Pandora's Bottle

Pandora's Bottle

by Joanne Sydney Lessner


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What happens when you pin your hopes on a single event—and it all goes terribly wrong? When that event is the uncorking of a fabled bottle of 1787 Château Lafite once owned by Thomas Jefferson, the repercussions prove emotional, financial, theatrical and, in every way, unexpected. In this provocative tale of hubris and redemption, aspiration and perseverance, first-time novelist Joanne Sydney Lessner provides a fun, fast-paced glimpse into the world of fine wine, from the whirl of New York City haute cuisine to the historic vineyards of the Hudson Valley.

When financier Sy Hampton purchases this legendary bottle—which, through a quirk of preservation, may yet be drinkable—he shocks the wine community by choosing to uncork it privately with a female companion, rather than share it at a special public event. Sy intends the evening to be a quiet reassertion of his virility in the throes of middle age, but for ambitious restaurateur Annette Lecocq, the event offers an irresistible opportunity for much-needed publicity. Their competing agendas are not the only things to collide on the fateful night. Caught in the crossfire are Tripp Macgregor, a waiter on the verge of his long-awaited Broadway debut, and Valentina D'Ambrosio, the beautiful but unworldly working girl from Brooklyn Sy hopes to impress.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780982520826
Publisher: Flint Mine Press
Publication date: 07/22/2010
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Joanne Sydney Lessner has written the book and lyrics to several musicals, including the cult hit Fermat's Last Tango, and Einstein's Dreams, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. Ms. Lessner's plays include Critical Mass, which won the 2009 Heiress Productions Playwriting Competition and is slated for a New York production in the fall of 2010, and Crossing Lines, a finalist for the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. She is a regular contributing writer to Opera News and holds a BA in music, summa cum laude, from Yale University. Also active as a singer and actor, she has performed on and off Broadway. Ms. Lessner was raised in the Hudson Valley and currently resides in New York City with her husband and two children. Pandora's Bottle is her first novel.

What People are Saying About This

Jonathan Levi

Lessner has served up a bubbly, big-haired and big-hearted opus magnum, redolent of the vanities of New York, with a whiff of Wodehouse and a dash of Dickens, full of raucous overtones but with a gentle finish. Drinkable immediately! (Jonathan Levi, author of A Guide for the Perplexed)

Marc Acito

Pandora's Bottle is as delicious as a vintage Château Lafite and almost as rare—a novel that is as entertaining as it is smart. Joanne Sydney Lessner serves it with just the right dish of human folly. (Marc Acito, author of How I Paid for College and Attack of the Theater People)

Carlo De Vito

Joanne Sydney Lessner has carefully crafted a well-wrought, fun, and fastpaced book detailing the highs and lows of the wine world. A great read. (Carlo De Vito, author of East Coast Wineries and 10 Secrets My Dog Taught Me)

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Pandora's Bottle 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel gives us a good laugh at all manner of human folly, pretension, and self-delusion, but with a compassionate point of view that enriches the characters and situations. It's an easy read, but a rewarding one. You DON'T have to be a wine connoisseur to appreciate the central event that drives the plot (I drink wine from a box), just someone who understands how compartmentalized -- and funny -- people are when it comes to what they consider crucial. Lessner shows an easy mastery of the "Grand Hotel" approach, and you really want to know how each of the various storylines will spin itself out, which they do in logical if unpredictable fashion. Highly recommended!
MisfitGeek More than 1 year ago
A light, entertaining read This was such great fun to read. I enjoyed it start to finish. The author’s writing style pulled me into the book immediately. The scenes were wonderfully detailed without becoming tedious. I could easily picture what was happening without much effort. The wonderfully quirky cast of characters was what really made the book entertaining. They were so well developed and just delightful to read about. They often made me laugh out loud. They each have their own story that makes a unique contribution to the story as a whole. I love how they all came together for the culminating event, and how the aftermath affected all of them in different ways. If you are looking for a light, entertaining read then this is the book for you. It is easy to read and the conclusion is quite satisfying.
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
I would class Pandora's Bottle by Joanne Sydney Lessner as a delightful read. Sy Hampton, a millionaire wine connosieur, bids half a million dollars for a bottle of 1787 Chateau LaFite once owned by Thomas Jefferson. It is the last of the batch, and said to have properties that would render it still drinkable 200 years later. Seems pretty straight forward, right? But as Sy looks over his life, he finds that he cannot come up with anyone he knows that he wants to drink it with. When he picks a person to drink it with, the story really starts to take off. As the plot progresses, Joanne Sidney Lesser introduces us to several quirky, fun characters surrounding Sy and the drinking of his bottle of wine. I found this book enticingly easy to get sucked into as the author has a wonderfully intimate writing style. I was amazed at what a wonderful story she could craft around something as simple as the opening and drinking of a bottle of wine. At each point, I felt that I was right there with the characters, feeling their joys and pains. Another plus with this book was the cast of characters, many of whom had wonderful prophetic names. In fact, I found the author's use of the whimsical character names said almost as much about the characters as their actions did. It was one of the things I liked about this book the most. Another was the way that the characters actions and decisions did not just happen in a vacuum, but had real consequences that both shaped them and the story. In addition, I felt that the author included enough wine details to draw in the wine aficionados without losing the casual reader. Finally, I thought the conclusion to the story had just the right mix of realism and happy ending. As I said above, I found this story a delightful read which kept me turning pages and allowed me to finish quickly. This was no earth shattering, life changing book, but it was a fun, entertaining escape and as such I gave it 4 stars. Would I read another book by this author? Yes, I would and hope she has more in the pipeline coming soon.
mgr1 More than 1 year ago
Pandora's Bottle was a really fun read. The characters were so vividly drawn that I felt as though I knew them by the end. Fabulous!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know which grabbed me more: Lessner's well-rounded characters, her excellent, well-paced writing or the irresistible plot. I do know that I couldn't put down this page-turner once I started it and loved soaking in every well-thought detail that Lessner uses to bring her characters, their foibles, actions and innermost thoughts to life. She's spot on with accurate information about the world of oenophiles, and although it's hardly my milieu I really appreciated the naturalness and wit with which this knowledge just flowed through the characters onto the page. As a New Yorker I'm especially impressed and truly grateful for her attention to detail and precision in depicting life in Gotham, from the worlds of finance, theater, the restaurant biz - from those who've "made it" to those who still aspire to get their bite of the Big Apple - right down to the subway and bus system! I heartily recommend Pandora's Bottle to all. It's a wonderful read. It doesn't matter if you're into wine or not. If you're human and appreciate a story that intelligently examines what drives us mortals to make our choices and how our choices define who we become, you'll do well to spend several satisfying hours with Lessner's excellent novel. This is a book I'll be sharing with many friends: male, female, young and old . . and happily re-reading myself in years to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago