"No other word for it: a charming book." Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek
About the Author
Donald Barthelme was one of the most influential American novelists of the 1970s and 1980s, bringing a unique postmodern voice to his novels, short stories and essays. He died in 1989.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Paradise based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
A series of very short "chapters" (almost separate stories) with a very amusing premise-- a newly separated married man lives in an apartment with several beautiful woman who all love him. Only Barthelme could find the down side, and he does.
It is a given that every male, from adolescence to the geriatric years, fantasizes about having a harem of beautiful women to amuse him. That accounts for the success of magazines like Playboy and Penthouse, and in fact for the success of most of the porn industry. Barthelme taps into this fantasy with his deft and appropriate prose and his accurate use of the idiom of the day. Simon is a 53 year old architect, recently separated from his wife in Philly, and living in a too-large apartment in New York. Simon, in a bar, 'just happens to' run into three beautiful lingerie models down on their luck and with no place to stay. So, guess what? They move in with him, lock, stock and makeup kits. If you buy such an unlikely encounter, then it's off and running with Paradise and the happy foursome. The girls are self-absorbed and energetic; Simon is thoughtful and accepting. It lasts eight months, Simon recounts the story to his shrink after it's over, and it's an amusing, tender yarn. Paradise is an enjoyable read. The few sex scenes, if you can call them that, are definitely soft-core by today's standards. And there's not an awful lot in the way of character development or the deeper meanings of life. But it's fun.