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This is a clever and funny tale of a socially awkward, disenchanted theologian on a mercy visit to his dying aunt in far off Hawaii. Funds being short,the most economical way of getting there is with his old dad on a package deal and herein lies a lot of the humour as we meet the very typical fellow package holiday travelers. We can easily recognise them all: The constant complainers, the loud mouth boasters, the merry drinkers etc. etc. The descriptions are so very apt and highly amusing.

There is also a more serious aspect with inter family, strained relationships and Bernard, the main character's, struggle with his beliefs and fear of physical contact with women and how to resolve them.

I have found some of Mr.Lodge's pontificating on the Catholic church's teachings hard going in some of his other work e.g. How Far Can You Go and here he again touches on this , but it is a much lighter touch. All in all this is an uplifting happy experience as the story unfolds.

By the way David Lodge is not about to win any laurels from the Hawaii tourist board!
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on 10 April 2003
This is only the second David Lodge book I've read (having also read Nice Work some years ago and very much enjoyed it) and I was not disappointed. Bernard Walsh takes his elderly Irish father to visit Bernard's aunt who is dying of cancer, against the wishes of Bernard's sister who suspects his motives are mercenary. The trip does not get off to a good start when Bernard's father is involved in an accident, which forces Bernard to become a man of decision and action. His time in Hawaii becomes a rite of passage as he faces up to new challenges and old anxieties. In the process we also meet the interesting and entertaining bunch of fellow tourists.
Bernard's experiences are told in a warm and funny way, with great perception and some beautiful writing. I recommend this to anyone who wants to read an engrossing, entertaining and thoughtful novel.
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on 22 March 2001
Bernard Walsh missed out on his childhood and adolescence because he was destined to become a Catholic Priest - a vocation he could not fulfill. The reader shares Bernard's voyage of discovery, which David Lodge describes with humour, great warmth and human insight. I felt privileged to feel his pain, empathise with his self-doubt, join in with his joy and wonder about his future.
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on 11 March 2010
My book group read Deaf Sentence, by David Lodge, who I'd never heard of before, and I really liked it, so when I saw this book (Paradise News) in a charity shop I snapped it up, and it was a pound well spent! I found the book laugh out loud funny, without being silly and annoying as some 'comedy' writing is. I totally identified with the main character, even though he's a single man and I'm a married woman.

Lodge's writing is full of emotional depth without being bogged down with it and his plots are interesting enough to keep his great characters busy while we get to know them. I liked the little cast of extras in this one who gave us funny moments to allow us to take a breather from the deeper sadder part of Bernard's story.

I love it when I find a new writer as good as this (I know David Lodge is not new, I mean new to me) and I'm so glad that the second book I read by him was as least as enjoyable as the first. Now I want to read everything the man has ever written .
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on 19 July 2016
I've enjoyed other Lodge novels in the past (e.g.Nice Work) and started this with high hopes. The premise of a group of Brits en route for Hawaii, taking with them their various crises and private conflicts was encouraging, but sadly reading on the novel seemed to lose direction. I persevered and admit to wanting to finish the story, but it did feel at times that DL was struggling to take it forward. Digressions into theology seem rather to hold the story up than illuminate it, and also the main character interrupting his diary of events to tell his life story was uncharacteristically frustrating. I'd read another, but hope for better things.
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on 4 May 2012
Having read all Lodge's novels with the exception of this and 'How far can you go', and loved every one of them - I was really looking forward to this one. And in the main the book delivers. There's the familiar Lodgean themes of sexual curiosity and ineptitude and the usual mix of religous cynicism and trepidation yogether with the familiar Steptoe and Son figures.

The cancer story is handled fairly deftly with an acceptable amount of black humour - nevertheless I couldn't fully become that engaged with the Bernard and dying aunt story. Furthermore I actually lost track of the rather large cast of secondary characters who flitted in and out of the novel - in fact rather worryingly I forgot who some of them were towards the end of the novel! The supporting cast were not allowed to gather a head of steam and to my mind just got in the way of the main narrative - too many charachetrs all rather thinly drawn and hence too thin to really make a compelling sub=plot.

Overall I liked the book mainly because I love Lodge - but this one ranks amongst my least favourites.
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on 27 June 2013
This is a well-written and interesting book in which I unexpectedly found some useful personal enlightenment. What I didn't find was "humour" and "satire" so the comparison with Waugh doesn't stand up. A minor, but exceptionally irritating, thing was a grown man - and an Irishman (by descent) at that - calling his parents Mummy and Daddy. To be fair, however, I feel there was enough of something there to maybe justify four stars.
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on 21 November 2012
This is a gentle tale about a man completely out of his comfort zone. I found it heart warming, amusing and a very satisfying read.
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on 27 November 2013
First published in 1991, this novel describes a world before emails and mobile phones. Nevertheless, it is amusing and heartwarming, laced with gentle humour. David Lodge, as usual, has constructed a cracking plot, all too credible characters and a neat happy ending. What's not to like?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 July 2009
I've never failed to enjoy books by David Lodge and I did enjoy this one, but not quite as much as some of the others. The themes of Paradise News are more sombre than, say Thinks!, Therapy or Nice Work by the same author, as they deal with serious illness and death. There are some very funny scenes but a bit too much space is taken up with the intricacies of Catholic religious doctrine for my tastes and I tended to skip over these passages.
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