Paradise

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Dalkey Archive Press, 2005 - Fiction - 208 pages
2 Reviews
Simon, a middle-aged architect separated from his wife, is given the chance to live out a stereotypical male fantasy: freed from the travails of married life, he ends up living with three nubile lingerie models who use him as a sexual object.

Set in the 1980s, there's a further tension between Simon's desire to exploit this stereotypical fantasy and his (as well as the author's) desire to treat the women as human beings, despite the women's claims that Simon can't distinguish between their personalities.

Employing a variety of forms, Barthelme gracefully plays with this setup, creating a story that's not just funny-although it's definitely that-but actually quite melancholy, as Simon knows that the women's departure is inevitable, that this "paradise" will come to an end, and that he'll be left with only an empty house, booze, and regrets about chances not taken.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - abirdman - LibraryThing

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. Read full review

Paradise (American Literature Series)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This 1986 satire of the midlife crisis follows newly single Simon, who moves into his own apartment and shockingly becomes the sex toy of a harem of lingerie models living down the hall. But Simon is ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Donald Barthelme was born on April 7, 1931, and was one of the major U.S. short story writers and novelists of the late twentieth century. Barthelme satirized American life. Born in Philadelphia, Barthelme spent part of his early life in Houston, Texas, and began to write fiction while working as a journalist, director of an art museum and university publicist. These occupations became fuel for his creative fire. His arsenal of techniques included parodies of television shows, radio plays and recipes, long and elaborate metaphors, complex dream sequences, and a break-neck narrative pace. After the publication of his first collection, Come Back Dr. Caligari (1964), Barthelme became a full-time writer of short stories and novels. The latter included Snow White (1967), The Dead Father (1975), and Paradise (1986). Barthelme also published three more short story collections, 60 Stories (1981), Overnight to Many Distant Cities (1983), and 40 Stories (1987). Barthelme died of cancer in 1989.

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