counter The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

A new memoir by the celebrated essayist that explores her relationship with her father, a lover of wine In The Wine Lover's Daughter, Anne Fadiman examines with all her characteristic wit and feeling her relationship with her father, the celebrated multihyphenate and lover of wine Clifton Fadiman. A renowned literary critic, editor, and radio host, Clifton was born in Brook A new memoir by the celebrated essayist that explores her relationship with her father, a lover of wine In The Wine Lover's Daughter, Anne Fadiman examines with all her characteristic wit and feeling her relationship with her father, the celebrated multihyphenate and lover of wine Clifton Fadiman. A renowned literary critic, editor, and radio host, Clifton was born in Brooklyn, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and spent the rest of his life trying to get away from it. An appreciation of wine along with a plummy upper-crust accent, expensive suits, and an encyclopedic knowledge of Western literature was an essential element of Clifton s escape from lower-middle-class Brooklyn to swanky Manhattan. The Wine Lover's Daughter traces the arc of a man's infatuation, from the glass of cheap Graves he drank in 1927 in a Parisian department store; to the Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1904 he drank to celebrate his eightieth birthday, when he and the bottle were exactly the same age; to the wines that sustained him during the last years of his life, when he was blind but still buoyed, as he had always been, by hedonism. Wine is the spine of this touching memoir; the life and character of Fadiman s father, along with her relationship with him and her own less ardent relationship with wine, are the flesh. A poignant and thoughtful exploration of love, ambition, class, family, and the pleasures of the palate, The Wine Lover's Daughter is a splendid return to form by one of our finest essayists.


Compare

A new memoir by the celebrated essayist that explores her relationship with her father, a lover of wine In The Wine Lover's Daughter, Anne Fadiman examines with all her characteristic wit and feeling her relationship with her father, the celebrated multihyphenate and lover of wine Clifton Fadiman. A renowned literary critic, editor, and radio host, Clifton was born in Brook A new memoir by the celebrated essayist that explores her relationship with her father, a lover of wine In The Wine Lover's Daughter, Anne Fadiman examines with all her characteristic wit and feeling her relationship with her father, the celebrated multihyphenate and lover of wine Clifton Fadiman. A renowned literary critic, editor, and radio host, Clifton was born in Brooklyn, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and spent the rest of his life trying to get away from it. An appreciation of wine along with a plummy upper-crust accent, expensive suits, and an encyclopedic knowledge of Western literature was an essential element of Clifton s escape from lower-middle-class Brooklyn to swanky Manhattan. The Wine Lover's Daughter traces the arc of a man's infatuation, from the glass of cheap Graves he drank in 1927 in a Parisian department store; to the Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1904 he drank to celebrate his eightieth birthday, when he and the bottle were exactly the same age; to the wines that sustained him during the last years of his life, when he was blind but still buoyed, as he had always been, by hedonism. Wine is the spine of this touching memoir; the life and character of Fadiman s father, along with her relationship with him and her own less ardent relationship with wine, are the flesh. A poignant and thoughtful exploration of love, ambition, class, family, and the pleasures of the palate, The Wine Lover's Daughter is a splendid return to form by one of our finest essayists.

30 review for The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melora

    Despite my “hail fellow, well met!” attitude toward alcohol in general, I'm not a big wine person. That is, I'm perfectly happy to drink grocery store zinfandels and moscatos which Clifton Fadiman would have scorned to pour into his stew (if he had cooked, which, as his daughter tells us, he didn't), but I'd rather have whiskey or rum (or gin or vodka!). Still, I enjoyed The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir very much. Even the parts about wine, which were painlessly instructive. While Fadiman spe Despite my “hail fellow, well met!” attitude toward alcohol in general, I'm not a big wine person. That is, I'm perfectly happy to drink grocery store zinfandels and moscatos which Clifton Fadiman would have scorned to pour into his stew (if he had cooked, which, as his daughter tells us, he didn't), but I'd rather have whiskey or rum (or gin or vodka!). Still, I enjoyed The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir very much. Even the parts about wine, which were painlessly instructive. While Fadiman spends plenty of time on wine and her dismay over her failure to enjoy the thing which, along with books, her father loved most, this is a memoir, a loving but clear-eyed appreciation of her father's life. As the daughter of another New York secular Jew and cultural and intellectual snob (though my father was born thirty-eight years later, graduated from Cornell rather than Columbia, and enjoys the outdoors!), I was by turns fascinated and horrified by the casual institutionalized antisemitism Anne Fadiman's father endured (I'd heard the story of how he was turned down for a professorship in the Columbia English department because they had hired Lionel Trilling and “We have room for only one Jew” before, but it's still awful). Fadiman doesn't dwell excessively on the negative, though (but enough to illuminate the ways she believes her father's quirks were responses to the prejudices of society), offering a portrait of a gregarious, intellectually vigorous, ambitious, generous man who was passionate about sharing his enthusiasms – for books, wine, and civilized living – with as wide an audience as possible.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vishy

    Anne Fadiman is one of my favourite writers. Her essay collection 'Ex Libris' is one of my alltime favourite books. But unfortunately her literary output is very thin. Anne Fadiman is like the J.D.Salinger or Harper Lee of our times. There are two essay collections, 'Ex Libris' and 'At Large and at Small', and one non-fiction book about the Hmong community called 'The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down', in her backlist. She has also edited two essay collections, 'Rereadings : Seventeen Writer Anne Fadiman is one of my favourite writers. Her essay collection 'Ex Libris' is one of my alltime favourite books. But unfortunately her literary output is very thin. Anne Fadiman is like the J.D.Salinger or Harper Lee of our times. There are two essay collections, 'Ex Libris' and 'At Large and at Small', and one non-fiction book about the Hmong community called 'The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down', in her backlist. She has also edited two essay collections, 'Rereadings : Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love' and 'The Best American Essays 2003'. I have seen an introduction by her in another book, whose title I can't remember. That is all there is. Three books, two edited collections, and one essay somewhere. It is slim. It makes Anne Fadiman fans like me yearn for more, everyday. So any new Anne Fadiman book is an event. When I discovered that Anne Fadiman's new book was coming out, I was so excited. It was called 'The Wine Lover's Daughter' and it was a memoir about her father. When I got the book and held it in my hands, I was so happy. I read it slowly over the last week and finished reading it yesterday. 'The Wine Lover's Daughter' is mostly about Anne Fadiman's father Clifton Fadiman. Clifton Fadiman was a famous writer of his era. He mostly wrote essays and edited anthologies. He was the editor-in-chief at Simon and Schuster, a book reviewer for The New Yorker, was part of the Book-of-the-Month club, was on the Board of the Encyclopedia Britannica, was a radio host of a programme on books, and also anchored a literary quiz show on television. He was also a lover of wine. In the book, Anne Fadiman talks about how her father started from humble beginnings as part of an East European Jewish immigrant family, how he fell in love with books when he was a kid, a love affair which lasted for his whole life, how he faced discrimination at different times because of his Jewish background, how he tried to escape from his Jewish background and become a regular WASP intellectual, and which led to his fascination and love for wine, which became another of his lifelong love affairs. Anne Fadiman also talks about her own relationship with her father, about her own ambiguous relationship with wine, and during the course of the book she takes our hand and leads us into the Fadiman house where we get to hear private conversations between the family members, their thoughts and feelings and their points of view, and understand the fascinating, affectionate, complex relationships between them. On the way, Anne Fadiman dedicates a chapter to her mother, who was an accomplished person too and was a war correspondent in the Far East before she got married to Clifton Fadiman. That chapter made me want to read more about Anne Fadiman's mother, Annalee Whitmore Jacoby Fadiman. There are some anecdotes in the book involving famous people, including P.L.Travers, Ernest Hemingway and M.F.K.Fisher. They were all interesting to read. Though the book is a memoir, it is also about the love for wine. It describes how Anne Fadiman's father first discovered wine and how he developed a lifelong love for it. This is what the book says about the first time he tried wine. #BeginQuote1 He always said this first taste felt less like a new experience than like an old one that had been waiting all his life for him to catch up to it. He tried to describe it by analogy - it was like Plato's doctrine of reminiscence, or like the moment when the hero of Conrad's "Youth" reaches the East, or like Napoleon's realization that he was born to be a soldier - but invariably fell back on the language of eros. The Graves spoke to him : "I am your fate. You are mine. Love me." #EndQuote1 In another place, Anne Fadiman talks about her father's love for wine. Here is how it goes. #BeginQuote2 Aside from books, he loved nothing - and no one - longer, more ardently, or more faithfully than he loved wine. These were some of his reasons. Wine provided sensory pleasures equaled only by sex. Wine was complex. "Water and milk," he wrote, "may be excellent drinks, but their charms are repetitive. God granted them swallowability, and rested." Wine was various, both in its chemistry (alcoholic content, sugar, iron, tannins) and in its moods (champagne for celebration, port for consolation). Wine was companionable. "A bottle of wine begs to be shared," he wrote. "I have never met a miserly wine lover." #EndQuote2 This list goes on for the next couple of pages. In another page, Anne Fadiman describes what her father says about how wine ages across the years. #BeginQuote3 My father wrote that wine is "not dead matter, like a motorcar, but a live thing." It moves through the same life cycle as a human being : infancy, youth, prime, old age, senescence. Unfortified wines have shorter life spans than Madeira, but a great red wine, properly stored, can last a century, evolving with each passing decade. It's not like a bottle of Coca-Cola or vodka, exactly the same no matter when you open it. #EndQuote3 When Clifton Fadiman's eightieth birthday was celebrated by his family and friends, the invite contained a facsimile of The New York Times from the day of his birth, with a news item about his birth 'Clifton Fadiman born : Brooklyn stunned by great event.' Below that was this description : "Fadiman's mother, Grace, was heard to complain that her son had turned down a bottle of milk and asked instead for a bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild '29. His father, Isadore, explained that this request would be difficult to fill because it was only 1904." That passage made me smile :) There are many interesting facts about wine in the book, most of them well known to wine lovers. But if you are like me, you might like these three. #BeginQuote4 "We can still drink port and sherry from the nineteenth century because they are fortified wines, infused with brandy to halt fermentation." "With the exception of sweet dessert wines, white wines are less durable because the tannin-rich grape skins are removed from the juice before fermentation - which is also why they're white, since the juice of all grapes, both red and white, is nearly colorless; it's the skins that provide the pigment." "We tasted the wine. I thought it would be strong and sour (a word shunned by wine connoisseurs - they call it dry)." #EndQuote4 The book mentions many famous wines like Château Mouton Rothschild '29, Château Lafite Rothschild 1904, Haut-Brion, Madeira 1835. It mentions Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines. It mentions Bordeaux and Burgundys. If you love wines and these names mean something to you, reading about them will give you goosebumps. Though Anne Fadiman mostly says nice things about her father, and shares her love for him with us readers, she doesn't shy away from his flaws. For example, in one place she says this : #BeginQuote5 "My father was a male chauvinist. He liked women - relished them, studied them, adored them. As a good progressive...he supported the Equal Rights Amendment...But that didn't stop him from being reflexively condescending...He asserted that although they were better drivers...women are not as good at conversation and they know absolutely nothing about wine...he continued to make jokes about the bird-witted literary tastes of housewives; to call women "girls"; and, in both speech and writing, to use "he" when he meant "he or she"...My father believed there were certain things only a man should do. Earn more than his spouse. Pay the check at a restaurant. Hold the tickets at an airport. Be the last through a door. Tell the taxi driver where to go. Repeat an off-color joke." #EndQuote5 I admired Anne Fadiman for saying that. Two-thirds into the book, Anne Fadiman spends a whole chapter on how her father became blind in his old age. When her father realizes that he wouldn't be able to see again, he has a conversation with her. This is how it goes. #BeginQuote6 "He told me there were two reasons his life was no longer worth living : he would burden my mother, and he couldn't read. He asked if I would help him die." #EndQuote6 When I read that, I cried. That is the worst thing that can happen to a book lover - losing sight. It was heartbreaking to read. The book has notes in the end and a reasonably long acknowledgement section. Like in any Anne Fadiman book, these are beautiful, charming, informative and heartwarming. Fadiman writes the best acknowledgement pages. Well, we have reached the end of this review now. Or nearly there. 'The Wine Lover's Daughter' is a beautiful book. It is vintage Anne Fadiman. It is about love, family, parents and children, and friendship. It is also an ode to books and reading, and a love letter to wine. If you like memoirs, wine, Anne Fadiman's books, or some or all of these, this book is a must read. I will leave you with a couple of my favourite passages from the book. #BeginQuote7 "When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before." "Relationships with parents wax and wane, following their own natural cycles. I was fortunate to have loved both my parents, and been loved by both, but I sometimes felt closer to one and sometimes to the other. In college, when I was studying English literature, I felt closer to my father. In my twenties and thirties, when I was working as a reporter, I felt closer to my mother. In my early forties, when I started to write essays, the tide turned back in my father's direction. Essays were his territory, and I might never have ventured over the border if I hadn't been confined to bed during eight months of Henry's gestation and obliged to find a literary genre that could be executed from a horizontal position. But something else had changed too. There comes a point when oaklings outgrow the diminutive and stop worrying about withering beneath the shadow of the oak. I no longer bristled - a slight sigh sufficed - when I was told, "You're following in your father's footsteps" or "You have your father's genes." He had my genes, too. There has been a time when nothing would have pleased me more than to be better known than he was, but as he grew frailer, I started to worry that someday this might actually happen. If my father were forgotten, the balance of my world would shift so disorientingly that I'd lose my footing. I still check periodically to make sure he has more Google entries than I do." #EndQuote7 Have you read 'The Wine Lover's Daughter'? What do you think about it? Have you read other Anne Fadiman books?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Henning

    Reading Anne Fadiman is like hanging out with your super-smart friend and hoping some of that intelligence rubs off on you. She is a treat. I heartily recommend any of her books, but for this one an interest in wine is helpful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir is a loving tribute to Clifton Fadiman from his daughter Anne Fadiman as she told of his love of wine and love of his books. As she writes, "Aside from his books, he loved nothing--and no one--longer, more ardently, or more faithfully than he loved wine." And, "My father had long associated books and wine: they both sparked conversation, they both were a lifetime project, they both were pleasurable to shelve, they were the only things he collected." Fadiman was The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir is a loving tribute to Clifton Fadiman from his daughter Anne Fadiman as she told of his love of wine and love of his books. As she writes, "Aside from his books, he loved nothing--and no one--longer, more ardently, or more faithfully than he loved wine." And, "My father had long associated books and wine: they both sparked conversation, they both were a lifetime project, they both were pleasurable to shelve, they were the only things he collected." Fadiman was born in Brooklyn in 1904 to Russian Jewish parents. He learned to read at age four, becoming a voracious reader enjoying Sophocles, Dante, Milton and Melville by age thirteen, and soon followed with Shaw, Yeats, Wilde and Wells. Graduating from high school at age fifteen, he went on to Columbia where he aspired to cross into Manhattan leaving his past behind. At age twenty-three Fadiman went to Paris for the first time when he tasted a properly chilled white Graves wine and his love affair with wine began. Fadiman went on to be a literary and wine critic and editor as well as hosting a television show. As Anne Fadiman introduces us to her father throughout the book, she also deals with the fact that she did not enjoy her father's love of wine. This is not only a great read for those who love wine and books, but a delightful tale of an interesting man and his family, particularly vignettes like his eightieth birthday party where he enjoyed Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1904. Cheers!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    An interesting and rather compelling biography of Fadiman’s late father, a prolific book critic, and accomplished man. Her writing is fantastic; she never fails to be witty and charming, and there is a marvellous balance struck here. The Wine Lover’s Daughter is a compelling memoir, but I felt that it lacked a little of the magic of her essays about books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    What a sweet book about the author's relationship with her famous father but really about memory, legacy and how well we think/wish we know someone. I don't care a whit about wine and this book is still an absolute joy to spend time with.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Litt

    I cannot be unbiased when it comes to Anne Fadiman - she was one of my favorite professors in college, and so much of what I know about writing I learned from her. (And also she was kind enough to blurb my book. Clearly, this is not an objective review.) With that said: The Wine Lover's Daughter was wonderful. Every sentence is a carefully constructed piece of art. A surprising, delightful detail lurks around each corner. And in a year when everything seemed global and Trumpy and catastrophic, th I cannot be unbiased when it comes to Anne Fadiman - she was one of my favorite professors in college, and so much of what I know about writing I learned from her. (And also she was kind enough to blurb my book. Clearly, this is not an objective review.) With that said: The Wine Lover's Daughter was wonderful. Every sentence is a carefully constructed piece of art. A surprising, delightful detail lurks around each corner. And in a year when everything seemed global and Trumpy and catastrophic, there was something cleansing about diving into a such a well-examined relationship between a father and daughter. Plus it gave me a reason to drink more wine.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Samuel

    I related to the daughter about having a parent who has a dedicated passion that you then choose not to pursue and I related to the father who wanted to escape his roots so badly and thought that wine and fluent conversational skills in western literature would give him that tickets out (or in). When the author asks her brother why they both didn’t like wine (and the wine world) as much as their father did, he says “simple, we weren’t trying to escape our origins”. That felt like a pretty bullsey I related to the daughter about having a parent who has a dedicated passion that you then choose not to pursue and I related to the father who wanted to escape his roots so badly and thought that wine and fluent conversational skills in western literature would give him that tickets out (or in). When the author asks her brother why they both didn’t like wine (and the wine world) as much as their father did, he says “simple, we weren’t trying to escape our origins”. That felt like a pretty bullseye assessment of some of my experiences.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Kiernan

    This is a quiet but lovely daughter's memoir of her polymath writer and critic father, Clifton Fadiman -- who also loved wine. If you are a lover of language, of the intricacies of family dynamics, of books as a sustaining intellectual nutrition, and of a fine turn of phrase to humorous or touching advantage, this is a book you will slice through in short order. You need not be a wine buff to appreciate the memoir (in fact the author is explicitly not her father's daughter in that regard) but it This is a quiet but lovely daughter's memoir of her polymath writer and critic father, Clifton Fadiman -- who also loved wine. If you are a lover of language, of the intricacies of family dynamics, of books as a sustaining intellectual nutrition, and of a fine turn of phrase to humorous or touching advantage, this is a book you will slice through in short order. You need not be a wine buff to appreciate the memoir (in fact the author is explicitly not her father's daughter in that regard) but it may help. A confection and a delight.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lissa

    3.5 stars. So I enjoy books (obviously), authors Anne and Clifton Fadiman and wine so I should have loved this memoir but by the end I was sort of tired of hearing about Clifton's obsession and Anne's ambivalence with wine.  Clifton Fadiman was a famous book critic who wrote the New Lifetime Reading Plan which sits on my night stand.  Anne is also a well known author who writes books about reading.  Some chapters of this book were great but I skimmed through those which seemed as if they just li 3.5 stars. So I enjoy books (obviously), authors Anne and Clifton Fadiman and wine so I should have loved this memoir but by the end I was sort of tired of hearing about Clifton's obsession and Anne's ambivalence with wine.  Clifton Fadiman was a famous book critic who wrote the New Lifetime Reading Plan which sits on my night stand.  Anne is also a well known author who writes books about reading.  Some chapters of this book were great but I skimmed through those which seemed as if they just listed every wine of quality.  Overall, if you are a wine connoisseur you might find this short memoir completely compelling.  If not, then plan to skip around to the more biographical parts.  I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review .

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karina Szczurek

    A delight. Whether you are a lover of wine or great writing, or both, you are in for a treat.

  12. 5 out of 5

    E. C. Koch

    I can't remember when it was that I first ran into the term hyperliterate but whenever I read anything by Anne Fadiman I'm reminded that there are people out there (myself not included) who have read everything and know every word and can compose the most beautifully clear prose that is both a model of erudition and scintillatingly good. The Wine Lover's Daughter - a memoir that is also a biography of Fadiman's father, Clifton, that reads like a collection of essays - offers a look at how such h I can't remember when it was that I first ran into the term hyperliterate but whenever I read anything by Anne Fadiman I'm reminded that there are people out there (myself not included) who have read everything and know every word and can compose the most beautifully clear prose that is both a model of erudition and scintillatingly good. The Wine Lover's Daughter - a memoir that is also a biography of Fadiman's father, Clifton, that reads like a collection of essays - offers a look at how such hyperliteracy is, at least in part, nurtured. None of this, of course, is on the surface. On the surface is a narrative about a relationship between a father and daughter told through the lens of wine, something that Clifton admired and adored and something Fadiman, well, doesn't. By writing about wine Fadiman touches on Clifton's early biography (a Brooklyn Jew admitted to Columbia trying to fit in with WASP society by imbibing the potation of sophisticates) and his early career (working as many jobs as possible as near to the academy as possible to continue affording such excellent libations), eventually coming to his role as a father to his children. Here the biographoir edges toward memoirphy as Fadiman recounts her own career (including fears about following in her father's footsteps as a writer) and repeated attempts to appreciate a tonic she has no taste for (this, we learn, has to do with the specific distribution of fungiform papillae on her tongue) before coming to her beloved father's death, which leads to how she came to write the very text the reader holds in her hands. Just below the surface, and of greater interest to me, is Fadiman's desire to do honor not to her father's renowned love of wine but instead to his love of language. Clifton didn't make Fadiman into a writer (she even considered writing under a different name to avoid such aspersions) but then, in a sense, he did, by modeling and sharing and living his bibliophilia. I'm a sap and I think that this is all really sweet and I can't wait for the next one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karyl

    I picked this up on one of our random trips around the state to visit various libraries in our system because it sounded interesting. I love wine, but I know that I don't know much about wine, and what I drink would probably be considered downright swill by oenophiles. This book made me want to become a true lover of wine, someone like Fadiman's father, Clifton, though the great deals he got on his wines are long expired. I had no idea who Clifton Fadiman was when I picked up this book, but his I picked this up on one of our random trips around the state to visit various libraries in our system because it sounded interesting. I love wine, but I know that I don't know much about wine, and what I drink would probably be considered downright swill by oenophiles. This book made me want to become a true lover of wine, someone like Fadiman's father, Clifton, though the great deals he got on his wines are long expired. I had no idea who Clifton Fadiman was when I picked up this book, but his daughter's writing made me wish I could have met them both and just listened as they talked. My father is himself of Jewish ancestry, but he chose to become a Christian after he married my stepmom. Judaism was something he had never been taught or instructed in, and while my father is a good forty years younger than Fadiman, I know he experienced some antisemitism throughout his life, as did I in the early 1990s. It was never as overt as Fadiman's being told that there was only room for one Jew on the English faculty at Columbia, but it still was ever present. I found the bits about the science of why Anne Fadiman didn't enjoy wine like her father did to be fascinating. I've always wondered about how different people taste differently, as I'm a person who loves to cook for everyone (though I am also very respectful of a person's dislikes and will never tell him that he'll love this food the way I make it). This is definitely a wonderful read. The love that Anne has for her father comes across in just about every sentence, and the writing is superb. I felt less like I was reading, and more that I was having coffee with Anne while she told me stories and anecdotes about her father and her childhood. Yes, there is a lot about wine in this book, but I felt it added to the story, since Fadiman was so obsessed by it. Highly recommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joan Maclin

    I found this on a community "leave one, take one" bookshelf. I am so glad I chose it! This is a wonderful book! If a reader is interested in literature, writing, wine, Western culture in the mid-century - or any one of these - this will be an enjoyable read. Although I knew of Clifton Fadiman and his daughter, the author, I knew them primarily as names and figures. This book brings them to life as themselves. CF - imaginative, creative, passionate, eccentric but subtly fragile. AF - intent on dis I found this on a community "leave one, take one" bookshelf. I am so glad I chose it! This is a wonderful book! If a reader is interested in literature, writing, wine, Western culture in the mid-century - or any one of these - this will be an enjoyable read. Although I knew of Clifton Fadiman and his daughter, the author, I knew them primarily as names and figures. This book brings them to life as themselves. CF - imaginative, creative, passionate, eccentric but subtly fragile. AF - intent on discovery, aware of her privileges and eager to share the fascinating story of her father's life and its legacy for her. At no point (with the possible very minor exception of its exploration of the science of taste) does the book fail to entertain and inform. Although I haven't an enormous vocabulary, I still recommend to every reader that you keep a dictionary source at hand. You will delight in finding the definitions of (oh so many) words that you "sort of" know. Clerihew anyone? Blessings.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I read this book because I'm (not closely) related to the author and her father. Thanks to my recent sleuthing, I discovered we're descendants of the same nuclear family that came to the U.S. (in a few batches, as they could afford) to escape from pogroms in what is now Ukraine. This perusal of my own family history (for possible future writings, ha, am I genetically predisposed to this pursuit?) led me to these names, and this book. I know nothing at all about wine and frankly there were passage I read this book because I'm (not closely) related to the author and her father. Thanks to my recent sleuthing, I discovered we're descendants of the same nuclear family that came to the U.S. (in a few batches, as they could afford) to escape from pogroms in what is now Ukraine. This perusal of my own family history (for possible future writings, ha, am I genetically predisposed to this pursuit?) led me to these names, and this book. I know nothing at all about wine and frankly there were passages of this book that, therefore, floated through my eyes without deeper meaning registering in my brain. But the fact that it was interesting enough, thoughtful enough, sweet enough to pull me in and led me to finish in the course of a weekend (unheard of for me these busy days!) despite my lack of grounding in one of its main subjects is, I think, a testament to the book's quality. Well-written and well-pondered.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Is there a better essayist than Anne Fadiman? If so, I haven't found them yet. I thought this was going to be more of a straight biography of her famous father, Clifton Fadiman. But, instead it was a series of biographical essays organized around Clifton Fadiman's absolute delight in wine, and his interaction with his daughter. It seems like a complicated way to tell the story of someone's life, but it worked. My interest did wane for a little bit while she was discussing the science of taste bu Is there a better essayist than Anne Fadiman? If so, I haven't found them yet. I thought this was going to be more of a straight biography of her famous father, Clifton Fadiman. But, instead it was a series of biographical essays organized around Clifton Fadiman's absolute delight in wine, and his interaction with his daughter. It seems like a complicated way to tell the story of someone's life, but it worked. My interest did wane for a little bit while she was discussing the science of taste buds, but it only took a couple of pages to realize how that information informed Anne's view of her own relationship with wine.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Antonia

    Oh my, this is just so, so good. The narration is fabulous — except I needed to listen at 1.25 speed (only possible on my iPhone, not my iPod). I would highly recommend listening over reading. I loved every bit of it. I remember Clifton Fadiman only slightly — perhaps only because my father had one of his books (Reading I've Liked) in his bookcase. I already knew that his daughter Anne is an exceptionally good writer. And oh, so witty. Or he was. Well, they both are. She's every bit her father's Oh my, this is just so, so good. The narration is fabulous — except I needed to listen at 1.25 speed (only possible on my iPhone, not my iPod). I would highly recommend listening over reading. I loved every bit of it. I remember Clifton Fadiman only slightly — perhaps only because my father had one of his books (Reading I've Liked) in his bookcase. I already knew that his daughter Anne is an exceptionally good writer. And oh, so witty. Or he was. Well, they both are. She's every bit her father's daughter, except when it comes to wine!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Sevitt

    I still haven’t read a word that Anne Fadiman has written that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. Based on this voyage round her father, I might have enjoyed his company too, although he would not have approved of my undeveloped palate and my general disinterest in wine. This is a charming collection of essays and reminiscences that are as much about filial love as they are about an appreciation of fine wines.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Robertson

    An absolutely lovely tribute to a parent. Anne Fadiman is a beautiful writer and every sentence breathes love and admiration for her father and his quirks and strengths and weaknesses and background and journey.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Even to a wine philistine like me, this is a delight!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This one was interesting to a point, but very unemotional.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bibliomama

    Absolutely loved this book. I am not a wine-lover.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Reading this book made me want to do three things: learn more about wine, read books by Clifton fadiman, convince Anne fadiman to write more herself.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Another endlessly quotable charmer from Fadiman (I adored Ex-Libris). I too grew up in a relatively privileged, bookish household, with an older dad who’d also gone to Columbia and loved wine, so this book resonated in quite a few ways. I’m a bit younger than she is, but I still recognized much of the New York world she describes, and I know my dad would have. It’s a rather distressing story, in one sense, because she’s very clear about the anti-Semitism of the day and how matter-of-fact it was. S Another endlessly quotable charmer from Fadiman (I adored Ex-Libris). I too grew up in a relatively privileged, bookish household, with an older dad who’d also gone to Columbia and loved wine, so this book resonated in quite a few ways. I’m a bit younger than she is, but I still recognized much of the New York world she describes, and I know my dad would have. It’s a rather distressing story, in one sense, because she’s very clear about the anti-Semitism of the day and how matter-of-fact it was. She said her father never got over the moment he was told he wouldn’t be hired for his dream job as a literature professor at Columbia because they only had room in the department for one Jew, and they had chosen Lionel Trilling instead. I keep trying to envision someone saying something so jaw-droppingly, breathtakingly terrible, and I just can’t. So, instead of burying himself in academia, Clifton Fadiman had to go onto a multi-part career as an editor, critic, radio show host, and famous public intellectual. Having read this account of everything he wound up doing, it seems that the anti-Semitic jerks at Columbia might have done the rest of the country a favor, without even realizing it. But it’s not a sad book, in any way. The focus on wine as a theme, as an emblem of her father’s striving and success really works—even, if not especially, the part at the end where she talks about her disappointment in never really sharing that love. I was fascinated by the section where she went and talked to a bunch of taste scientists, about why people like what they do (and don’t). I also hate cilantro and don’t appreciate wine nearly as much as my father did, so again, I sympathized greatly. One oddity that I couldn't help noticing was how small a role her mother seemed to play in the book. Admittedly, it is a memoir about her famous father, but the lack of balance was noticeable. Finally, I must admit to some entirely unfair envy, simply because her dad lived so long, and was around for so much of her adult life. The sheer amount of time they were able to spend together, and how well they took advantage of it, did make me a bit wistful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marion

    Anne Fadiman- always a five star read. This is another winner! First book finished in 2019, although started in 2018.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Stories of fathers can be complicated. I loved that this daughter was vulnerable enough to share her own flaw - she didn’t like wine - when it was so central to her father’s life

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kem Mirsky

    For fans of Anne Fadiman, for fans of Clifton Fadiman, and for fans of well-written memoir. Beautifully written, of course!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Happyreader

    This memoir is enjoyable in the way that watching some classic movies are enjoyable. Entertaining and fun to see the old stars but the social mores are questionable and cringe-worthy. Clifton Fadiman was definitely of his time. In his daughter’s portrayal, he was intelligent and industrious and did everything he could to distance himself from his Jewish roots, embracing all things WASP establishment including gourmet food and fine wine. He never questioned or challenged the status quo and happil This memoir is enjoyable in the way that watching some classic movies are enjoyable. Entertaining and fun to see the old stars but the social mores are questionable and cringe-worthy. Clifton Fadiman was definitely of his time. In his daughter’s portrayal, he was intelligent and industrious and did everything he could to distance himself from his Jewish roots, embracing all things WASP establishment including gourmet food and fine wine. He never questioned or challenged the status quo and happily promoted it. His wines were classic French. His famed Lifetime Reading Plan focused solely on white male writers. He was comfortable saying at a ladies’ luncheon that “women were not as good at conversation and didn’t know as much about wine.” So retro that at 88 years of age, after a medical emergency brought on by acute retinal necrosis, he asked his daughter to contact two of his mistresses with updates. Anne had a moment where she considered her mother but stated she wasn’t too surprised about the mistresses, only surprised that the women she called sounded so old. Anne’s mother Annalee Whitmore Fadiman is the parent I really wanted to read more about. Prior to her second marriage to Clifton, she was the first female managing editor of the Stanford Daily newspaper, she had worked her way up from stenographer to MGM screenwriter, and she overcame the prohibition of women reporting in WWII China to eventually write Thunder Out of China with Theodore H. White. Then she remarried after being widowed and the rest is very much a tale of disappearing into a supporting rather than a starring role, so much so that the teenage Anne addresses her letters home to The Clifton Fadimans. I give this memoir four stars because Anne Fadiman is obviously a talented and intelligent writer and she wrote this with such love, so much love that she acquired a wealth of knowledge about a beverage she clearly does not enjoy. However, the ideas and ideals of her father, similar to a white wine, have not stood up well to the passing of time, explaining his growing obscurity.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy Salvatore

    While the book is well written by a woman who clearly loves language, I had trouble with many elements of this book. I read it with my book group. All of us love language and we enjoy a glass of wine, so the book seemed perfect. I had heard of Anne Fadiman, as a dear daughter of a friend took her class at Yale, but I had never read any of her previous books or essays. I also never heard of her father, a beloved radio personality, book reviewer, literary mind of a different time, Clifton Fadiman. While the book is well written by a woman who clearly loves language, I had trouble with many elements of this book. I read it with my book group. All of us love language and we enjoy a glass of wine, so the book seemed perfect. I had heard of Anne Fadiman, as a dear daughter of a friend took her class at Yale, but I had never read any of her previous books or essays. I also never heard of her father, a beloved radio personality, book reviewer, literary mind of a different time, Clifton Fadiman. It seemed like a great idea to read Ms. Fadiman's affectionate account of her beloved father. So,I read. Well, I met with my group last night, and over coq au vin and generous servings of wine, we all agreed: How is this a memoir? Although she discusses her feelings and connection to her father, particularly focusing on her lack of ability to discern the taste and composition of wines as her father did, the book's central focus remains on her father. Actually, it is more an apologia of her father. I visited with friends the other night who are older than I. So, I asked my friend Walter, who is 87, if he remembered Clifton Fadiman; "Oh yes, " he exclaimed, "I loved his radio show 'Information Please'. He was also quite a good book reviewer." So, Fadiman's father is clearly someone admired as a public intellectual by people of a certain vintage. All well and good, but Ms. Fadiman wants us to see in him as a man who, like many other men of his day, believed parting with his heritage was a necessity in order to grab the brass ring of social and economic status in this country. She describes a man at odds with his public persona and humble beginnings. As the first generation child of Russian Jews, Clifton wanted to get as far away as he could get from his origins and the tenement life of his parents. She sees this rejection of all things Jewish and immigrant as a conscious choice to grab hold of opportunity, a life of books and ideas and a way of life embodied by the WASP elite of his day. She is honest in describing her father's wholesale rejection of his childhood life, even his distaste for the food and the language of his parents, as sad and a type of self loathing forced on him by his generation and circumstance. However, she never really confronts the fact that her father, in casting aside his parents' world, takes part in the very antisemitic sensibility of his age. She seems to be saying he had no other choice, or that HE saw no other option. He wanted so much to be part of a world that would summarily exclude him, that he exalted the world of privilege, a white, male, WASP world, and denigrated another. Indeed, he was a young person in the 1930s and 1940s, and there is not a single mention of her father's feelings about that war and the singleminded obsession of a certain fascist leader to annihilate Jews. Instead, Ms. Fadiman has written a kind of love letter to her father. Why not? He was a doting and supportive father. At the same time, though, she glosses over things that had to be hurtful, her admission that he had at least two affairs while married, and the rather callow dismissal and seeming resentment of his own parents, her grandparents. This all brings me to the book's genre: memoir. A memoir would involve more exploration of the author's life, perhaps influenced by this father. However, the focus is not on her, the daughter, but her father. The few things we learn about Anne, the memoirist, is that she was able to have something her "meatball" father could not, the ringing endorsement and legitimacy of a Harvard education. She, too, loves words and is well read. She is considered by peers as a thoughtful writer. She teaches at Yale, a bastion of all her father loved. Although her father considered women boring conversationalists, he respected her. Her mother is barely mentioned other than as a dinner companion or amanuense, and apparently, according to my book group friends who looked her up, Annalee Whitmore Fadiman, was a war correspondent. She was an intellectual in her own right, but she factors as merely a sidekick to her father. In the final chapters of the book, I did feel compassion for Ms. Fadiman, for her love of this man and her belief in his greatness is full and something that guides her life. At the same time, I feel she needed to be more honest in her assessment of him and his legacy. While she uses his love of wine as a lens to appreciate him, in the end, after exploring her own lack of enthusiasm for wine as a biological hypersensitivity to various tastes, going to great lengths to consult taste experts to offer her insights into why she dislikes something her father loved, she manages to prove her father was just merely biologically rigged to have total appreciation for wine. His tongue is perfectly suited to pick up the subtleties of this beloved liquid. The wine is a metaphor for all of the world he wanted, and he was wired, if you will, to appreciate that world.He had an inbred right to it. He was a man whose very genes prepared him for the better and richer and more "tasteful" things in life. Hmm. It may not have been her intention to suggest this, but this is how I read her explanation. Well, his love of wine my be bred in the bone (or tongue) but he also left behind a rich heritage by casting aside his parents and their world. After all, I can think of other authors who did not forget their origins, Saul Bellow, Joseph Heller, and Phillip Roth to name a few. Yes, I know they came of age later, when it might have been easier to be a Jew in America, but not by much. Also, Clifton Fadiman seemed hardly able to stand people he determined were intellectually beneath him. It is unkind to say it, but he was a snob. His snobbishness might have been a compensation for his own fear of being "less the man", but he was one nonetheless. He was a man of his day who revered the Western Canon and was a wonderful father, but it seems her desire to understand him overshadows her own reporter's instincts to go further and explore his decisions. Therefore, she calls her book a memoir because it is a paean to her childhood hero. If I see the book that way, I can give it 3-3.5 stars for her writing style and for her ability to introduce me to a slice of American life. Clearly the radio show her father produced was one that fed a middle-class America with ideas and information we just now search from the impersonal Oz, Google. Her father's smooth voice and charming banter, captivated an audience interested in answers and eager to hear them delivered by men of certainty and wit. For her introduction to that world and interesting facts on wine, I am glad I read the book. I will read other pieces by Ms. Fadiman, but this reader finds it a little dubious for NPR to claim that The Wine Lover's Daughter is one of the "best of the year". It seems a little like insider trading of a different sort to label this book such as auspicious title, much like labeling a fruity top note wine, perfect for dessert, a Clos de Vougeot, 1921.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Anne Fadiman seems to be considered one of the best living essayists, and I mostly struggled with this book due to her vastly superior intelligence and overall cultural fluency. It reminded me a bit of reading Adam Gopnik— so many of the cultural and intellectual references and jokes she made sailed right over my head. I also know virtually nothing about wine so all of the wine talk did the same. Nevertheless, I finished the book and found myself fascinated and moved by the notion of a daughter Anne Fadiman seems to be considered one of the best living essayists, and I mostly struggled with this book due to her vastly superior intelligence and overall cultural fluency. It reminded me a bit of reading Adam Gopnik— so many of the cultural and intellectual references and jokes she made sailed right over my head. I also know virtually nothing about wine so all of the wine talk did the same. Nevertheless, I finished the book and found myself fascinated and moved by the notion of a daughter working to develop such an insightful and carefully observed portrait of her own father. I kept finding myself thinking, “Would I even want to understand my dad to this degree? How would it feel to be digging through his writing and correspondence and medical records and other people’s memories of him to this extent?” There is something uniquely invasive to me about being a child with such a clear-eyed understanding of your parent. Fadiman adored her dad, and I was moved by her steady - almost desperate - determination to become an oenophile because wine was her father’s great passion. She finely gave up in her 40s and admitted to herself that she would never love wine, and her journey to that point was interesting in its own way.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.