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This is Paradise [Paperback]

3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447202368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447202363
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,399,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heaven or Hell? 26 July 2012
By M. J. Saxton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really couldn't see anything paradisical about this book at all. The family seems to be completely dysfunctional and not "ordinary" at all as according to the cover blurb.
Emily and Don seem to spend a lot of their marriage avoiding issues and generally irritating eachother, but stay married because - well, why?
Ostensibly this is the tale of an ordinary family with four children who are all different and have to gradually make their way in the world. There is a hiatus and then they come together again when Emily is suffering her final illness.
There are a couple of joyous events, but for the most part the children seem to be full of anxiety and end up with a lot of hang-ups they don't talk about just like their parents.
Clive seemed to me to be autistic after reading the first few chapters, but then I couldn't understand why he'd never been assessed or why his parents did nothing (nor ever discussed) his alarming behaviour.
Benjamin is a sensitive child who, it is later revealed, is gay. He has one short relationship in his life and then seems to be doomed to spend the rest of it alone. Worrying.
The girls are a little less well described, but they both end up somewhat distracted and seemingly unable to cope with their parents and siblings. It says that Liz really loved her mother, but there's very little sign of it apart from casual presents; usually they snipe at eachother.
It doesn't help that the style is very post-modern, almost deconstructed, though it is as if the author didn't have the courage to go the whole hog. Some of it, including the ending, is rather confusing. I sort of enjoyed the story yet wished they didn't all get on eachother's nerves so much and weren't so, well, dysfunctional
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Real life before death 3 Jun 2014
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Crowded, crazy and confusing, this book and its inhabitants are initially rather hard to like. Pages of documentary style dialogue, disjointed, rambling and awkward sentences hurriedly hurled about make for a rough read. However around the halfway mark I realised I could manage to carry on with it all without too much struggle and I found the stark, complete honesty of 'This is Paradise' growing on me.

The idea of eavesdropping on this large family may be intriguing as a choice. They live without thought for observers anyway, with Martyr Mother Emily as the centre, the story constantly time shifting, place shifting, backwards and forwards. There is a unexpected depth to each member that sets off sparks of recognition, however rueful and faintly embarrassing. Family dynamics, arguments, scenes, harsh works, naked nastiness does occur and the author seems to know it's shape rather too well.

A trip to France is experienced as if we are in the car, the tent, and holiday house. You can smell the sweat, the unwashed body of Clive who, without any correction, calls his mother `Beast' and crashes about, a result of childhood, birth, damage, rude and troubled, all exhausting and unrewarding. His sister Liz is a smoother ride; she is already grown up working in a restaurant but doesn't seem to help much around the place. Her love affairs are perhaps typical of today, consternation to her mother who swings from axis to axis, alternately lecturing about birth control while also longing madly for more babies around.

Little Lotte scratches the day away pitifully, Benjamin, the aptly named last child is also a sorry case, squashed beneath the cruel and dominating difficulties of Clive. The violence in this book is sickening, even if recoverable from.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Air 21 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover
I chose this book on a recommendation of someone at work.

It was not a straight-forward read but it was refreshing to be challenged by writing and i found the story developed gradually, much like the illness of the mother. Bit by bit the family are revealed as individuals. While some reviews complain about them, i liked them. They are like any other family, full of love, regret, anger and moments of infuriating behaviour.

The book is a good read, a family's story through moments both good and bad just as it is in the real world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing story of an ordinary family 9 May 2014
By Peter TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An intriguing story of an ordinary family. Emily, a special needs teacher, and Don, who is a picture framer, are moderately happy in a moderately pleasant home on the outskirts of Bath where they bring up their four children in a moderately capable fashion. Liz, the eldest, is confident and pragmatic, Clive, mercurial and damaged, Lotte, nervous and shy, and Benjamin is the late arrival.

There are no terrible traumas, horrific events or violent feuds. The story unfolds as a series of vignettes. It is as if you are looking through a photo album containing snapshots of family events taken over the course of several decades, with various family members coming to sit beside you to share their experience of an occasion which had a particular significance for them - the acquisition of a spin drier, a holiday in France, a child setting off for university. Thus the intricacies of family life are exposed, the strengths and flaws, the joys, hurts, rejections, loneliness, affection, differences and acceptance. As the children grow up and leave home their comings and goings and their parents' reminiscences continue to weave a complex and fascinating pattern. Eventually the family comes together again when Emily is dying in a care home, her mind fragmented by dementia.

Although this book is utterly compelling, you will not want to gobble it up in one sitting. It is so beautifully written that you will want to savour each sentence. The events may seem prosaic, but they are exquisitely portrayed and the characters developed with an honesty that is both unflinching and tender so that you will be amused and irritated by turn, but ultimately your heart will ache for them. Definitely a book to keep and reread, but also to share - simply so you can have the pleasure of discussing it with someone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars intriguing read
This is one lovely book, nice quality paper, great quality printing, and I was absolutely hooked by it...couldnt put it down. Read more
Published 8 days ago by S. Hammond
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow, deep read.
A slow burner, but utterly beautiful prose. This is not a quick, chick flick, more an acutely and sometimes painfully observed account of family, and the struggles within. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bob and Billy's Mum
3.0 out of 5 stars 'An intimate record of survival'
This book sets out to give the reader 'an unflinching portrayal of the dynamics of family life'. It is an easy read, having good sized print and plenty of dialogue. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Paradise
The sum of individuals flawed do not make a family dysfunctional. A look in a mirror and we generally see only what we want to see. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sandford
2.0 out of 5 stars No Logical Sequence of Events
This is a novel about a family -the Alldens - who live in a less-posh part of Bath. Don and Emily are the parents, Liz, Lotte,Benjamin and "Special" Clive are their... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Brett H
3.0 out of 5 stars Marmite - either love it or hate it
I am unsure about this book - although I read it all, I was left feeling very uncertain about a number of the characters. Read more
Published 11 months ago by S. A. Broadhurst
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!
I confess I gave up on this book by page 35. It began well enough, the main character (or so I thought) Emily was unwell, I think, and was awaiting a visit from her doctor. Read more
Published 11 months ago by xenofan
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Paradise
This is Will Eaves's best book yet. Insightful, moving and funny, it charts the life of an average - and yet exceptional - family in a way that will capture your heart.
Published 12 months ago by Steve M
4.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary writing about an ordinary family
Will Eaves's third novel is an everyday story about a family from Bath, the Alldens, Don and Emily and their four children. Read more
Published 12 months ago by David Gee
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused
It might be because it's a style I'm not used to, or an author I haven't read before, but I was so confused. Read more
Published 13 months ago by pearlsgirl
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