This is Paradise
The Alldens live in 1970s suburban Bath.
Don and Emily have four children: confident Liz, satirical Clive, shy Lotte, and Benjamin, the late arrival. Together they take the usual knocks, go to work, go abroad, go to university, go to pieces. Don and Emily stick it out, their marriage tested by long experience and frustrated by love for Clive, the ardent boxing fan at odds with the world.
Years later, Emily falls ill and her four children come home to say goodbye, their different needs and appetites revived and sharpened by the spectacle of her decline.
“It is a challenge to assemble a cast of six (with further walk-on parts) and carry them across several decades; Eaves succeeds triumphantly. Economy is essential, and he does economy with great style, establishing people and situations with cameo scenes and sharp dialogue.”
– Penelope Lively, The Guardian
“Eaves’ writing is so beautiful and extraordinary that mundane events bristle with oddity . . . he is brilliant about the unspoken conspiracies that bind the average family together.”
– Kate Saunders, The Times
“Ten years ago, Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections presented the archetypal dysfunctional American family. This Is Paradise, Will Eaves’s third novel, offers a British counterpart . . . . It’s through an array of incidents imbued with striking detail that he manages to capture the shifting complexities and rivalries that lie hidden beneath the outwardly mundane dealings of domestic life. This is a novel that should resonate with every contemporary family.”
– Sunday Times
“Packed with shrewdly observed domestic detail . . . A work of such intelligent understatement . . . The prose is strongest as its most metaphorically suggestive. As a boy, Clive is ‘thin as a seed’, while a joke has an edge ‘like razors among toothbrushes’. Such language reminds us that family life, for all its mundane chaos, remains dense with potential surprises.”
– Jonathan Gibbs, Daily Telegraph
“Eaves is perceptive about the changing interactions between members of large families over the years, as allegiances or weaknesses alter or remain steady, and the Allden dynamic rings true . . . Eaves has created a set of characters who genuinely pique the curiosity of those who encounter them.”