Paradise by A. L. Kennedy – a book about drinking and bars, with astonishing insights into the mind of an alcoholic. Hannah Luckcraft, almost 40 years old, living alone, watches as her private and professional life is slowly coming apart. She supports herself by stealing and credit card fraud, supports her crumbling ego by sleeping with random men. One day she meets Robert, dentist and also a passionate drinker and starts a relationship with him. While he helps her over the most depressing days, he may ultimately rather be a curse than a blessing…
Dark, strong liqueurs permeate this piece of writing, to the point where the edges of the scenes get blurred, the speech patterns get slurry and even slightly psychedelic. (Almost) all that can be said about addiction is in this book.
„And you`ll notice I go to the trouble of serving the whiskey, although I don`t have to, there is no one here to see. The point is that I stay civilised, no matter what. The most reliable measure of a person lies in what they do when they`re alone, when they have no need to pretend – are they firm when solitary, or do they slide?
„In preparation for real physical contact, I have to be freed and insulated and warmed and fortified and these qualities only come to me, or indeed anyone else, when the`ve had a drink.
„You will give yourself up. You will be helped. You are a habit that you can`t afford.
„The job actually managed to be more trivial than me, which seemed to produce this Zen glow across my better days… Tuesday lunchtime, I`m forced to admit that I`ve been driven to make the drinker`s most conventional mistake: I`ve started working in a bar.
„Sweet drunk is lovely, maybe the best of the normal states. It´s just as it sounds – warm and biddable and friendly and barely involving alcohol at all.
„Our first sip is around the corner in Marylebone High Street and it kisses our blood, illuminates – just at the good time, before the evening starts, when the sky is folding down to dusk outside…
„I will drink until I leave me, until I leave myself alone.