The Last Paradise

The Last Paradise

by Michael Kasenow

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440120015
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/09/2009
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

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The Last Paradise 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite This is an entertaining, occasionally humorous and always delightful story of Galveston, Texas, in 1900. Before the Great Hurricane of that year tore this coastal city to shreds, Galveston was an elegant place to live and thrive, at least it was if a family was wealthy. But the author introduces the reader to the alley people of Galveston, the misfits, the blacks, the prostitutes, the nuns and the ninety orphans in their care. These people, Maxwell, Newt, disgraced Dr. Frank the vet and his raccoon Lucy, Fanny and her son Cody, Bishop, Elma and their three children, Sisters Ruby and Mary, Marbles and Burly Horse are delightful, believable and not totally perfect people who struggle daily against racism, prejudice, and the poverty to which they were consigned. Maxwell, one of the main characters, takes a stand against the corruption and greed of those in power in Galveston, and learns that his love of long ago wasn't quite as honorable as he thought. The people of Galveston's alley are beaten up, shot at, whipped, raped, and are forced to endure terrible things but they show their bravery and their frontier spirit when the Great Hurricane of 1900 struck without mercy. "The Last Paradise" is a brilliant story of what life was like in the South in 1900 with the prejudice, the racism and the indifference to poverty that existed quite clearly back then. It is well-written and well-edited with characters that are totally believable and true to them throughout the entire story. The plot flows to the end of the book with moments of glory and also of horror. Maxwell and Fanny find love, Newt discovers he loves the local Catholic orphanage and cannot do enough to help, and Burly Horse and Marbles are deficient mentally but abound in love for those around them. The reader will love them all, but hate the bad guys, and will rejoice in their sorrows and celebrate their good times. "The Last Paradise" is a book to be remembered. It teaches the history of Galveston, Texas, in an unforgettable period of time but in a readable way that the reader will not soon forget. A book for everyone!
Pacificbookreview More than 1 year ago
Michael Kasenow’s "The Last Paradise" brings together an eclectic ensemble of characters living of Galveston, Texas during Post-Civil War America. The Alley, home to people in all walks of life from prostitutes to nuns, is the setting not only of the injustice and bigotry of the times, but also a place where friendship and family bonds help the characters hold their heads high and endure the many hardships. The initial introduction to the character around which most of the book is centered, Maxwell Hayes, does the man a bit of injustice; it is not until further into the book the reader sees the true depth of the man. A drifter by nature, Maxwell is on a quest for something, although not even he knows what it is. The reader gravitates to wanting him to find a ‘home’ for himself, while still having Maxwell maintain his sense of freedom and values of what is right in the world. It is easy to forgive this man for any of his wrongdoings because we see his intentions are pure. Freedom is a key theme in this book, as several other characters are also fighting for that right. One of the most endearing characters, Bishop, a former slave, wants to see nothing more than for his children to go to college and have the opportunities he never had. Sadly, his dream for his son comes to a tragic end, yet he still persevers, bringing forth admirable resolve. The distance between those ‘who have’ and the ‘have-nots’ is very wide and articulated well in this novel. Yet, the reader finds that not even money can buy true happiness; as the well-off characters fight demons of their own. The novel leaves you rooting for the underdog, whatever social status the particular character may have. Kasenow’s vivid descriptions of Galveston and his minutia of details of this era aid to make this book a very realistic read. The depiction of life after the Civil War and the intricate details of the city of Galveston during this period create a period piece for the readers to place themselves into this time. Kasenow does a great job of exploring the oppression and injustices of this time period and balancing it out with the friendships and human goodness which is found in his characters. For readers interested in a book capable of transporting them into the past, with original insights to how day to day life was lived, combined with a memorable character, The Last Paradise is a wonderful book to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Last Paradise is a step back into time. Times were harsh in Galveston, Texas just after the Civil War. Jobs were plenty but the promise of a better life was something that only those with money could afford to dream about. Some might say it was a simpler time but those people obviously never met Newt, Maxwell, Burley Horse (that's a woman), Bleach (the local tavern owner), Fanny (the local prostitute and apple of Maxwell's eye), Sara Connor (the boss' daughter), and Sister Ruby (a reformed former "working girl"). The story begins with a courtroom scene. Newt and Maxwell have been involved in a drunken brawl. With the help of Burley Horse, the two manage somewhat light sentences. Newt is sentenced to a year of sobriety, which he takes to mean only drinking when no one is looking. Both Newt and Maxwell are also given community service working with the nuns at a local orphanage. Immediately, the reader becomes part of the community. From the very start of this book, these people feel real with depth of character, pasts that might be better left in the past, and above all a sense of humor that gets them through some very difficult situations. On the surface, many of these individuals may not seem very loveable or even worthy of pity, yet as you get to know them it's very easy to feel an affinity to them.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
The Last Paradise, is a raw and vividly gritty story about the desperately poor inhabitants of Galveston, Texas. These residents are surviving in the post-Civil War era despite poverty, slavery, bigotry and a myriad of injustices that not only involve black people but poor whites as well. Charming characters such as "Burly Horse," "Marbles," "Newt" and "Maxwell" take the reader on an intimate journey through their lives as they attempt to survive in this difficult time of corruption and constant battles between the rich bigoted white people, and big corporate companies who despise and prey on the weak and union workers, all the while keeping their pride intact. Readers will undoubtedly find themselves rooting for the townspeople as they persevere throughout their rough lives, especially when it appears as if nothing else could possibly make their harsh existence worse, even the massive devastation wrought on them from the Great Hurricane of 1900. Although author Michael Kasenow is a newcomer to the historical fiction writing genre, he is not altogether unfamiliar with writing as evidenced by his numerous writing contributions to the environmental sciences field and a book on poetry entitled Six Feet Down. Mr. Kasenow's brilliant writing in this particular novel affords the reader a dynamic look into the post-Civil War era, and reminds us of where this country once was regarding slavery, bigotry and other similar injustices, and how far our country has come. Vivid descriptions of this incredibly poor city and its inhabitants are expertly laced throughout the book. Despite at times the story's slow moving pace, this tale holds the reader captivated, awaiting the final outcome of all the characters the reader has come to know and love. Quill says: The Last Paradise, is a wonderfully woven story that unfolds it's raw and gritty message right in the beginning and does not waiver until the thrilling end.