Sideways is the story of two friends-Miles and Jack-going away together for the last time to steep themselves in everything that makes it good to be young and single: pinot, putting, and prowling bars. In the week before Jack plans to marry, the pair heads out from Los Angeles to the Santa Ynez wine country. For Jack, the tasting tour is Seven Days to D-Day, his final stretch of freedom. For Miles--who has divorced his wife, is facing an uncertain career and has lost his passion for living-the trip is a weeklong opportunity to evaluate his past, his future and himself.
A raucous and surprising novel filled with wonderful details about wine, Sideways is also a thought-provoking and funny book about men, women, and human relationships.
Two old friends set out for a weeklong romp through Santa Ynez, Calif., wine country that comically strains their friendship in Pickett's lively debut. Smart, hapless narrator Miles is divorced and broke, and his novel's been rejected all over town. His handsome, "ursine" best friend, Jack, a successful actor, is about to get married, and wants to enjoy a few last days of freedom. Pickett gleefully chronicles their many minor adventures, including the oversexed Jack's attempts at getting laid, a boar-hunting episode and a staged car accident. Add to that massive amounts of wine: oenophile Miles swills rather than sips, and Jack's always been a party guy. While Jack works his charm on the ladies, Miles has his own flirtation with a lovely waitress. Miles can be a delightful narrator, but he's no prince: he's a bore when it comes to wine, for example, and he can get a little pseudophilosophical ("photos mock the present by staring back at us with their immutable luster of our youthful past"). He also thinks nothing of snatching a couple thousand dollars from his alcoholic mother on her birthday. But redemption for all is promised and Pickett takes his readers on a jolly ride. His novel sounds like a perfect buddy flick, and indeed, it will have its chance: Alexander Payne (About Schmidt; Election) is directing it for Fox Searchlight.