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 ReviewUser 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