365 Days of Wine

Review of The Connoisseurs; Michael O’Neill 2013; pp 192

– Shana Susan Ninan

Author Michael O’Neill has made sure that even those unacquainted with the wine world don’t feel left out, in reading his The Connoisseurs. It’s a refreshing novel about a year in the life of a wine shop in Plumbly Fold, the imaginary champagne capital of Great Britain. Corkscrews is a chain of wine shops across the area, and the one here seems to house odd but interesting people. The fact that all four employees are men is a curious fact.

The three main characters are at loggerheads with each other – so to speak – with a young boy thrown in between. Written in a diary format – complete with date, place and terse paragraphs – the story is told through the life of Jim, the newest employee of the shop. Alan is a psychotic, control-freak boss, and Laurie is the OCD maniac.

The plot is very relatable for those who’ve worked in shops, keeping tabs on customers, distinguishing between the genuine ones and the those just passing time. It runs smoothly from one day to the next, often leaving the reader anticipating the next day’s events. The language is well-articulated, though there are a couple of words/ phrases that the uninitiated in winery will have to look up the meaning of.

Interpersonal relationships at workplace are defined very early on in the book, and the author has done a very good job of rounding off the characters well. Their emotions and tugs are revealed from the first page onwards.

The spacing of the text and paragraphs are a little tedious for the eye. Especially for readers who’d like to read several pages at one go. I found the first few pages a little dry, too. Probably was the time for me to be initiated into the plot of the book. Breaking Banana Bread, The Great Champagne Disaster and the Apple Queen Election are all parts of the book I enjoyed. The narrative shows the in-depth knowledge of the writer in fields dealt with.

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Rating: 6.4/10 (5 votes cast)
365 Days of Wine, 6.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 9:17 pm and is filed under Non-Fiction, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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