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.
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.