Paradise City

Bloomsbury USA. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781620408360. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781620408377. F
In her third novel (after the Betty Trask Award-winning Scissors Paper Stone and Home Fires), British journalist Day pulls together skillfully the lives of four unrelated characters in contemporary London. Sir Howard Pink is a wealthy, self-made businessman who appears to be initially entirely obnoxious; we meet him as he is forcing his attentions on a maid in an upscale hotel. The maid, Beatrice, is a refugee from Uganda, and she is barely scraping by in this expensive city. The other main characters are Carol, a lonely older widow in the suburbs, and Esme, a young and frazzled reporter. As a journalist herself, Day is especially sardonic about the cutthroat world of the British tabloids. The fast-paced plot hooks the reader once Carol finds something disturbing in a neighbor's garden.
VERDICT This well-crafted, imaginative story of contemporary London life will appeal to readers who loved John Lanchester's Capital and Penelope Lively's How It All Began. It blends witty comedy, touching poignancy, and a believable cast of characters in a novel that's hard to put down.
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