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on 16 November 2011
A comic novel (the author's own words), but with a depth to it, so that the reader gets to laugh and to think, often at the same time. Shades of Kurt Vonnegut, which is high praise if you like Kurt Vonnegut! It's a book which needs to be re-read. The writer uses words well, and it's easy to miss a few gems the first time around. It takes a few pages to get into it, but sticking with it pays off. Whatever genre you favour, you can enjoy this.
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on 2 May 2013
There's lots going on in this book, with big and profound themes, all cleverly dressed up as comedy.
There's much that I enjoyed about it. The surrealism, the fantastic scenarios, the comic characters, the dialogue, and the humour. I laughed a lot, usually at Jamie - the pitifully and helplessly shallow Jamie.
For instance the interaction between Jamie and his ex, Caroline, or at least the recreated Caroline from his memory, was funny; such as when she returns from a coffee and triple chocolate muffin with Keziah and complains that "neither of us could believe how one dimensional I am as a character. Honestly Jamie. We went out for eighteen months. I'm your complete memory of me... It was a terrifying insight into the male mind. "
I like the way the reality of what has happened to Jamie and Keziah after their accident is gradually introduced and builds up to a satisfying conclusion as the other plot, the finale of Gaston and Leopold's efforts also builds up to a fantastic and somewhat surprising end.
But what was really good was the treatment of Keziah. Keziah had landed up in this surreal world with a load of unresolved issues and pain from her earthly existence. While Jamie is recreating lighthouses, The Space Shuttle, and Thai Red Curry for his enjoyment in his part of the new world, Keziah's world is a mix of giant syringes and bonfires with various people on them. Not wanting to say too much and spoil it, but the image of her bravely standing under the onslaught of those giant memory blobs that crash on her from a height, sending rocks and dust all over the place, is just terrific. As is the image of the water... and I won't say any more except that the treatment of Keziah is deeply compassionate and quite beautiful.
The book reminded me a little of Kurt Vonnegut and also a little of the magic realist Angela Carter. It is well written and has a good use of metaphor that is always natural and never seems contrived. It was an enjoyable read and makes you think.
I'm ordering the sequel and looking forward to reading it.
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on 21 November 2010
This first novel explores some classic (and neo-classic) themes and sets the scene for what could turn out to be a Discworld-challenging series.

You will find the Karpman drama triangle of victim/persecutor/rescuer, alongside cultural collision and metaphysical conjecture. Which all sounds terribly serious for a book which also includes a barrel of laughs and an intriguing race against time, with a heartwarming denouement making you wonder what's coming in the sequel(s).

Just a couple of caveats for the potential reader. The first chapter throws you in at the deep end, and you have to get used to the author's style and sense of humour, and a whole new dimension of existence, at the same time. However, the trip is worth it (like for our hero and heroine), and the book becomes more readable as you go on.

Also, don't be put off by the amalgam (mostly in the first chapter) of rather unsubtle references to some of author's favourite works (with recognisable nods in the direction of Vanity Fair, sapient luggage, Narnian creatures, Slartibartfast's creative gifts and the restaurant at the end of the universe).

Stick with it, and enjoy!
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on 7 November 2011
Paradise - A Divine Comedy by Glenn Myers is a comic fantasy novel, written in a manner that is reminiscent of many British comic authors such as Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams.

The story itself is set a round web designer Jamie and criminal lawyer Keziah who, after being involved in a car crash, end up heading to the afterlife together. Once there, they get captured by some spirits who seem intent on forcing them to live in an artificial paradise in an attempt to trial a new form of spiritual worship. The story follows Jamie and Keziah's experiences in this artificial paradise as they face off against each other and the spirits who are holding them captive.

The humour and wit that the author has used in the book is there to try and enhance and complement the serious themes being discussed and it does work to an extent. For example, the wit and banter that is present throughout the novel did make me smile and laugh, especially the discussions between Jamie and Caroline who was basically a self imagined version of his ex girlfriend. However, as the story progressed I have to admit that I began to find it harder to pick up the novel and finish it as the theological elements of the novel became more important to the plot which required me to really try and grasp the points being made. Then again this was probably my own fault as I read the final parts of the book after taking part in a 24 hour read-a-thon!

In regards to the characters, I found it quite hard to dislike Jamie even though he was self-absorbed, a coward and selfish. I think these traits actually increased the level at which the reader could be amused as they were utilised cleverly by the author to create entertaining scenes between him and the other characters. I actually don't think any of the other characters are really developed in as good a detail as him, even Keziah who is one of the other main characters. They all mainly seem to be there as different foils for Jamie to bounce his wits against.

Overall, this was a funny and amusing story and I did enjoy the humorous elements, however I struggled a little bit to keep going through the theological elements. Basically, I believe that this book will probably appeal to people that like the humour of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett but also want to read something with a deeper underlying meaning.
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on 25 October 2011
This was not my usual genre so it took a little while to get into. However, once in, I really enjoyed the characters and found it highly amusing. It's the sort of thing I'd quite happily read a whole series of, so I'm looking out for the sequel!
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on 4 September 2010
I read this book because I know the author and thought it might be a half decent read. In spite of not really being my kind of genre I found Paradise to be a compelling and thought-provoking book. The characters were well drawn and developed, the plot was intriguing and well paced and at times it was extremely funny!

Well worth a read if you fancy something a bit different. My only sadness is that I never had the chance to sample the delights of Osama's, the restaurant Myers refers so fondly to in the book.
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on 17 September 2010
Mirror writing on the cover grabbed my attention and set the tone for the book. (Unlike some cover designs it accurately reflected the story.) I can't say that I found Paradise laugh-out-loud funny, but it was both entertaining and intriguing. I would classify it as a must read twice novel because so many things are not what they seem first time round. I look forward to the sequel to see what the characters get up to next. Will there be constant creation of chocolate?
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on 19 July 2010
Really enjoyed this book, despite expecting not too as am not usually into Sci-fi. Was very funny (was laughing out loud in parts..!) yet with some deep underlying themes that can make you really think (as much or as little as you want to!) Great character development throughout the book, which makes you think about them even when you're not reading. A very enjoyable read would recommend it to anyone, as although not my usually genre I loved it.
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on 22 May 2012
Although I'm not particularly a fan of this genre, I enjoyed Glenn's witty style and charactor development. His highly developed scene descriptions often lost me - I would have preferred more tangible contexts, but again, this is a fantasy novel.

I also feel that the cover design doesn't do credit to the book - a more attractive cover would appeal better to the general public.
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on 3 May 2016
Brilliant clever and funny
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