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Unauthorised Parker biography ignites passions

Hanna Agostini, Robert Parker's one-time representative in Bordeaux, is publishing an unauthorised – and by all accounts highly inflammatory – biography of the world-famous critic.

Publicity for Robert Parker: Anatomie d’un Mythe, due out in French on October 25 from Editions Scali, describes it as ‘the antithesis of an authorised biography’.

Interviewing Agostini on the book, local Bordeaux newspaper Sud Ouest refers to alleged ‘errors in Parker’s prose’ as detailed by the biography.

News of the book has already ignited passions on the bulletin board of erobertparker.com.

‘Mme Agostini is not the first “unknown” person that attacks RP to get her 5 minutes of fame, neither will be the last one,’ is one of the more temperate comments.

Agostini was a long-time collaborator of Parker’s in the region, co-ordinating his wine tastings and translating his work into French, until she faced accusations in 2002 of using his name to get lucrative consulting projects.

In a separate interview with decanter.com, Agostini referred to ‘contradictions’ in Parker’s writings and insisted, ‘There is no personal opinion in the book.’

Specific accusations at the time included Agostini allegedly using the letterhead of Parker’s journal the Wine Advocate to bill Belgian drinks company, the Geens Group, for substantial sums of money. Agostini, who does not deny consulting for the company, claimed the letter-headed paper had been stolen from her house, and that any consulting she did was entirely under her own name.

Although Parker stood by Agostini, they parted company in 2003. It was after this that Agostini began writing her book.

Review copies were unavailable at the time of going to press.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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