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Paradise (Vintage Contemporaries)by A L Kennedy
"It wouldn't be fair to give away how A.L. Kennedy's Paradise ends, but in this case the journey, not the destination, is the main point. Kennedy, a professed teetotaler, has crafted a horrifying rhapsody to the ghastly splendors of addictive drinking. Her narrator, a misanthropic Scottish screw-up named Hannah Luckraft, may drift in and out of coherence, but one thing is always clear to her: 'I do love liquids.'" Laura Miller, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
From one of Britain's most acclaimed novelists, a comic but terrifying love story about two alcoholics alternately battling and embracing their addiction, and each other.
Everything in Hannah Luckraft's life is tinted amber: her dreary job selling cardboard boxes; her strained relations with a beloved younger brother, who is about to give up on her; and especially her incipient relationship with Robert, a man who understands what it is to drink. They become constant companions, and she drinks up his tender affection with the same soul-ravaged thirst she brings to her search for paradise — the paradise of self — annihilation, a reprieve from the howling loneliness and difficulty of waking life. Together and then alone, she and Robert spiral through the beauty and depravity of a love affair with alcohol and with each other. From Scotland to Montreal, and onward, Hannah travels beyond her limits, beyond herself, in search of the ultimate altered state, the place where she can be happy: her paradise.
No one writes with greater intelligence about the human predicament, about the comic dilemmas of consciousness and the mind divided against itself, and no young writer brings a greater gift of language to our concurrent pursuits of debasement and ascension. Paradise is a novel of dark extremes, rich in emotion — Kennedy's most gripping and immediate work of fiction yet.
"...Morrison's rich, symphonic seventh novel...[is] not perfect — but a breathtaking, risk-taking work that will have readers feverishly, and fearfully, turning the pages." Kirkus Reviews
"This is a wiser, braver, and sweeter work than we have yet seen — Kennedy's greatest achievement to date." Boston Globe
"A stunning depiction of alcoholism, as funny as it is sad, as ironic as it is romantic....You...won't find finer prose than this anywhere in English." Seattle Times
"In this tour de force, which exceeds even her stunning Original Bliss, Kennedy exposes the sad blend of hope, loneliness and lust that can bind one refugee from dreary everydayness to another." Newsday
"Kennedy styles her prose with depth and with an eye for unusually clear turn of phrase....Paradise is a rare achievement." Denver Post
Hannah Luckraft sells cardboard boxes for a living. Her family is so frustrated by her behavior they can barely stand to keep in touch with her. Each day is fueled by the promise of annihilation, the promise of a reprieve, the paradise that can only be found in a bottle. When Hannah meets Robert, a kindred spirit, the two become constant companions. Together and alone Hannah and Robert spiral through the beauty and depravity of a love affair with alcohol. Paradise is a spectacular novel of desire and oblivion.
From one of Britain's most acclaimed novelists comes a comic but terrifying love story about two alcoholics alternately battling and embracing their addiction, and each other.
About the Author
A. L. Kennedy lives in Glasgow. She has received many prizes for her work, including the Somerset Maugham Award, the Encore Award, and the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award.
A. L. Kennedy's Indelible Acts, Original Bliss, So I Am Glad, Everything You Need, and On Bullfighting are available in Vintage paperback.
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