Champagne in “The Idiot” by Elif Batuman

Posted on: May 10th, 2019 by

Have you ever been reading a book and dreading the ending? Not that you’re worried it’s going to turn out super corny or hackneyed, but because you never want to finish the novel due to its compelling nature. This is the case with The Idiot by Elif Batuman.

The Idiot by Elif Batuman is a fantastic novel.

I’m on page 370 of 423. Our protagonist is a Turkish college student, Selin. As a character, there is something indescribably charming about the way her mind works and how she interacts in social situations. Selin is very anxious and prone to overanalyze things, the curse of the brainy.

A particular person of interest to our protagonist is Ivan, a graduate student she’s in love with. They have very curious, bizarre, quirky interactions that never seem contrived. The two have a manner of speaking to each other that is completely unique. And, jeez, this novel is almost donezo and they haven’t even kissed.

Wine in The Idiot by Elif Batuman

There’s a touch of wine in this book. While Selin is in Paris, her friend Svetlana’s aunt, Bojana, takes them out to a five-course prix fixe lunch. “Bojana put on her reading glasses and ordered a bottle of Merlot.” The wine “…cascaded into our glasses with a throaty gurgling sound,” says Selin. Gotta respect the lunchtime Merlot order, probably a Bordeaux. Power move. No rosé here, folks!

There’s a most interesting description of wine bottles in Bojana’s fridge:

In the brightly lit refrigerator, black champagne bottles lay on their bellies like black dogs with wine muzzles.

I’ve never thought of the cage on a Champagne bottle as a “wine muzzle,” but then again it is called a cage. I also haven’t seen a black Champagne bottle. Well one that was true Champagne. I can picture the Freixenet black bottle of Cava vividly, though. But I’d hope a woman like Bojana, who has ostrich eggs in her crisper drawer, would have the good stuff on hand. Nothing like an ostrich egg omelet paired with Champagne served in a Parisian apartment, non?


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