When a resident of an old apartment building gets locked in the cellar that’s been in his family for generations, he celebrates his rescue by opening a bottle of 1954 Beaujolais nouveau with his new friends, a ceramics restorer, a bartender, and a tourist from Milwaukee(!). They have no idea that this batch of wine was touched by aliens, except the UFO-obsessed bartender has a clue, because his grandfather disappeared in 1978 after a similar fermented encounter. One sip and the next morning they are back in the Paris of 1954, which is only made a little confusing because Paris was in the middle of celebrating Heritage Days. How the heck are they going to get back? And will they learn a little about themselves in the process? Laurain’s latest features a charming quartet of protagonists, a love story, some philosophical asides, and a number of Easter-egged extras drawn from 1950s French culture. You just have to accept the offbeat time travel theorizing, but having just read Jack Finney’s Time and Again, that’s just par for the genre. In all, Vintage 1954 is positively grapey, which in my book means it’s a complete delight and a must-read for fans of The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook.— Daniel Goldin
Antoine Laurain has penned another charmer, this time traipsing through the Paris of yesteryear. When an unlikely quartet unearths a cellar-hidden bottle of perhaps alien-infused wine that they tip in celebration, they wake up to find they’ve been transported more than fifty years into the past. There’s a bit of zany time-travel fun, a budding new love, and a cast of characters plucked from history who come alive again. Laurain toys a bit with one of his signature themes, the romance and possibility of lives unlived. The heart of the novel, though, is a love letter to the Paris of the past, to which the book will happily ferry you.— Chris Lee
'The very quintessence of French romance...' The Times
When Hubert Larnaudie invites some fellow residents of his Parisian apartment building to drink an exceptional bottle of 1954 Beaujolais, he has no idea of its special properties.
The following morning, Hubert finds himself waking up in 1950s Paris, as do antique restorer Magalie, mixologist Julien, and Airbnb tenant Bob from Milwaukee, who's on his first trip to Europe. After their initial shock, the city of Edith Piaf and An American in Paris begins to work its charm on them. The four delight in getting to know the French capital during this iconic period, whilst also playing with the possibilities that time travel allows.
But, ultimately, they need to work out how to get back to 2017, and time is of the essence...
About the Author
Antoine Laurain was born in Paris and is a journalist, antiques collector and award-winning author. His novel The President's Hat was a Waterstones Book Club and ABA Indies Introduce pick in 2013. The Red Notebook was on the Indie Next List for May 2015 and was a MIBA bestseller. Antoine represented France at European Literature Night 2014.