THE VINTAGE by Ursula Keir


Email this review


The harvesting of the grapes at Espagne, a Saint Michel vineyard, provides an arresting setting for a story of tenderness and anguish and native humor which grows out of the coming of the itinerant workers to the vineyard. Earliest of the workers, before the Basque Eduardo and his cohorts, before the Frenchmen who alternate in the vineyards, are two Italians. The younger, Ernesto, is tense with fear and anger, an anger which has led him to kill a drunken American soldier after the rape of a young Italian girl. The other, Giancarlo, has brought Ernesto with him from Genoa, and he feels the need of quiet after his work as a shipyard leader. It is Giancarlo whose kindness wins the hearts of his fellow workers and even penetrates the loneliness of the vineyard owner down from Paris for the harvesting. And it is Giancarlo who gives young Lucienne her first love and then is killed on the eve of the vintage in the midst of the festivities. The restraint of telling, the unusual circumstances, the attentive insight in characterization give a warm poignance to this vintage of Espagne. But the market may be rather special too.

Publisher: William Sloane