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Summary

An audacious, compassionate state-of-the-nation novel about four strangers whose lives collide with far-reaching consequences.

Beatrice Kizza, a woman in flight from a homeland that condemned her for daring to love, flees to London. There, she shields her sorrow from the indifference of her adopted city and navigates a nighttime world of shift work and bedsits.

Howard Pink is a self-made millionaire who has risen from Petticoat Lane to the mansions of Kensington on a tide of determination and bluster. Yet self-doubt still snaps at his heels, and his life is shadowed by the terrible loss that has shaken him to his foundations.

Carol Hetherington, recently widowed, is living the quiet life in Wandsworth with her cat and The Jeremy Kyle Show for company. As she tries to come to terms with the absence her husband has left on the other side of the bed, she frets over her daughter's prospects and wonders if she'll ever be happy again.

Esme Reade is a young journalist learning to muck-rake and doorstep in pursuit of the elusive scoop, even as she longs to find some greater meaning and leave her imprint on the world.

Four strangers, each inhabitants of the same city, where the gulf between those who have too much and those who will never have enough is impossibly vast. But when the glass that separates Howard's and Beatrice's worlds is shattered by an inexcusable act, they discover that the capital has connected them in ways they could never have imagined.

©2019 Elizabeth Day (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"An acutely observed and insightful portrait of contemporary urban life. Audacious, funny and shrewdly telling - written with tremendous confidence and brio." (William Boyd)

"A wise, big-hearted novel. I was utterly caught up in Day's four interweaving lives." (Esther Freud)

"Combines great story-telling with finely detailed characterisation: a literary page-turner." (David Baddiel)

What listeners say about Paradise City

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Gentle and perceptive

This story draws you in right from the start. It's not as if anything much actually 'happens' but the author has a natural empathetic instinct when she portrays her characters who we come to know and appreciate as the book unfolds. And even the descriptions of the day to day backdrops are somehow unassuming yet spot on. There is a heart warming quality about this story made even more poignant by the narrator who fits it perfectly. A gentle addictive listen.

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Enjoyable storyline and great narration but…

Really enjoyed the characters in this, all given distinct dialects by the narrator, and all cleverly coming together through the storyline. Also makes you realise that you can’t hastily judge people or form opinions. The thing that niggled me with this book is the way the author has to provide details you don’t need and comparisons that make no sense eg “like a can of open soup”, “like the colour of air mail paper”. We understand that children might be in a park without needing to know that they might be “clutching little squidgy foil packets of dried fruit”.

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Lovely story, kept interested the whole way

Such an interesting story loved how all 4 lives were entwined, certainly recommend this. Great listen

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don't bother

this was surprisingly hard to finish, had the last 20 mins queued up for a while. seriously don't bother, the story is meh, the narrator keeps stumbling over her words and the only reason I stayed on is I wanted to know what happened to the dead daughter and even that wasn't worth it in the end.