I wrote a few weeks ago about the publication of the first English edition of the popular and highly-praised Japanese manga cartoon novel, The Drops of God. Written by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto, this series has built a strong following in Japan and France over the past five years and publication of the remaining volumes in the series, translated into English, is now underway and will continue into 2012.
If you are looking for a gift for the wine lover on your shopping list this item would be an excellent idea, especially if budget is a consideration.
Volume 1 is a page-turner. It takes perhaps 90 minutes to read but I suggest you take it a bit more slowly to ensure you pick up all the nuances. The story is presented in a stream-of-conscious style and it is easy to miss details if you read too quickly. The wine elements of the book are accurate and I assure all readers there are factoids on wine you will likely learn for the first time as you read.
The story is entertaining and Volume 1 merely does the set up for a story that will unfold in the next three planned translations. The plot line starts to develop in Volume 1 as do the individual characters: enough so to whet the reader’s appetite for the next book in the series.
I can understand how The Drops of God has established its reputation to create Parker-like demand for the wines it reveals in the story. The descriptions of each wine stand out as unique in the realm of tasting notes.
“The first aroma is a burst of blackcurrant and other dark fruits on the assault…hints of fresh herbs fill the nasal cavity…and there wafts the mature scent of faint traces of nutmeg, ripe figs and pepper…The strength of the earth, full of heaven’s bounty, awakens from its long slumber. I compare this wine to a painting that uses thick strokes like a plow singing the earth’s praise, layering the canvas with paint” (Château Mouton-Rothschild 1982)
“An orchard covered in red flowers. The ground is overgrown with herbs like mint and cinnamon. In both hands I hold black cherries, redcurrants, plums and large, ripe strawberries.” (Echezaux)
This is a very fine book and I recommend it as a read for an air trip or an afternoon diversion over the holidays. I suggest the next books in the series will also be worth buying…to see how the story unfolds, to learn some more things about wine and to see who finally succeeds in receiving the proceeds from the estate of the late esteemed wine critic Yutaka Kanzaki.
Note this book is a wrong way book for North Americans. This book is read back to front, right to left. It takes maybe three pages turns to get into the groove and once you get going it is a true page-turner.
Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2011.