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Literature / Blackberry Wine

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Blackberry Wine is a fantastique novel by Joanne Harris. It is a companion to Chocolat.

Jay Asher has written one bestseller, a nom de clare about his childhood and friendship with Jackapple Joe. In theory he ought to have written more. Instead Jay spends his time teaching creative writing classes and writing bad science fiction to pay the bills. He's had Writer's Block due to his paralyzing success. Things change when he sees an ad for a farmhouse in Lansquenet, a tiny French village; it looks identical to the real Joe's chateau in French. Jay buys the house, as well as a train ticket to France.

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The chapters alternate with flashbacks to Jay's past, when he meets Joe during his summer vacations. Joe goes all sorts of vegetables in an abandoned station.

Tropes for this book include:

  • Astral Projection: Joe reveals that he was doing this from his nursing home into the chateau. Jay at first thinks he is a hallucination, but later on Rosa reveals she can see Joe too.
  • Bittersweet Ending: To get rid of Kerry and the tourists, Jay has to burn his new manuscript, without any backups on hand. It also means that he has to fall back on farming. But the seeds that Joe sent him, special potatoes, sell well on the market and bring profit to the region again.
  • Cool Old Guy: Joe was this in life, and as a figure in Jay's new house.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Deconstructed with Kerry. She means well, and Joe himself points out how Jay could have had a life with her if he had chosen. The problem is that Kerry wants to keep changing Jay into her image of what he should be, rather than what he is. Jay didn't even try to give their relationship a chance because of that.
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  • Domestic Abuse: This is Marise's real story; she fell in love with a patient who got into an abusive relationship with her. She was nearly killed once, but the police couldn't do anything. So she changed her name, and fell in love with another patient, who had depression. That man was Mireille's son and Rosa's father.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: On the surface it appears this way. Marise's stalker found her, and wanted to talk to her new husband to make amends. He got shot for his troubles. Then Marise's husband shot himself
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Kerry believes that she can coax another book out of Jay. She's utterly delighted on learning he's writing one in Lansquestnet.
  • Loving a Shadow: Kerry loves Jay the author more than Jay the person. She started dating him because she was hoping to snap him out of his block.
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  • Obfuscating Disability: Marise maintains that Rosa is deaf. Surgery actually restored most of Rosa's hearing, but Marise fears that if Mireille knew the truth then she'd take Rosa away.
  • Reality Ensues: Jay has to write another book, and when he does, he makes an image of Marise and Rosa as wild creatures. Marise is actually a nice lady, if brusque because of her baggage, and Rosa is most definitely not a wild child.]]
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