The Winemaker’s Daughter By Timothy Egan

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The Winemaker’s Daughter By Timothy Egan


Book/Novel Author: Timothy Egan

Book/Novel Title: The Winemaker’s Daughter

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Pulitzer Prize-winning *New York Times* national correspondent Timothy Egan turns to fiction with **The Winemaker’s Daughter** , a lyrical and gripping novel about the harsh realities and ecological challenges of turning water into wine.
When Brunella Cartolano visits her father on the family vineyard in the basin of the Cascade Mountains, she’s shocked by the devastation caused by a four-year drought. Passionate about the Pacific Northwest ecology, Brunella, a cultural impact analyst, is embroiled in a battle to save the Seattle waterfront from redevelopment and to preserve a fisherman’s livelihood. But when a tragedy among fire-jumpers results from a failure of the water supply–her brother Niccolo is among those lost–Brunella finds herself with another mission: to find out who is sabotaging the area’s water supply. Joining forces with a Native American Forest Ranger, she discovers deep rifts rooted in the region’s complicated history, and tries to save her father’s vineyard from drying up for good . . . even as violence and corruption erupt around her. **
### Review
While *The Winemaker’s Daughter* may be his first foray into fiction, Seattle author Timothy Egan is certainly no stranger to critical acclaim. As his debut novel deftly illustrates, this Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist certainly shows great talent for capturing the essence of a scene. His descriptive prose is infused with a certain lushness–just like a misty Seattle day. Where Egan stumbles, though, is in trying to bring together several plot lines and characters. While they share a thinly knit connection, none of them ever rises up to truly engage the reader. The novel follows the story of Brunella Cartolano, an Italian winemaker’s daughter who embarks on a battle to save her aging father’s Pacific Northwest vineyards after a treacherous fire takes the life of her brother, Niccolo. At the same time, Brunella is struggling to preserve a historic Seattle waterfront from being destroyed and redeveloped by a Bill Gates-like millionaire. Brunella is also pursuing a romantic relationship with her brother’s friend Teddy Flax, and with the Nez Perce Forest Service man who is investigating the fire that took her brother’s life. Confused? Herein lies the problem with what could have been a dreamy, well-conceived look at life in the post-dot-com era of the Pacific Northwest–Egan strives to accomplish too much in too few pages. Rather than positioning itself as an epic tale of betrayal, love, lust, and loyalty, *The Winemaker’s Daughter* never truly develops the themes that are so central to its success. *–Gisele Toueg*
### From Publishers Weekly
Scattered, clumsy and overearnest, this debut novel by Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Egan tells the story of Brunella Cartolano, an architect who strives to save the family vineyards in the arid wine country east of Washington’s Cascade Mountains. On a visit home, Brunella finds her widowed father aging quickly and a water crisis underway; after four years of drought, tempers are frayed in the region. A fire breaks out nearby, and Brunella’s younger brother, Niccolo, a firejumper on his summer break from college, is sent to fight it, along with Teddy Flax, a neighbor with a romantic interest in Brunella. Something goes wrong, and Niccolo is killed; Teddy is terribly disfigured. Brunella is enmeshed in the investigation of the tragedy and works with Leon Treadtoofar, the Nez Perce Forest Service man trying to find out who was at fault for the mishap. Meanwhile, Brunella is caught up in a feud over stolen water, finds herself battling the Seattle company she is working for and tries to prevent the sale of the family farm by her unscrupulous older brother, Robert. Egan shakily juggles his convoluted and competing plot lines, skipping erratically from scene to scene. When he slows down, some evocative moments emerge, among them the smoke-jumping episodes and Brunella’s dramatic meeting in a church with Teddy. But Egan never manages to make the crusading, Italian-spouting Brunella engaging, and awkward dialogue, unconvincing relationships and forced symbolism further hamstring the novel. Egan’s nonfiction journey through the American West, Lasso the Wind (1998), was widely praised; with this foray into fiction, he loses his way.
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