Corked: A Memoir by Kathryn Borel
Meet Philippe Borel, retired hotelier, former chef, and eccentric genius, and his daughter, Kathryn Borel. Kathryn is a clone of her father in every way except one: he is a wine expert and she couldn't care less. Philippe has dedicated the better part of his life to researching, collecting, and studying wine. And since Kathryn's birth, he has dedicated the better part of his parenting to teaching her about wine, to no avail.
After an accident and a death, Kathryn realizes that by shutting herself off to her father's relentless wine-stained orations, she has shut herself off from an integral part of him. And so, she proposes a father-daughter road trip. Corked is her no-holds-barred account of their tour through Alsace, Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone, and the Languedoc.
Though Corked is a book for anyone who has never understood how wine can taste like beetroot, wet dog, cigar smoke, coffee bean, or anything other than "wine," it is, above all, for anyone who has awoken one morning glove-slapped by the realization that his or her parents will die one day, and in the name of love and genes and existential insight and friendship, has wanted to figure out who they are.
I was excited to read Corked largely because of the father-daughter story behind the book. It was interesting to read about this family of gourmets and wine aficionados. I think that someone more knowledgeable about wines and vineyards would have gotten much more out of the book. I personally found Philippe to be such an unsympathetic character and poor father that it diminished my enjoyment of their journey. Instead of chuckling at Phillipe's selfishness and petty whims, I found myself wanting to skim over the passages where he appeared. If you can muster sympathy for Philppe and Kathryn Borel, then in reading Corked, you will uncover a story of love, friendship and family.
ISBN-10: 0446409502 - Hardcover $23.99
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 16, 2010), 272 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Kathryn Borel was born in 1979 in Toronto, the daughter of a hotelier. / After several years, she became the older sister to Nico, who was named after the family cat. She spent her early years living in hotels in Paris, Bermuda, Dallas, and New Jersey, finally settling in Quebec City.
Thank you to Anna and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!