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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.
“Dangerously entertaining . . . Beautifully written, so lucid that it actually spikes its own attempts at realism, Paradise is a faultless performance . . . Kennedy is a writer who lives off irony, loves what she senses as its simultaneously sexy and violent embedding of opposites. Paradise is, naturally, inferno.” —Ali Smith, Guardian
“Not a book to give your maiden aunt . . . if you are interested in a frank portrait of alcoholism, or a painfully moving love story, or indeed in some of the best writing around, then A.L. Kennedy’s new novel is for you.” —Katie Owen, Sunday Telegraph
“This is an unflinching book, elevated by the sublime quality of Kennedy’s writing. Lacerating comedy is pitted against passages of sheer beauty. ” —Catherine Taylor, The Independent on Sunday