The Winemaker'S Daughter

The Winemaker'S Daughter

  • Publish Date: 2005-01-11
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Timothy Egan
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Vintage
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Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times national correspondent Timothy Egan turns to fiction with The Winemaker's Daughter, a lyrical and gripping novel about the harsh realities and ecological challenges of turning water into wine.

When Brunella Cartolano visits her father on the family vineyard in the basin of the Cascade Mountains, she's shocked by the devastation caused by a four-year drought. Passionate about the Pacific Northwest ecology, Brunella, a cultural impact analyst, is embroiled in a battle to save the Seattle waterfront from redevelopment and to preserve a fisherman's livelihood. But when a tragedy among fire-jumpers results from a failure of the water supplyher brother Niccolo is among those lost--Brunella finds herself with another mission: to find out who is sabotaging the area's water supply. Joining forces with a Native American Forest Ranger, she discovers deep rifts rooted in the region's complicated history, and tries to save her father's vineyard from drying up for good . . . even as violence and corruption erupt around her. While The Winemaker's Daughter may be his first foray into fiction, Seattle author Timothy Egan is certainly no stranger to critical acclaim. As his debut novel deftly illustrates, this Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist certainly shows great talent for capturing the essence of a scene. His descriptive prose is infused with a certain lushness--just like a misty Seattle day. Where Egan stumbles, though, is in trying to bring together several plot lines and characters. While they share a thinly knit connection, none of them ever rises up to truly engage the reader.

The novel follows the story of Brunella Cartolano, an Italian winemaker's daughter who embarks on a battle to save her aging father's Pacific Northwest vineyards after a treacherous fire takes the life of her brother, Niccolo. At the same time, Brunella is struggling to preserve a historic Seattle waterfront from being destroyed and redeveloped by a Bill Gates-like millionaire. Brunella is also pursuing a romantic relationship with her brother's friend Teddy Flax, and with the Nez Perce Forest Service man who is investigating the fire that took her brother's life. Confused? Herein lies the problem with what could have been a dreamy, well-conceived look at life in the post-dot-com era of the Pacific Northwest--Egan strives to accomplish too much in too few pages. Rather than positioning itself as an epic tale of betrayal, love, lust, and loyalty, The Winemaker's Daughter never truly develops the themes that are so central to its success. --Gisele Toueg

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