Hannah Luckraft knows the taste of paradise. It's hidden in the peace of open country, it's sweet on her lover's skin, it flavours every drink she's ever taken, but it never seems to stay. Almost forty and with nothing to show for it, even Hannah is starting to notice that her lifestyle is not entirely sustainable: her subconscious is turning against her and it may be that her soul is a little unwell. Her family is wounded, her friends are frankly odd, her body is not as reliable as it once was. Robert, a dissolute dentist, appears to offer a love she can understand, but he may only be one more symptom of the problem she must cure. From the north-east of Scotland to Dublin, from London to Montreal, to Budapest and onwards, Hannah travels beyond her limits, beyond herself, in search of the ultimate altered state: the one where she can be happy - her paradise.Incapable of writing a dull sentence, or failing to balance the grim with the hilarious, the tender with the shocking, A. L. Kennedy has written an emotional and visceral tour-de-force.
A compelling examination of failure that is also a comic triumph, a novel of dark extremes that is full of the most ravishing lyrical beauty, "Paradise" is the finest book yet by one of Britain's most extraordinarily gifted writers.
A. L. Kennedy has published three previous novels, two books of non-fiction, and three collections of stories, most recently Indelible Acts in 2002. She lives in Glasgow.