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2.3 8
by Kathryn Borel

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Meet Kathryn Borel, bon vivant and undutiful daughter. Now meet her father, Philippe, former chef, eccentric genius, and wine aficionado extraordinaire. Kathryn is like her father in every way but one: she's totally ignorant when it comes to wine. And although Philippe has devoted untold parenting hours to delivering impassioned oenological orations, she has


Meet Kathryn Borel, bon vivant and undutiful daughter. Now meet her father, Philippe, former chef, eccentric genius, and wine aficionado extraordinaire. Kathryn is like her father in every way but one: she's totally ignorant when it comes to wine. And although Philippe has devoted untold parenting hours to delivering impassioned oenological orations, she has managed to remain unenlightened. But after an accident and a death, Kathryn realizes that by shutting herself off to her father's greatest passion, she will never really know him. Accordingly, she proposes a drunken father-daughter road trip. Corked is the uncensored account of their tour through the great wine regions of France. Uproarious, poignant, painfully introspective, and filled with cunning little details about wine, this is a book for any reader who has sought a connection with a complex family member or wanted to overcome the paralyzing terror of being faced with a restaurant wine list.

Editorial Reviews

"Borel writes with plenty of humor as her father's absurd perfectionism gives birth to many dramatically charged encounters with natives as the pair progresses about the French countryside."
San Antonio Express-News
By turns unfailingly funny, wryly raw and powerfully poignant.
Lincoln Journal Star
"Witty, provocative, informative, this memoir is hilarious at times, yet also wistful, wise and inspiring."
San Antonio Express News
"By turns unfailingly funny, wryly raw and powerfully poignant."
Publishers Weekly
In 2005, 20-something Canadian Borel and her 60-something French-born hotelier father set out by car on a days-long French wine “safari.” Borel, who works at the Canadian Broadcasting Company, desired a deeper connection to her father, but was also seeking escape from both the aftermath of a recent breakup and slightly older memories of a fatal car accident for which she bore responsibility. The trip's early stages were strained by travel sickness and father-daughter bickering, and as the abundantly detailed tour improved and progressed, the shadow of her father and his mortality fell ever sharper, if sometimes self-consciously. Borel's father emerges as a storytelling curmudgeon with a penchant for public humiliations who instinctively retreats into inappropriate humor; the narrator, meanwhile, comes across as emotional if not downright maudlin, and candid if not completely narcissistic. She lacks her father's knowledge of wine, a shortfall she covers with seemingly childish behavior. But then her wine-tasting experiences lead Borel to genuine breakthroughs, making her more confident and, in effect, bringing her relationship with her father to a breaking point. The narrative ends in a reconciliation that, like the whole book, is refreshingly unsentimental, grounded, perhaps to an extreme, in flashes of candor and humor. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
A prickly young journalist reconnects with her father, a hot-tempered oenophile, on a wine trip through France. Borel and her father, Philippe, have always had a rocky relationship. Philippe is a former chef and hotelier, and throughout Borel's youth, the family lived in hotels across the world. They finally settled in Quebec City, where Borel was involved in a fatal car accident. Though she was not at fault, the guilt of the other person's death still haunts her. Her father's response-or, in her opinion, lack thereof-plagues her too. Yet her love for her mysterious father, who shares her own bizarre brand of dark humor, transcends any lingering adolescent wounds, and the two embarked in a tiny car to meander through the French countryside. Throughout the trip, Borel grapples with two issues: her lack of wine "sense"-she could not even tell when a bottle was corked-and her father's looming mortality. Borel deftly captures the confusing emotions that surround parent-child relationships, especially the need for comfort and understanding that competes with a desire to rebel and establish one's own identity. Yet the author's gift for portraying that psychological whirlwind also causes the book to feel scattered at times. As she spirals through her existential crisis, the structure of the narrative flounders into semi-articulate emotional rants and only regains footing once she and her father are back on the road. Philippe's voice is so disarmingly charming and funny, however, that he assuages any sense of confusion on the part of the reader, and Borel, after these sidesteps. It is easy to understand the author's desire to bond with him. A fast-paced read with nuggets of wine trivia that willappeal to anyone who has struggled to understand their parents.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

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.

In 2002 she moved to Toronto to follow a man. The relationship ended.

She continues to live in Toronto where she works at the Canadian Broadcasting Company. She has written food and wine reviews for radio and print. Her journalism includes a column which ran in the National Post under the title "Indignities." Corked is her first book.

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Corked: A Memoir 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
JaneLC More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: The thing I enjoyed best about reading this book, was its eye-catching mustard-yellow cover. I even loved the font used for the title. I was sure I was going to enjoy immersing myself in the romantic wine country and culture of France, but I have to say with honesty, that did not happen. The book focuses on the rather pathetic relationship of Kathryn Borel and her father, Philippe. In itself, that might be okay for the sake of reality, but it's not at all entertaining or engaging. I think the author forgot that a reader needs to feel something for the main characters, at the very least, pity, compassion, or mild interest, in order to stick with the reading. Personally, I detested Philippe, and felt no compunction to listen to Kathryn's recounting of her story. While the author gives us some very nice descriptions, at times, the foul language and repulsive crudeness at other times, nullified its impact. I guess you could say, as a reader, I just didn't get it. So I'm giving this book my lowest rating. I use Acceptable to allow that others might feel differently. A complimentary review copy was provided by The Hachette Book Group
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tribute_Books_Reviews More than 1 year ago
How do some books get published? In the case of CORKED, it is apparent that if Kathryn Borel wasn't a radio producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, her memoir would not have seen the light of day. It seems the Hachette Book Group took a chance on Kathryn more for who she is than what she wrote. The angle focuses on the struggle of a father and daughter to connect. Kathryn records her mixed emotions regarding her father, Philippe. During a trip to France, they visit world-renown vineyards. Philippe is a wine connoisseur, while Kathryn is uncomfortable expressing herself in the language of the palette. Her emotions are corked. They are not gaining release. Months prior to the trip, she accidentally killed a jaywalking pedestrian. Due to the coincidence of her boyfriend's father having previously died in a car crash, their relationship becomes strained and eventually ends. She cannot return the intensity of his love, yet she continues to reach out to him in moments of weakness. Kathryn is fully aware that she is selfishly using him, but can't seem to help herself. Philippe's feelings, on the other hand, are always on the surface ready to explode or shrouded beneath a sulky silence. He's either making a scene in a restaurant over a perceived lack of service or refusing to utter a word during a winery tour due to the supposed impoliteness of their host. He also frequently acts inappropriately around his daughter appearing in nothing but a towel or discussing his sexual prowess. An aspect that is especially grating is the display of insensitivity. In grade school, Kathryn joked about having Down Syndrome and reflects on the moment in a comical light. When arguing with her father while driving, she threatens to crash into a tree causing a murder/suicide. She continues to hound her ex-boyfriend with emails and text messages while having casual sex with three different men. The pair's manners regarding hygiene are quite atrocious. Philippe reuses soiled Q-tips. Kathryn picks lint out of her belly button in public. They find camaraderie in the sentiment, "Do you ever get the feeling that you just want to take a baby and kick it across the room and watch it smash against the wall?" Philippe is not the best of fathers. He has a hard time remembering Kathryn's date of birth. He lets strange men ogle his daughter's breasts without saying a word. But the main point of contention is that he didn't offer Kathryn the emotional support she needed after the accident. As their trip comes to a close, Philippe reveals a long-held secret about his past. Does this excuse his past cowardly, selfish behavior? Do they reach a turning point in their relationship? It's hard to say. Overall, wine aficionados will delight in CORKED's vintages, but readers thirsting for a heartwarming memoir need to open another bottle.
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