Reviews

Paradise

Patty Osborne

In Paradise by A. L. Kennedy (Anansi), Hannah is a drunk whose story begins as she is coming out of a blackout. She discovers a key in her hand and locates her hotel room, where she finds a bottle of Bushmills, “a slim doorway to somewhere else.” Hannah has a philosophy about blackouts: they are a way to “surf between time and time, content in yourself as yourself and the only constant point,” and she truly loves to drink. She also loves Robert, who also loves to drink. Add shame, self-hatred and a few attempts at treatment, and you have an absorbing portrait of an alcoholic. This is not a depressing book, because Hannah is so cunning in figuring out ways to live in the normal world without succumbing to the banality of sobriety. The author photo shows a smiling, healthy woman who doesn’t look like she’s been ravaged by drink, but her story rings so true that one is compelled to think she’s been there.

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