This is a difficult novel to review. ‘Strange’ is the word that springs to mind. The premise – a lifelong friendship between an angel and a vintner – interested me, because I like surreal and/or paranormal stories. When I started reading, I couldn’t put it down because the imagery was beautiful and the philosophical discussions on religious beliefs interesting although, at times, too obscure. So, what was the problem I had with this story? I couldn’t get emotionally attached to any of the characters. There was enough in the novel to keep me reading, but not enough to make me really care any more than an occasional twinge what happened to the characters because I was disconnected from their motives and emotions. Both Xas (the angel) and Sobran (the vintner) were not easy to know, and this was to the detriment of the story. The style was also difficult: too often, the reader was expected to make conceptual leaps of logic and/or imagination that, rather than intriguing me, simply made me lose interest. For such a beautifully written book, it’s a pity that it only engaged my head, but not my heart. I may have read the book, but I didn’t “live” it. Another reader may engage more with the characters and so enjoy the book more than I did.