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The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  501 ratings  ·  99 reviews
A new memoir by the celebrated essayist that explores her relationship with her father, a lover of wine

In The Wine Lover's Daughter, Anne Fadiman examines with all her characteristic wit and feeling her relationship with her father, the celebrated multihyphenate and lover of wine Clifton Fadiman. A renowned literary critic, editor, and radio host, Clifton was born in
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Despite my “hail fellow, well met!” attitude toward alcohol in general, I'm not a big wine person. That is, I'm perfectly happy to drink grocery store zinfandels and moscatos which Clifton Fadiman would have scorned to pour into his stew (if he had cooked, which, as his daughter tells us, he didn't), but I'd rather have whiskey or rum (or gin or vodka!). Still, I enjoyed The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir very much. Even the parts about wine, which were painlessly instructive. While Fadiman ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anne Fadiman is one of my favourite writers. Her essay collection 'Ex Libris' is one of my alltime favourite books. But unfortunately her literary output is very thin. Anne Fadiman is like the J.D.Salinger or Harper Lee of our times. There are two essay collections, 'Ex Libris' and 'At Large and at Small', and one non-fiction book about the Hmong community called 'The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down', in her backlist. She has also edited two essay collections, 'Rereadings : Seventeen ...more
Wendy Henning
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading Anne Fadiman is like hanging out with your super-smart friend and hoping some of that intelligence rubs off on you. She is a treat. I heartily recommend any of her books, but for this one an interest in wine is helpful.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir is a loving tribute to Clifton Fadiman from his daughter Anne Fadiman as she told of his love of wine and love of his books. As she writes, "Aside from his books, he loved nothing--and no one--longer, more ardently, or more faithfully than he loved wine." And, "My father had long associated books and wine: they both sparked conversation, they both were a lifetime project, they both were pleasurable to shelve, they were the only things he collected."

Fadiman was
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, october-2017
An interesting and rather compelling biography of Fadiman’s late father, a prolific book critic, and accomplished man. Her writing is fantastic; she never fails to be witty and charming, and there is a marvellous balance struck here. The Wine Lover’s Daughter is a compelling memoir, but I felt that it lacked a little of the magic of her essays about books.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
What a sweet book about the author's relationship with her famous father but really about memory, legacy and how well we think/wish we know someone. I don't care a whit about wine and this book is still an absolute joy to spend time with.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I related to the daughter about having a parent who has a dedicated passion that you then choose not to pursue and I related to the father who wanted to escape his roots so badly and thought that wine and fluent conversational skills in western literature would give him that tickets out (or in).

When the author asks her brother why they both didn’t like wine (and the wine world) as much as their father did, he says “simple, we weren’t trying to escape our origins”. That felt like a pretty
David Litt
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cannot be unbiased when it comes to Anne Fadiman - she was one of my favorite professors in college, and so much of what I know about writing I learned from her. (And also she was kind enough to blurb my book. Clearly, this is not an objective review.)

With that said: The Wine Lover's Daughter was wonderful. Every sentence is a carefully constructed piece of art. A surprising, delightful detail lurks around each corner. And in a year when everything seemed global and Trumpy and catastrophic,
Stephen Kiernan
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a quiet but lovely daughter's memoir of her polymath writer and critic father, Clifton Fadiman -- who also loved wine.
If you are a lover of language, of the intricacies of family dynamics, of books as a sustaining intellectual nutrition, and of a fine turn of phrase to humorous or touching advantage, this is a book you will slice through in short order. You need not be a wine buff to appreciate the memoir (in fact the author is explicitly not her father's daughter in that regard) but it
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
3.5 stars. So I enjoy books (obviously), authors Anne and Clifton Fadiman and wine so I should have loved this memoir but by the end I was sort of tired of hearing about Clifton's obsession and Anne's ambivalence with wine. Clifton Fadiman was a famous book critic who wrote the New Lifetime Reading Plan which sits on my night stand. Anne is also a well known author who writes books about reading. Some chapters of this book were great but I skimmed throughthose which seemed as if they just listed ...more
Karina Szczurek
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A delight. Whether you are a lover of wine or great writing, or both, you are in for a treat.
E. C. Koch
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can't remember when it was that I first ran into the term hyperliterate but whenever I read anything by Anne Fadiman I'm reminded that there are people out there (myself not included) who have read everything and know every word and can compose the most beautifully clear prose that is both a model of erudition and scintillatingly good. The Wine Lover's Daughter - a memoir that is also a biography of Fadiman's father, Clifton, that reads like a collection of essays - offers a look at how such ...more
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this up on one of our random trips around the state to visit various libraries in our system because it sounded interesting. I love wine, but I know that I don't know much about wine, and what I drink would probably be considered downright swill by oenophiles. This book made me want to become a true lover of wine, someone like Fadiman's father, Clifton, though the great deals he got on his wines are long expired.

I had no idea who Clifton Fadiman was when I picked up this book, but his
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Is there a better essayist than Anne Fadiman? If so, I haven't found them yet. I thought this was going to be more of a straight biography of her famous father, Clifton Fadiman. But, instead it was a series of biographical essays organized around Clifton Fadiman's absolute delight in wine, and his interaction with his daughter. It seems like a complicated way to tell the story of someone's life, but it worked. My interest did wane for a little bit while she was discussing the science of taste ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-audible
Oh my, this is just so, so good. The narration is fabulous — except I needed to listen at 1.25 speed (only possible on my iPhone, not my iPod). I would highly recommend listening over reading. I loved every bit of it. I remember Clifton Fadiman only slightly — perhaps only because my father had one of his books (Reading I've Liked) in his bookcase. I already knew that his daughter Anne is an exceptionally good writer. And oh, so witty. Or he was. Well, they both are. She's every bit her father's ...more
Isabel Robertson
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely lovely tribute to a parent. Anne Fadiman is a beautiful writer and every sentence breathes love and admiration for her father and his quirks and strengths and weaknesses and background and journey.
Dec 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Reading this book made me want to do three things: learn more about wine, read books by Clifton fadiman, convince Anne fadiman to write more herself.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another endlessly quotable charmer from Fadiman (I adored Ex-Libris).

I too grew up in a relatively privileged, bookish household, with an older dad who’d also gone to Columbia and loved wine, so this book resonated in quite a few ways. I’m a bit younger than she is, but I still recognized much of the New York world she describes, and I know my dad would have.

It’s a rather distressing story, in one sense, because she’s very clear about the anti-Semitism of the day and how matter-of-fact it was.
Anne Fadiman- always a five star read. This is another winner! First book finished in 2019, although started in 2018.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Stories of fathers can be complicated. I loved that this daughter was vulnerable enough to share her own flaw - she didn’t like wine - when it was so central to her father’s life
Kem Mirsky
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
For fans of Anne Fadiman, for fans of Clifton Fadiman, and for fans of well-written memoir. Beautifully written, of course!
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-and-memoir
This memoir is enjoyable in the way that watching some classic movies are enjoyable. Entertaining and fun to see the old stars but the social mores are questionable and cringe-worthy. Clifton Fadiman was definitely of his time. In his daughter’s portrayal, he was intelligent and industrious and did everything he could to distance himself from his Jewish roots, embracing all things WASP establishment including gourmet food and fine wine. He never questioned or challenged the status quo and ...more
Amy Salvatore
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
While the book is well written by a woman who clearly loves language, I had trouble with many elements of this book. I read it with my book group. All of us love language and we enjoy a glass of wine, so the book seemed perfect. I had heard of Anne Fadiman, as a dear daughter of a friend took her class at Yale, but I had never read any of her previous books or essays. I also never heard of her father, a beloved radio personality, book reviewer, literary mind of a different time, Clifton Fadiman. ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Anne Fadiman seems to be considered one of the best living essayists, and I mostly struggled with this book due to her vastly superior intelligence and overall cultural fluency. It reminded me a bit of reading Adam Gopnik— so many of the cultural and intellectual references and jokes she made sailed right over my head. I also know virtually nothing about wine so all of the wine talk did the same. Nevertheless, I finished the book and found myself fascinated and moved by the notion of a daughter ...more
Jim Miller
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I love red wine, probably more than anything I can drink. And I loved Anne Fadiman's astounding book, "When The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down". However, I found "The Wine Lover's Daughter" to be incredibly tedious after a few chapters. Her usual impeccable detail was there. Her love for her father was present on every page. But I felt that it would have sufficed amply as a 50 page memoir. And I got tired of hearing about their wealth and it's trappings, and particularly her father's "old ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anne Fadiman's writing is always exactly what I want--incandescent, effervescent, grounded in sparkling details, and just so, so enjoyable.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I'll admit I know nothing about wine, and I really don't care to. That doesn't make Anne Fadiman's memoir, The Wine Lover's Daughter, an odd choice for me. This is the story of her father, Clifton Fadiman, and, her yearning to appreciate the same things he did, good books and fine wine. She could appreciate the good books, and she succeeded in something her father never did, teaching at an Ivy League university. But, despite all her knowledge of wine, she never developed a taste for it.

Robyn Roscoe
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Anne Fadiman is one of my favourite writers; sadly for me, she has very few books, so I was delighted to find that she’d at last produced another one. This memoir about her father is a poignant journey to find and enshrine the meaning of his life for her and for others.

Clifton Fadiman is an author I knew very little about till now. He was prolific and highly present in the American world of letters and radio, and yet much of his writing is out-of-print now, so stumbling across it is not likely.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anne Fadiman's book is a deeply loving tribute to her father, the writer and thinker Clifton Fadiman (of The Lifetime Reading Plan fame). While she does not share her father's love of wine, she did receive his lessons in how to read and write both generously and poetically. In this book she writes about him through the lens of what they shared and what they did not, using words and wine to paint a portrait that seems both honest (acknowledging several of his flaws) as well as gentle.

Perhaps the
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Anne Fadiman. I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as Ex Libris, which is why I gave it four stars. As a loving homage to her father, it is perfect. But in creating this (real) character for readers to examine, she lets him off the hook just a bit too easily; her mother is a ghost in the book, even though there is a throwaway line here or there about how her mother was a formidable writer in her own right. Fadiman’s father seems to have eclipsed his wife professionally and then been quite ...more
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Anne Fadiman, the daughter of Annalee Whitmore Jacoby Fadiman, a screenwriter and foreign correspondent, and Clifton Fadiman, an essayist and critic, was born in New York City in 1953. She graduated in 1975 from Harvard College, where she began her writing career as the undergraduate columnist at Harvard Magazine. For many years, she was a writer and columnist for Life, and later an ...more
“To nature lovers, the season of new beginnings is the spring, but to people who excel in school, it's the fall.” 1 likes
“we expect a wine of quality to demand something from us.” 0 likes
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