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Paradise
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New or Used: $22.58
The breakthrough novel by Best-of-Young-British novelist Hannah Luckraft knows the taste of paradise. It's hidden in the peace of open country, it's sweet on her lover's skin, it flavours every drink she's ever taken, but it never seems to stay. lmost forty and with nothing to show for it, even Hannah is starting to notice that her lifestyle is not entirely sustainable- her subconscious is turning against her and it may be that her soul is a little unwell. Her family is wounded, her friends are frankly odd, her body is not as reliable as it once was. Robert, a dissolute dentist, appears to offer a love she can understand, but he may only be one more symptom of the problem she must cure. From the north-east of Scotland to Dublin, from London to Montreal, to Budapest and onwards, Hannah travels beyond her limits, beyond herself, in search of the ultimate altered state- the one where she can be happy - her paradise. Incapable of writing a dull sentence, or failing to balance the grim with the hilarious, the tender with the shocking, A.L. Kennedy has written an emotional and visceral tour-de-force. A compelling examination of failure that is also a comic triumph, a novel of dark
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About the Author

A. L. Kennedy has published three previous novels, two books of non-fiction, and three collections of stories, most recently Indelible Acts in 2002. She lives in Glasgow.

Reviews

There's real in-house cheerleading for award winner Kennedy's new novel, which features hapless Hannah, who's looking for "paradise" through desperately self-destructive acts. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

When a dull neighbor asks Hannah Luckraft what she does for a living, Hannah can barely refrain from answering honestly: "Oh, a little theft, monstrosity, credit-card fraud, and my hobbies include giving blow jobs to unpleasant men while I'm semi-unconscious. I also drink a lot." With her fifth novel, Kennedy proves herself-again-to be a master of extracting searing beauty from patently ugly truths. Awash in whisky, 30-year-old narrator Hannah is the consummate professional screwup: she drinks with ferocity and harbors no pretenses about her self-destructive impulses or their horrendous consequences. Her wry, wary commentary has no right to be anything but gut-wrenchingly sad, yet her savage wit and chilling self-awareness transform even unspeakable misery into something howlingly funny. Blacking out becomes "master[ing] the art of escaping from linear time," rehab is reduced to "being slapped down into a grisly ring of pink Naugahyde armchairs and made to discuss [our] personal lives with a dozen emotional vampires" and paradise itself is revealed to be "an untouched bottle and the man who loves me, the man I love." Of course, Hannah knows that happiness can't last, so when a charming drunk named Robert stumbles into her life, her bed and her head, no one dares to hope for a happy ending. Their thirst for oblivion, sobriety and oblivion again is the story of paradise found and lost a thousand times over. "How it happens is a long story, always," but rarely is it so jaw-droppingly good as this. (Mar. 14) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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