The Garden of the World
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Nevada Press
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1. The Beautiful Country
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Paul Tourneau’s first wife, Pascale, died in that fall when the vineyards were torn out on the west side of the Santa Clara Valley, 1907. Phylloxera had been spreading slowly through the valley for years, galling the roots and withering the leaves of grapevines before killing them in the third year, and growers on the east side had planted plum and apricot trees between the...
2. Loyalty Day
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Gill left the vineyard in 1917, the year the United States entered the war. He’d begun to work in the fields with his father the year the vineyard was replanted, worked through his father’s new marriage to a woman only eight years older than himself, worked through the birth of a half brother, Louis, whom his father took into his arms at the end of every day...
3. Eye of the Mountain
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I t was in Salinas in 1926 that Gill met Lupita, and because of her began making whiskey with Big Boy, and because of him began the road back to the vineyard. Lupita was not the youngest woman at the Golden Staircase, but with her purpled lips and bruised, purple-looking eyes, she was still able to look vulnerable. She’d walked right up to him, didn’t seem to mind the...
4. Five Grand
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Gilbert Tourneau was released from the county penitentiary in the late
spring of 1928, the time of the cherry harvest, a year and a day after
he’d gone in for selling whiskey.
The first month of time, Gill had been on the sawdust pile, shoveling sawdust and scrap wood out of boxcars and into bins, and then from the bins into the furnaces and boilers that provided heat and steam power for...
5. New Chicago
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Blossom Hill Road followed a long, curving route through orchard land south of San Jose. The road was much traveled by tourists who came to the valley for the Blossom Festival, in late March, to enjoy the vistas of the tens of thousands of fruit trees in flower. But in June, the fruit was heavy...
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Louis walked through the vineyard with his father every morning during growing season. He’d been going with him since he was seven, running on short legs over the tilled and uneven ground to keep up, listening to his father’s deep and certain voice. His father seemed to know everything about the daily life of the vineyard. He looked at the condition of the earth...
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In the late afternoon, when the hot sun broadened over the Santa Clara Valley, Paul Tourneau drove down from Beau Pays to retrieve his son. As the road passed through the outlying blocks of vines, he automatically looked for signs of trouble in the green foliage. In his mind, the vineyard was always at risk. This time of year, he was watching for the gray blotches...
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When Sophia learned that Gill had come back to the Valley, and that her husband was going to bring him home, she thought that her prayers had been answered. Sophia understood more of the vineyard’s financial situation than her husband thought she did, and she was sure that...
9. Fourth of July
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William Beckwourth began selling liquor in 1920 as a business proposition. His brother was district attorney for the county and wanted to maintain control of the alcohol sold, but he needed a middleman to collect payments and keep accounts. Beckwourth’s auto dealership was ideal. It had cars coming and going at all times without arousing suspicions, and...
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In the low hills west of town, skid roads from the logging days cut across the land, rutted but still passable. High school students knew these roads, passed along the information from year to year, so that someone always located a dark, quiet place where they could go to smoke and drink, and couples could park undisturbed. The place was nicknamed Egypt. At...
11. The Tree
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After the Fourth of July, Gill found four days’ work in an onion field leased by a Japanese farmer. Not many whites worked for wages on Japanese farms, and Gill wouldn’t even have heard of the job if Miguel hadn’t tipped him off. He worked a row with the farmer to his right, and the farmer’s eight-year-old son on his left, rooting out the bulbs one by one and...
12. The Crush
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T he wind shift came in late August that year, a shift to the north that was chill at first, but heralded the ripening Indian summer weather. The Pacific High, a pool of still, warm air, edged eastward toward the continent, and the winds spilling clockwise around it would first blow away the coastal fogs. Then, as the high pressure lapped over the coast, temperatures...
13. The Garden of the World
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T he crush continued into the first week of October. Block by block, the grapes ripened, as Tourneau had foreseen. The whites for still wine reached twenty-two degrees Brix, and then the blacks broke through twenty-three. The picking crews moved in with their chalk-marked harvest boxes and serpettes, making money steadily, and the grapes were gotten...
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In the fall of 1928, that splendid year on the edge of the Great Depression, Louis never returned to school. Tourneau was laid up in bed with his wounded leg and arm, and Louis had to see the new wine through fermentation, dosed with sulfur, into aging barrels. He trekked between the winery and the house and told his father everything that was going on with...
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The town of San Natoma, featured in this novel, has much in common historically and geographically with Saratoga, California, the town where my mother grew up. In key aspects, however, San Natoma is a creation of my imagination. The characters and events are fictional, and are not...
Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2012