SIDEWAYS is at turns a bawdy, raucously funny, but often contemplative first novel by indie filmmaker and screenwriter, Rex Pickett, soon to be a major motion picture from writer/director Alexander Payne (ABOUT SCHMIDT, ELECTION) and Fox Searchlight. Miles Raymond, dreamer/divorcé/amateur wine aficionado, narrates the story of a weeklong bachelor trip with his best friend, Jack—part-time actor and charming roué. Together, the two of them journey to the Santa Ynez Valley— an emerging viticultural region producing some of the finest Pinot Noirs in California—to sample the wines and bask in Jack's last week of freedom before he's to be married. Things go comically awry when Jack, hellbent on having one last fling, falls head-over-heels for one of the wine pourers they meet at a winery and threatens to call off the wedding. Miles tries his best to keep Jack to the straight and narrow, but it seems as if they're both just a little too "sideways" from all the tasting room visits to make sense of anything.

Wryly funny first person narration, steeped in a rhapsodic and eloquently-expressed love of wine, SIDEWAYS, beneath its at times dizzying pace, achieves a surprising depth of poignancy about Miles and Jack's friendship. As the week draws to a close and nostalgia builds for this crazy time they'll never have again, bigger questions are pondered by Miles as sobriety brings him to a deeper understanding of the vicissitudes of love, the closure of a friendship, and accepting one's failures and moving on.


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by Rex Pickett

St. Martin's Press (Griffin)
June 1, 2004
ISBN #0312324669
368 pages
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