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Corkscrew

The Highly Improbable, but Occasionally True, Tale of a Professional Wine Buyer
Narrated by: Peter Stafford-Bow
Length: 13 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Summary

Nominated for The People's Book Prize 2018. 

Felix, a tragic orphan, is expelled from school, cast out onto the British high street, and forced to make his way in the cutthroat world of wine retail. Thanks to a positive mental attitude, he is soon forging a promising career, his sensual adventures taking him to the vineyards of Italy, South Africa, Bulgaria, and Kent.

His path to the summit, however, is littered with obstacles. Petty office politics, psychotic managers, and the British Board of Wine & Liquor prove challenging enough. But when Felix negotiates the world's biggest Asti Spumante deal, he is plunged into a vicious world of Mafiosi, people smuggling, and ruthless multinationals.

Part thriller, part self-help manual, and part drinking companion, Corkscrew is a coruscating critique of neoliberal capitalism, religious intolerance, and the perils of blind tasting.

©2018 Peter Stafford-Bow (P)2018 Peter Stafford-Bow

Critic reviews

"One of the funniest novels I've ever read. I honestly didn't want this book to end." (The Wine Stalker)  

"Boasting casual storytelling mastery and the sharp-tongued wit of Tom Robbins, Peter Stafford-Bow presents an incredibly amusing and unpredictable tale. For wine lovers or those who simply love a great story, this is a mad ramble through the tangled world of wine, taking readers across two continents and countless adventures of one exceptional character, Felix Hart. Corkscrew is a strange cross between a thriller and a farce, but Stafford-Bow pulls it off with panache - and a self-aware smirk on his face." (John Staughton, author)

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What members say

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Brilliantly funny and wonderfully creative!

Picture Tom Jones, transplanted into the 21st century, as a wine-obsessed playboy dashing from one crazy adventure to the next, and you'll have some idea of what you're in for. But this young Tom (or Felix) is more worldly-wise, and his internal machinations bring to mind How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

As I'm not into wine - at all - I approached this with a little trepidation, attracted mainly by the vaguely Wodehousian cover art, but soon found myself irretrievably hooked by the rollicking adventures and carefully crafted plot. The author has a fantastic grasp of language, always finding just the right turn of phrase to send me into hysterics. And I imagine anyone who loves their wine will enjoy this book even more than I did.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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very funny

very entertaining Tom Sharpe style romp through the world of wine. helps to have some wine knowledge/interest. The "thriller" sub-plot not really necessary and seemed an afterthought. one point knocked off for not employing a professional narrator. Never a good idea!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Hilarious!

I loved this book. Such a funny tale, I can’t wait to listen to what Felix gets up to next!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Immensely enjoyable

Very amusing. Even more so as I harbour more than a hunch about the true identity of the author. Looking forward to the next instalment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wine and Comedy - what's not to like?

Having read the paperback in 2016 I saw this on Audible and thought I'd give it a go - I recalled enjoying it, but had happily forgotten a lot of the jokes and some of the detail. I repeat my review left in 2016 - my opinion has not changed in terms of the story :

More a blend than a single varietal : 60% humour, 20% satire, 20% realism - all combined into a picaresque style novel that leaves you with a taste for more and no hangover whatsoever. Looking forward to reading more about Felix, and seeing how the books develop - am hopeful the next vintage surpasses this bright early harvest corker. The set pieces, especially the one at the huge wine tasting, were particularly memorable.

In terms of the performance - it's true, as some other reviewers have referenced, that it is not 'professional' - but I liked it. Firstly it shows that the author is committed. Committed to not wanting to splash out on Stephen Fry. Bravo. Secondly, it's what Felix would have done so is entirely in keeping with the book. Cheers!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It's Wine Jim, but not as you know it.

A highly entertaining romp through the world of wine and an improbable lifestyle, along with a rare collection of characters.

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very amusing

A little far fetched at times but some hilarious moments and so graphic you can cringe as you listen. I found it only to easy to form a mental picture in my mind of some of the incidents. Quite illuminating on the wine front too.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-10-18

Review

Absolutely delightfully entertaining - it made my long drive to work an enjoyable time - I applaud the author - well done!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Roger C Deal
  • 15-06-19

Hilarious!

This is not a wine book, so much as it is a great story. I drive a lot for work and found myself on several occasions idling at my destination not wanting to get out until there was a good break in the story.

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  • mark hensley
  • 10-05-19

decent story but the performance needs editing

good, but the authors heavy breathing at times of long run needs to be edited out.

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  • Todd Steele
  • 20-03-19

Warning: Politically Incorrect

But pretty darned funny. The author’s self-read is excellent. Enough actual wine knowledge to satisfy the informed but not to intimidate the novice.

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  • peter
  • 05-01-19

Very entertaining

I bought this book as a wine lover and although I didn't really learn anything new about wine itself in the book, I was very engaged in the story which is entertaining and funny (even hilarious at times). The reading performance by the author is A+ and this makes the audiobook even better than the real book.

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  • Karl
  • 21-12-18

I just couldn’t stop laughing on the train

I had to stop listening when commuting, couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. Peter Stafford-Bow is a great narrator as well as author. Learned new things about wine whilst listening. The incredible fantastic story of Felix Hearth was just great. A sunshine story in the otherwise grey weeks up towards Christmas.
I recommend this book. It’s just great.

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  • Yenrab Namrehs
  • 10-10-18

Funniest Book I've Heard In A Long Time

The book is a wildly entertaining romp with more twists than a alpine switchback road. Laugh put loud funny, filled with characters one can only hope are fictional, and a perfectly written story. Listen and laugh.

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  • Dr. S
  • 29-09-18

Hysterically funny

One of the most enjoyable books I’ve listened to. The narration is superb, and I enjoyed the authors depth of knowledge about wine. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times throughout the book.

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  • Jeffrey
  • 13-09-18

a great and funny book

I loved this book. Bought it after hearing the author on We like drinking podcast.