Paradise and Elsewhere

Paradise and Elsewhere

by Kathy Page

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Inner landscapes, primitive worlds: Angela Carter meets Gabriel Garcia Marquez in this collection of brightly coloured, convention-tangling origin myths.See more details below


Inner landscapes, primitive worlds: Angela Carter meets Gabriel Garcia Marquez in this collection of brightly coloured, convention-tangling origin myths.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Best known as a literary realist, Kathy Page (nominated for the Orange Prize for The Story of My Face) has created a collection of 14 fabulist short stories that marks a somewhat unsatisfying shift in her writing. The stories feature an eclectic mix of characters ranging from a poor young villager in "G'ming," to a shape-shifting selkie in "Low Tide," to a cannibalistic yet tender mother in "Lambing." Page links these tales together with a folkloric writing style which seems foreign to her and which constricts her characters' dialogue to the point where their personalities bleed together. Page addresses political issues such as globalism and feminism throughout her collection but allows these issues to overshadow the stories themselves. "Clients," the impressive standout within the collection, abandons these fetters, allowing Page the opportunity to explore the unique idea of a world in which couples hire professional conversationalists in order to speak with one another. Page's talents also shine through in "The Kissing Disease," a story about a contagious kissing virus that causes infected individuals to develop ludicrous alternate personalities. The politically-charged demi-fables in this collection tend to sound prescriptive. However, when given the freedom to develop organically and with subtlety, Page's stories demonstrate her impressive creative abilities. (June)
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Praise for Paradise & Elsewhere

“Kathy Page embraces and illuminates the unknown, the creepy, the odd, the other and the rest of us. Her unforgettable prose is moody, shape-shifting, provocative and aways as compelling as a strong light at the end of a road you hesitate to walk down...but will.”—Amy Bloom

"Short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses."—The Barnes & Noble Review

"A mind-bending collection of stories about transformation and adaptation, full of startling ideas, capricious characters and uncanny goings-on ... Paradise & Elsewhere is composed of elastic language and distorted reflections, each story boldly illuminating as it playfully confounds."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"The Canadian author Kathy Page has been compared by critics to Angela Carter, and it’s easy to understand why ... as with Carter, Page enlists the tone of myth and fable to tell nuanced feminist stories, to undermine mythic structures by grounding them in the body. But whereas Carter is using fairy tales to talk about the cruelty and power of fairy tales, for Page the mythic idiom is a means, is incidental ... Whereas Carter rejects the comforts of myth, treats it as patriarchal structure to be opened wetly by the recursive blade of fairy tale, for Page the fantastic, the mythic, is a means to tell the story of connection and transcendence, of escape. In service of that story she ropes into these odd tales discussion of tourism, of loneliness, of possibility, of tea. Carter beats on iron that we might hear the din; Page, in this remarkable collection, would rather watch the sparks."—Music & Literature

“This vibrant, startlingly imaginative collection reminded me—as few collections have done in recent years—of both where stories come from, and why we need to tell them.  Kathy Page is a massive talent:  wise, smart, very funny and very humane.”—Barbara Gowdy

"I really love the attention to a language that drives itself straight into me as a reader and holds me there, alive and waiting the next word. It's thrilling for me to experience ... terrific."—Peter Levitt

"Her fiction is sensuous and verdant, grafting lyrical prose onto stories and situations that appear almost as legends ... Page recalls Angela Carter in these stories, employing fable and myth, along with Gothic elements and moments of horror, to jar her reader out of a settled complacency."—The National Post

“The intensely familiar and the strikingly odd combine here to form a reading experience similar to that of fable. Indeed, though Paradise is set in modern times, here we cover similar ground as that of Greek myth or Grimm’s fairy tales … but rest assured, these contemporary tales are as insightful as their older counterparts.”—The Globe & Mail

"Rebelling against a literary orthodoxy that holds up stalwart realism as the true writer's best and only friend, [Page is] obviously comfortable with exotic tales that don't fall into preordained categories and which unfold in ways equally unpredictable and strange... marvellous ... immersive and mystery-laden."—The Vancouver Sun

“Extraordinary … edgy and deeply disturbing …I was often reminded of the very best kind of travel reportage that not only transports you to foreign climes but describes the culture, the food, the people and tries to put it into context.”—Reading Matters

"Kathy Page's new collection is cast in the fabulist mode of Angela Carter, with stories about a society that has outlawed kissing due to an orally transmitted virus, a sea creature who takes the place of a lighthouse-keeper’s missing wife, and a journalism student who takes the notion of communing with nature to a bizarre and unsettling extreme.—That Shakespearean Rag

"Fans of Winter’s controlled intensity will see her trademark style present again in The Freedom in American Songs."—The Chronicle Herald

"Resonantly imaginative."—The Georgia Straight

“All at once the stories in this collection are realistic, feminist, apocalyptic … [Kathy Page] has got it all, and she is unapologetic about delivering the goods … this book is full of beautiful intelligent writing that is sharp, raw and to the point. And it just might make us all better human beings.”—The Winnipeg Review

"Kathy Page has made me love short stories with this wonderful, visceral, and sometimes disturbing collection...The stories are surreal and strange, with a strong undercurrent of human emotion coursing through them ... The writing is elegant, but often fills you with disbelief ... The book, as a whole, is a work of art."—Worn Pages & Ink

“The genius of [Page’s] book is the way magic seeps into the stories. It seems so inevitable. Somewhere deep in the ancient part of our brains, there must still be a grasp of the connectedness of all things, of the endless flux of creation and destruction.”—Amanda Leslie-Spinks, Canadian Literature

“Paradise & Elsewhere pushes boundaries … gracefully tread[ing] the gap between the mythic and the real.”—EVENT Magazine

Praise for Kathy Page

"Marvellously well-crafted … I can't remember the last time I was so compelled, impressed and unsettled by the emotional world of a novel."—Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet

"Kathy Page writes beautifully, combining strong storytelling with emotional candour."—Helen Dunmore, author of The Siege

“Kathy Page is one of our most daring writers ... If you don’t know Page’s work yet, she’s a find.”—Caroline Adderson, winner of the 2006 Marion Engel Award, author of Pleased to Meet You.

“Intricate and suspenseful … This is a book that stirs admiration for both the characters and their author.”—Pearl Luke, winner of the Commonwealth Prize, author of Burning Ground

"Quietly gripping."—Sunday Express

“Sometimes novelists go too far—and sometimes they manage to demonstrate that too far is the place they needed to go.”—Time Out, UK.

"Page throws mixed up hope into a world where only fantasies and delusions dare to grow … I found myself longing for more."—Globe and Mail

“Page's writing … is lit with an immediate sense of period, summoning images which are by turns softly painterly, sharply filmic or as murky as those first television images of the moon landing.”—Times Literary Supplement

"A most impressive achievement.”—Daily Telegraph

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4.90(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.40(d)

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