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Corkscrew: The highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer
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Corkscrew: The highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  167 ratings  ·  55 reviews
A bawdy, satirical novel set in the world of wine and big business.

Felix Hart, a tragic orphan, is expelled from school, cast on to the British high street, and forced to make his way in the cut-throat world of wine retailing. Thanks to a positive mental attitude, he is soon forging a promising career, his sensual adventures taking him to the vineyards of Italy, South Afri
Paperback, 406 pages
Published August 2016 by I_AM
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  167 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Corkscrew is a brightly entertaining tongue-in-cheek novel. It’s the humorous and racy journey of Felix Hart from his expelled school days to a senior position as a buyer with a major supermarket brand. Felix is extremely witty, sexually obsessed, and hugely ambitious. There are numerous instances where you will struggle to contain your laughter. The sexual innuendos and sarcastic dialogue are funny and are well mixed with slap-stick comedic incidents. I did spread the joy to those in ea
Carol (Bookaria)
This is a funny novel that takes place in the world of wine.

Felix Hart, our main character, is an orphan that starts working in the wine industry and after many adventures and ordeals ends up being interrogated by the authorities. This is not a spoiler as the book opens up with Felix being questioned.

The story is told from the point of view of Felix and is over-the-top funny. Sometimes the situations were a bit absurd for me but I understood that the author was trying to make a point.

Overall, I
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I received this advance reader copy from Thistle publishing.

***DNF @ 45%***

This book was promising at the beginning, quite humorous with unexpected laugh- out- loud moments. It takes place in England where we follow the exploits of one Felix Hart, a professional wine buyer. As the book begins, Felix is a tragic figure, an orphan attending a prestigious prep school. He's expelled from the school, but with a lead for a job in wine retail. He has a natural aptitude for this and quickly turns around
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Felix Hart is expelled from boarding school for being a “naughty, naughty” boy. Before leaving, he asks advice from his favorite professor who gives him an herbal African concoction called ‘Madame Joubert’s Lekker Medisyne Trommel’ and a recommendation that he should become a wine merchant if he wanted to travel and continue to party. Felix lacks any scruples, and Stafford-Bow has him bouncing from one bizarre adventure to the next, with each one landing him a promotion in the world of wine buye ...more
Where shall I begin? Pour myself a glass of wine and sit down to write a glowing review would be a good start.
This book is every bit as funny as the other reviewers are saying. I sometimes laughed so hard I had to stop reading.
What I liked about the book: English is not my first language, so I like reading this kind of books to learn more of the language (I'm a fan of Wendy Holden too). It is, underneath all that is happening, actually quite informative and I learned things about wine I didn't
Randal White
This is a laugh out loud book! I had a very hard time putting it down.
The main character is a young man climbing his way up the corporate ladder in the wine business. Along the way, he has some of the most outrageous adventures.
This book should appeal to anyone who enjoys wine, or movies like Sideways, Somm, or Cement Suitcase.
I sincerely hope that this book is turned into a movie! As I was reading it, I could not help but imagine a young George Clooney as the main character.
I received an adv
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-the-magazine
This is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. The book opens with Felix Hart being interrogated by an unknown 'authority' to the point he feels he's not going to get out of the meeting alive. From here, Felix tells his life story from being an orphan expelled from a prestigious school, and his decision to do work which he enjoys – drinking wine.

Felix gets into some terrible scrapes yet always seems to come up smelling of roses. His career in the wine industry prospers and takes him
Jena Henry
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud while reading a book- but I was chuckling, gasping, shrieking and absolutely delighted with this book. This hilarious and well-written spoof or satire features Felix Hart, who shares his amazing story with us in the first person. He is a pleasant, devil-may-care bon vivant who knows that the wine glass of life is always half full. When he gets knocked down by zany circumstances, he always rises to the occasion. Literally.

When he realizes that a career in t
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really didn’t expect to enjoy this crazy book so much. I usually run a mile when I see words such as “mad-cap romp” and “farce” but such is the verve and skill with which this book is written that I was more than happy to go along for the ride – and what a ride it is, quite preposterous much of the time, but rooted firmly enough in reality to make it a social satire of some depth. It’s the story of orphaned Felix Hart, expelled from school, who finds a job in a down-at-heel off-licence. From w ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it

I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher ---
Felix, a tragic orphan, is expelled from school, cast out onto the British high street, and forced to make his way in the cut-throat world of wine retail. Thanks to a positive mental attitude, he is soon forging a promising career, his sensual adventures taking him to the vineyards of Italy, South Africa, Bulgaria and Kent.
His path to the summit, however, is littered wit
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i won a copy of this book in the good reads giveaway,
i loved this book, it was totally not what i expected, i thought it would be a light hearted book about a wine seller, what i got was a different and very funny book about a young guy getting mixed up in some very crazy situations while trying to rise to the top of his game, there are some fantastic laugh out loud moments,
When I first thought about reading this book, I was hesitate. A book about wine...I don't even drink how could I understand...but don't judge a book by it's cover. Even though it is about wine, the Author put his own spin on it with laugh out moments, some scary moments that ended up so funny. I was literally laughing out loud and had to stop and reread the part to laugh all over again. This book has it all and a lot I wasn't expecting. The main character Felix Hart is a riot. Felix Hart got kic ...more
Emi Bevacqua
Cartoonishly over-the-top romp through the British alcoholic beverages industry. Excellent first novel by whoever Peter Stafford-Bow is in real life (no author photo provided). As its subtitle intimates this book is nearly an exposé; and as outrageous as main character Felix Hart's memoir-as-police-interrogation-confessional is, his story is both gripping and hilariously informative. Felix boisterously humps his way up the ranks and around the world from vineyard to vineyard, and Stafford-Bow ar ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I usually read non-fiction but had this recommended. It's very funny, pacy and full of knowledgable wine in-jokes. The section where he attempts the Master - sorry, MINSTREL - of wine tasting exam is a masterpiece! ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Somehow my book club stumbled upon this book. I'm pretty sure I was the only one who didn't want to read it. Now I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who enjoyed it. It's completely ridiculous and absurd and pretty stupid. I liked it. Should probably be a movie.
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
Won in the Goodreads Giveaways
Heather Ingram
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
excellent debut novel. really enjoyed Felix's adventures - and learned a lot about wine! ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Corkscrew is a standalone novel and one filled with comedy and farce about the wine tasting and buying industry.

Felix Hart is a rogue and a scoundrel and it comes as no surprise that he is being questioned for dubious practices. But as with all stories, the tale must be told from the start. So begins a tale about how Felix was kicked out of school for ‘spreading his wild oats too liberally’ and being introduced to the world of wine. Felix soon learns how to manipulate the people and the system a
Stefani Akins
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I have a confession to make: there are no more cookbooks in the queue for a while. Some of my newer readers might be shocked to find that I also read other non-fiction. And fiction. And occasionally, just for the heck of it. Call it brain candy - and no worries, there are no calories attached. This particular novel kept me engaged from absurd beginning to topsy-turvy end.

"Corkscrew" is the perfect companion for an afternoon or an evening (or two) when you just want to sit back and unwind (pun no
Pop Bop
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"Tom Jones" Goes Into the Wine Business

It was not entirely clear from the subtitle, the blurbs, and such whether this was going to be just a genial memoir of life in the wine business or a more robust fictional outing. Well, happy to say this falls decidedly into the picaresque camp. In fact, I just looked at a definition of "picaresque" so as not to embarrass myself, and the definition of the word concisely captures the essence of this novel - "... a genre of prose fiction that depicts the adve
Ramya (Idea Smith)
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Orphans, human trafficking, drug-addled hippies, safaris, dubious trans witch doctors, evil capitalist corporations - this book has it all. And yet, it somehow manages to stay cheerful and funny. Felix is a highly successful wine buyer for a major British department store chain. His humble beginnings and the snootiness of British society barely deter him as he rises steadily and through international adventures.

The entire tale mocks the rigidity of British aristocracy, the snobbery of wine circ
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book will appeal to any wine lover. Felix Hart starts his career in the fast and competitive world of wine retailing. He wants to climb the ladder quickly and will stop at nothing to do that.
The adventures of Felix and the ridiculous antics and situations he finds himself in will have the reader laughing.
In the course of his work he travels to Bulgaria, Kent, South Africa and Italy but nothing runs smoothly and some parts of the book are hilarious. The author writes in such a way that you f
Laura Vautour
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you like rollicking, bawdy humour, cartoon-like scenarios, and over-the-top situations... if you like a good belly laugh at complete silliness... if you laugh at sexy jokes and toilet humour, then this book is for you! If now of the above is true, then maybe you should pass on this one...

The main character, Felix Hart, is an ambitious young man who falls into the wine trade by accident and decides to climb the corporate ladder with little concern for anyone on the way. This lack of conscience
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Felix Hart lives a life straight out of a 1930's slap stick movie. Except there is a lot of sex.

Felix gets kicked out of his posh school and his life becomes one adventure after another.

This book has a great deal of humor and a plot that is filled with action. I do not want to be that person that tells plot points, so I won't.

To be honest, I would not like Felix to be a close friend of mine. But, he makes a wonderfully amusing character. He has a lack of integrity but a great sense of humor. He
Cherry London
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
A rather jovial and interesting tale told with much gusto and swag, about Felix's introduction into the wine buying business. Filled with innuendos, sexual conquest, drugs even death and a hold lot more. Felix seems to be one of those guys who go about without much care in the world, except drinking having a good time and thinking about his next sexual conquest. A bit of a sleazeball who turns his back on his responsibility as a father but embraces the responsibility of the running of a wine es ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
I received this book via the publisher for an honest review.

As a young-ish canadian who does not drink or like wine, im not sure why i decided to read the book. I was attracted by the blurb of the book. I kept waiting for the book to get funny, maybe I was not made for British humour. As the title says, the highly improbable, feels right. I can't see how any of this could be true or even possible but again, i know nothing about wine. There are the red's, white's, rosé, ice and champagne. That i
Patricia Bello
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an unexpected book...and I enjoyed it! And in the movie my head, a younger Brad Pitt as the charming Felix. I wanted to have a glass of wine every time and explore the nearest wine shop. Felix is absolutely charming and with the help of Madame Joubert's medicine, a very lucky man. He goes from being an out of school youth to one of the top wine buyers of the biggest conglomerate in the country. I thoroughly enjoyed the Director (wish he was around longer), Wilkus, the Spott-Hydes, Georg ...more
Sreevarsha Sreejith
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
All in all, Corkscrew is an interesting piece of satire that presents the often preposterous nature of human existence coated in thinly veiled sarcasm. The story of Felix Hart and his questionable (and often unappetizing, more Deadpool than Captain America, if you get my drift) life choices might not make you think, might not even induce a vicarious thrill in you, but will definitely make you laugh out loud a few times. It is not a story that stays with you afterwards, but it is one that will ta ...more
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book on #Netgalley some time ago, but just got around to reading it. Like many other reviewers have written this book is laugh out loud funny. I liked this book so much I ordered the next book, "Brut Force" before I finished reading this one. If you have ever worked for a big box store you will truly appreciate this book!!! The author has the culture of the big box retailer down!!! Love and highly recommend this book. ...more
Paul Mageean
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hilarious doesn’t do this book justice I never knew the wine industry could do much fun
The antics of Felix Hart climbing up the greasy corporate pole caused me to laugh out loud
not something I normally do when reading
Looking forward to reading more from this author

Thanks to Thistle publishing for the chance to read this
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Peter Stafford-Bow is a novelist and wine consultant, based in London. He is best known for his series of award-winning satires set in the world of wine and big business, featuring Felix Hart, a cheerfully amoral drinks executive. Stafford-Bow is a noted public speaker, wine educator and a regular on the literary festival circuit.

A self-taught imbiber, Stafford-Bow dropped out of university to pur

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