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This is Paradise Paperback

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447202368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447202363
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,412,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Saxton VINE VOICE on 26 July 2012
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jun. 2014
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm still wondering whether the title of Will Eaves's third novel (taken from the remark of one of the characters during a rare holiday to France early in the novel) is a black-comic joke. For most of the novel, the much-quoted line from Sartre's Huit Clos, 'Hell is Other People', would be more appropriate!

Eaves's post-modern family saga explores the life of the Allden family from the 1960s to the present day. Don and Emily Allden are a reasonably unhappily-married middle-class couple, living in suburban Bath (ie not the gorgeous Georgian centre). Don is a picture-framer and nearly full-time philanderer, Emily is one of the last of the generation of women who didn't work; instead, she cares for their four children and demonstrates a great talent for arts and crafts, which she makes disappointingly little of. Their four children are all as different as can be. The eldest, Clive, is autistic and difficult, though oddly brilliant in certain areas, and his parents seem singularly useless at getting him help - not surprisingly Something Terrible happens after he goes to university (what we do not know) and his career begins a downhill slide. The next in line, Liz, is bright, lively and practical - she inherits her mother's artistic talent, has a cheerful relationship with the opposite sex, and is probably the sanest member of the family. The third child, Lotte (Charlotte - I'm not sure why Eaves spells the abbreviation of her name the German way, other than Don's love of Germany) is ultra-good, well-behaved and rather colourless. She eventually marries for money and ascends to upper middle-class bliss, with ultra-talented children with names such as Jasmin, and no need to work.
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