The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce
by Paul Torday
"It was the fruit in the garden that turned, in the end, to ashes in my mouth."
Paul Torday's follow up to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, shows him to be that rare author who can write literary prose that makes you want to stop and savour the flavours and yet can also weave a great story so that you end up wanting to glug back the book at the same time.
"I took a sip again and rolled the liquid around on my palate, to savour its complex flavours."
He also side-steps the pit that some other authors have recently fallen into with their "difficult" second book and delivered a cracking novel.
The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce introduces Wilberforce, an intelligent software developer who has built up his own business, enjoying a bottle of 1982 Chateau Petrus (£3000 a bottle!)
The sommelier took a step back - "The Chateau Petrus? Monsieur is quite certain?"
and then pulls back the veil to reveal a man with little emotional intelligence about to self destruct.
How has he got to the point of death?
What changed in his life from years of working late at the office building up his company?
The answer is friendship.
And the answer is explored as Paul takes you back in time to unfold the tragic fall.
"Poor Wilberforce," she said. "You've no idea how to be a human being at all, have you?"
It is a book that is clever and has a heart and a charm that reminded me of why I love reading so much. If you like the experience of reading a book that pushes away the world around you and lulls you into its embrace, with only the smell and rustle of paper to remind you of your surroundings, then buy this now and enjoy.
"Do you ever have that feeling? Have you had that absolute sense of conviction: that after all, life is going to turn out really well for you?"
Paul Torday lives in Northumberland and has travelled the Middle East for the last 10 years whilst working as an engineer.
My exclusive Interview with Paul on The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce in which he talks about
the wine he likes
and the title (originally called Bordeaux!)