Victorian businessman Isaac Brookes returns home from his wool mill in France he could not have suspected that a chance encounter on a train would alter the gastronomical landscape of the world. But when he meets, and almost kills, Rodrigo Vermilion, a hunchback midget dressed in rags––Vermilion sees in pragmatic Isaac a grand opportunity to ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Harper Perennial
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  45 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Sybil Güventürk
the atmosphere in this one is dark and dreary, yet colorful in a sinister-funfair kind of way. the suspense is very subtle and I've been actually having fun in the process. when i look back, i remember it being suffused with rich reds and greens, full of quirky and lovable characters and.. i also miss that little man gravely..this wordy magic felt like some of my weirdest dreams..luv it! ...more
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit
Intoxicating indeed. A madcap adventure of a book with fascinating characters and beautiful description. I could almost taste the rhubarilla and I have to confess that I spent at least a few minutes researching to make sure I really couldn't buy any. ...more
Ron Charles
Five years after "Eating Mammals," John Barlow is back with another gastronomical story that's as surprising, funny and satisfying as a good belch. The British writer is something of a master at concocting what could be called "sentimental grotesques," and Intoxicated , a novel about the development of an improbable soft drink made from rhubarb, delivers a strange but irresistible mix of flavors.

We meet young George Brookes in 1863 when he's whirling around upside down, vomiting. His mother, Sar
What an odd book. I don't know how it ever got published. Every thing about it is strange. The plot was all over the place; there was no cohesion whatsoever. The characters were also all over the place. Their personalities made no sense. Why would Isaac Brookes, a wealthy, successful businessman, agree to go into business with a dirty, homeless, humpbacked midget he meets on a train? This midget, Rodrigo Vermilion, was so over-the-top, he was written as if the author expected this to be turned i ...more
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book started out really badly. I did not want to continue reading after the first chapter or two. It reminded me a lot of Eragon and the author who wants so badly to be an AUTHOR that he writes in a pretty ridiculous style. After the first act, though, he settled down a bit and the story was such that I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened. The ending was very disappointing. I mean, not disappointing if you compare it to the beginning, but compared to the middle third of the bo ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bizarre; compelling.

This sums it up (for me):

"Beneath the madcap tone of this exuberant tale runs a thread of life’s truths and families’ woes all bottled up in bizarre fashion. A great historical spoof from a highly imaginative writer."
-- Tess Allegra,
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Easily the best dramatic fiction I've read in a long while! Filled with a curious and captivating cast of creatively constructed characters who shine brilliantly in the twisting and soul-fulfilling plot that is filled with such vivid imagery and victorian detail that the heart shakes. Truly an inspiring and wonderful book! Highly, HIGHLY recommended!! ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Try as I might...I just couldn't get into it. ...more
Lacked the magical realism elements that I loved so much in "Eating Mammals," but still full of rich imagery and compelling prose. ...more
May 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
Not for me. This just wasn't a book I could get into and I never got very far. ...more
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
light and fun but took a while to get through; not really a page-turner.
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May 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Kind of like reading Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Interesting- and different!
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John Barlow's prize-winning fiction and non-fiction has been published by HarperCollins/William Morrow, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 4th Estate and various others in the UK, US, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland.



His current project is the Joe Romano crime thriller series. The first novel, RIGHT TO KILL, is out in the UK with HQ/HarperCollins on June 24th, 2021.


John was born in Wes

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