On the surface, Rich is like any other young man looking for work and pleasure in mid-1970s London. But Rich is different. He is a drop-out: a drop-out from music college, who has dropped out again after four years as a Catholic monk. Talented, but not ambitious, personable but unattached, Rich finds himself drawn into an international world of wealth and sophistication that will direct the course of his life. When Rich meets Julián, younger son of the wealthy, wine-producing Borbolla family, his eyes are opened to the world of big business and to the inescapable realisation that he and Julián are more important to each other than either dares admit. As Rich's career progresses he rubs shoulders with the great and good, transforms the fortunes of a Bordeaux vineyard – only to see his success turn to ashes – experiences the life of a penniless recluse in Paris, and at last discovers love, and the pains of loss, on a remote Atlantic island.
Spanning half a century, with his unrivalled gift of evoking time and place, Anthony McDonald brilliantly paints the landscape, the people and the emotions of Rich's adopted home in France. Rich's story mirrors the era through which he travels, with its decline of religious faith, its political upheavals and existential crises. And its changes in perception of the origins of love.
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