Wine-sodden and wrong

2008-06-04 00:00

A novel in four vintages, this is a book with a fine bouquet underscored with traces of bitter-sweet notes. More plainly, it is the tragic story of a workaholic turned alcoholic, as he is subjected to the whims of the whores of fate.

We meet Wilberforce as an oxidised, broken man on the verge of bankruptcy and insanity. His passion for wine has eclipsed his life. His health, mind and finances are fermenting fast, as he embarks on graceful orgies of wine gluttony. In chapter one, Wilberforce goes out to an exclusive upper-class restaurant. There he orders three bottles of wine — two of which are the delectable Château Pétrus 1982 at £3 000 a bottle — and becomes thoroughly hammered. He is ejected from the eatery and returns home in a haze with alcohol poisoning playing nasty tricks on his mind and havoc with his body.

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