Book Jacket

 

rank 1171
word count 94289
date submitted 22.11.2011
date updated 06.03.2012
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller...
classification: adult
complete

Fools' Paradise

Amy Pope

A black-comedy thriller set in Greece where death and madness cast a cloud over a luxury holiday.

 

A group of Londoners in their thirties head to a remote Greek island for a holiday in luxurious villa.
The film star owner isn’t there - his less successful brother Nathan is hosting the party at his expense. There’s a fully stocked wine cellar, a cornucopia of food and gorgeous female fans flinging themselves at the gates.
But one of the guests, a charming if inconsequential failed hack, is - unbeknown to his family and friends, and even to some extent himself - a little unhinged.
To everyone else, it's just a sunny, hedonistic vacation. To him it comes to resemble the second part of Crime and Punishment.

The Island's name, Kairos, means missing a crucial moment. There's a lot these people miss or fail to grasp, through choice or drink or hope. As another guest says, it's paradise without the tree of knowledge (although he is, to be fair, talking about the lack of internet connection). Sadly he will die none the wiser.

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tags

, affair, black comedy, celebrity, death, debt to pleasure, famous, greece, groupies, hedonism, lies, lifestyles, moral dilemna, rich, romance, sex, t...

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27 comments

 

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Wanttobeawriter wrote 742 days ago

FOOL’S PARADISE
This is an interesting story (altho I’m not sure reading the details of a man puking made my day). I like the mystery of the cell phones a lot: a really great way to introduce a sense of mystery from the first page. I think the mark of this is your dialogue; it’s crisp and always brief (like the line, “My brother has good taste in women who have good taste”). Makes your story move at a fast but still interesting pace. And makes for a good read. Highly starred and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

A.L.Michael wrote 751 days ago

Really enjoying this!

Juliet Blaxland wrote 758 days ago

Fools' Paradise creates an original genre of its own; something like 'Tragicomic Allegorical Thriller'... The Last Weekend meets Shallow Grave, and all the more sinister for being bathed in glamorously bright sunlight...

whoster wrote 760 days ago

I noticed this on Emma Cave's shelf - so thought I'd take a gander at the opening chapter. It makes a nice change to see something promoted as comedy that actually is humorous. A special mention for the James Stewart/Vertigo comparison - a fiendishly definitive piece of post-puke descriptiveness. A thoroughly entertaining description of the clan making their way through the sea of breasts also.

From the pitch, this looks like it could be a hugely enjoyable caper. I'll keep this on my watchlist and hope to read more over the coming days.

Pete

FrancesK wrote 764 days ago

Unputdownable. Greek tragedy told in the voice of Pooter. Epigrammatic dissection of a party of friends from Hades, reminded me of Martin Amis' 'Dead Babies'. I felt, however, that ijust as the Furies pursue the man with the fatal flaw unto death, so Adam should surely perish in an undignified and comic way. I enjoyed this immensely and it gets 6 stars and a future shelving as soon as the Fates decree.

Emsbabee wrote 768 days ago

This is a cracking read, Lucy. It reminds me of 'A Proper Holiday' by Ann Oakley, I like the sense of unease you begin to build from the very first line and your voice is clear and confident. I was especially impressed with the dialogue, which frequently sparkles and feels entirely natural. I can really picture how it must feel to be facing the prospect of a holiday on this 'rock in the middle of nowehere', sun beating down and seemingly nowhere to hide.

For me, a bit less description, interiors wise, would improve the pace and there are paragraphs that I found slightly repetitive, for example I think you use about five different words for vomit in your opening scene. But as I said before, a cracking good read and I'm sure you'll find an agent. Starred and on my WL.

Elizabeth.NYC wrote 779 days ago

I'm won over to this story in the first chapter. There's so much to enjoy here - tightly written style that shines because of the distinctive and enjoyable voice. I find voice the most difficult and elusive quality to describe, but when it's good the work shines. Strong dialogue skills, too, which keeps the pacing perfect. Descriptions hit the mark - not over-written, which would be easy to do in such a lush setting -- and I felt I was present right there with them. I look forward to reading on.

Lizzi

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 781 days ago

Excellent third person prose interspersed with great dialogue. The flinging of cell phones "first his then hers, etc." invokes a question in this reader's mind: How did he know who owned each cell phone? Great work, on my WL. Chuck

L_MC wrote 784 days ago

Good title, intriguing pitch. Loving the Greek island setting and the way you tied it in with the meaning of Kairos.

Quite a cast of characters to get used to but they have reasons to be wound together and placed on the island. This could have been the perfect setting and characters that told an entertaining story about shallow people but you've gone further and added extra layers of depth to the story, by including the children you've moved the characters on to a time in their life when responsibility beckons. Lots of questions being introduced in these opening chapters and I wonder where the revelation of Adam's blackouts will lead us. Good opening with hooks.

iandsmith wrote 785 days ago

Hello, it’s a really good idea. Well done. I’m enjoying the opening chapters so far.

David J Baron wrote 794 days ago

Loved this from the start. Also read 'And other textbook symptoms' (hope that doesn't creep you out!) on Spilling Ink, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. I'm surprised this book isn't higher up the ranks but that's not the only reason I'm backing it. This is a funny, articulate and very well written book.

David

j.l. wood-miller wrote 807 days ago

Lucy Pizey's "Fool's Paradise" demonstrates throughout a consistency of wit and observation, along with prose that has just the slightest poetic inflection. Quinn, Nathan, Hyde--all male characters--are all fully realized by this female author; obviously she's been watching us carefully. It might start off a bit slowly, but the plot is also well realized and all of the important hints are dropped when they need to be dropped. So stick with it. Enjoy the simple professionalism of writing that does what most writing on Authonomy doesn't, invite a re-reading just because it's a solidy provocative and rewarding read.

--j.l. wood-miller

johnpatrick wrote 809 days ago

Hello Amy,
Thank you for a great read. i'm afraid I have little more than gushing praise for you.
This is entertaining, erudite and familiar whilst still intríguing.
You control the narrative-which could easily spill into a mesh of names and swallowness-very tightly.
Some wonderful lines and images. A cut crystal feel to the whole experience.
Curiosity outweighs sympathy towards the characters-with maybe the exception of Zoe-and the languid setting disguises a brisk pace.
It's very accomplished writing, difficult to fault. Chap 3 Nathan came out of the patio doors... This part is a bit heavy on the word 'He'.
Highly starrred and on my WL.
Thank you again.
John
Dropping Babies.

karen 19 wrote 810 days ago

Fool's Paradise is a great read, which I found well written. An early introduction to the characters and the set-up at the villa had me hooked. This is the kind of story I can see being very popular with women readers. It has all the elements of a gossip mag, with the promise of a lot of scandal to come. The jaded hack, Adam, is well drawn, and judging by your profile I imagine you know a few characters like this in your real life.

An excellent read that I think could easily do very well when published.
High stars and backed.

Karen 19
The Way Things Are

turnerpage wrote 824 days ago

Fool’s Paradise – what a great new title. I read this before the most recent update and admired it then. The way that the lives of the characters lives are intertwined, reminds me a little of the Australian television drama shown recently on BBC4 – adapted from Christos Tsolkas’s, The Slap. I like the way most of the characters are flawed – it brings an authenticity that’s often missing in other tales set around a group of friends thrown together in a pressure cooker environment.

I was so absorbed that I read right through to the end of Chapter 3, as I really liked the way you hooked the reader into wanting to know what all that business over the phones was about.

Although there are so many sharp and witty lines here as other commentators have pointed out but what I really liked were the acutely observed details, for instance, in Chapter 3 when Adam looks down at the activity going on in the pool. And then I laughed out loud as I recognised that I too have probably been guilty, like Adam of ‘trying to blank out a cat without offending it.’

Will find a place for this on my shelf as soon as I can. This deserves to do very well here.
Lambert Nagle - Revolution Earth

Robert McCracken wrote 828 days ago

Hi Lucy,
Loved the pitch and found the first chapter very entertaining. A great setting and interesting characters in Nathan, Zoe and the kids. They remind me of the cast of Outnumbered. I will read on, but in the meantime it's a pleasure to set this on my bookshelf thingy.
Best of luck,
Robert

Wussyboy wrote 829 days ago

This is some of the best, most enjoyable, literary fiction I have read on this site. Very slick, very polished, very funny. There's some corking one-liners here that I will cherish for a long time: "What kind of person has a wooden car"..."large-breasted women rely on the support of their underwear"...and (Adam's mournful mid-life-crisis refrain).."There were no ladders, only snakes."

I didn't dislike Adam, felt rather sorry for him. And whoa, what a turn up - a menagerie of skimpily-clad groupies about to drool all over him, I bet Zoe is going to get jealous! (actually, why isn't she more worried, lol!). I loved the film refs to Vertigo and Christine too, and the crisp, witty dialogue is nigh perfect. My eye actually only stuck in one single place, and this may just be me. When you say "the girl certainly knew how to manipulate her sexuality" I thought it read 'manipulate her sexually', lol! I thought "hang on, who is "her" and isn't she lucky? Maybe, to avoid such male fantasy speculations like this, you might substitute the word "used" for "manipulate"?

Giving this 6 stars is a pleasure, Lucy. I'll back to read more, hopefully over the w/end.

Joe Kovacs
Rupee Millionaires

(I'm a bit thick. Why did Adam chuck those phones in the sea? And why wasn't he upset to see a whole pile of them over at Nate's gaffe?)

Wussyboy wrote 829 days ago

Hi Lucy, just starting to read you now.

Before I do, could I make one tiny suggest re your long pitch? How about a couple of para breaks after 'hospitality' and 'dies'. Oh, and a third one after 'holiday'. That fab last line re Crime and Punishment should definitely stand alone!

Su Dan wrote 835 days ago

you write very well for this type of book- it has a tense feel, perfect flow, and the need to read more...
good enough to back.
six stars************
read SEASONS...

hsheffield wrote 836 days ago

So well written Lucy - easy to read and the words just flowed. Didn't particularly care for or relate to any of the characters but I am now interested to find out what happens in relation to the dead body and the various damaged friends on holiday together in, supposedly, paradise! I loved the descriptions of the island-felt transported to Greece very quickly.
Good luck with this.

paul house wrote 836 days ago

Enjoyed and shelved. I founf it nice and easy to read. The story flowed and held my interest. Were I to make any criticism it would only be nitpicking and basically concerned with certain expressions. You obviously wanted to write them so it would be presumptious of me to suggest they be changed. I did like "They're just words", though, at the end of Chapter 1. Tells you an awful lot about the character without the need for boring descriptions.

Bill Scott wrote 844 days ago

My new favorite line - "My brother has good taste in wives with good taste."

The only thing that seemed off to me was "glass of Martini." I've only just heard martini, not "glass of."

Great voice
Best
Bill

billysunday wrote 851 days ago

I like your dry humor! This book is filled with zinger! You have a very stylized type of writing that permeates through your characters. This book has got a lot going for it: exotic setting, naked girls, a comedic family (reminds me of Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon's movies), and a missing movie star. Am still intrigued about why he took the phones. Great job! 6 stars
Dina from Halo of the Damned and Bad Juju

Jack Hughes wrote 856 days ago

Brilliantly written, wry observational humour, an electric ambience. A superb work, Lucy, backed as soon as I can.

Best of luck, I hope you do well.

Jack

Penny Faith wrote 864 days ago

This is highly enjoyable - well written, intelligent, humorous and very professional.
But then you are a professional writer - or more obviously a born writer.
Although I don't feel the scenario is particularly original, the characters are neatly drawn so as not to appear stereotypes - I love the description of Zoe as in a kind of denial about living in suburbia - and therefore feel believable.
There so many lovely little throw aways - the coma book list, the eco-warrior's children dressed in hemp.

The only major jarring for me was in chapter 2 and it's probably just a personal choice, but I would always avoid using 'he remembered'. The sentence could just as easily read 'When he'd first met her at Nathan's flat she terrified him...' and then a bit later 'at one party she'd worn...' The use of tense tells us it's in the past and I think it's more effective and less clunky then using 'he remembered'.

There are some typos here and there but I'm sure a closer read by you would sort that out.

This completely felt like a publishable novel and I am starring it and bookshelving when I've worked out how this whole thing really works.
Well done and thank you for such an enjoyable read.
Penny

Amy Pope wrote 871 days ago

Hi Andrew
Thank you, much appreciated, especially the typos which seem to reappear endlessly like nits. I think I may have overtweaked it, focused on a line on its own and made a repetition error. I hate those most of all.
The narrative voice comment is fair enough. I've analysed it to death, and have always been aware of it, but it has always just felt so right to me. I know it's a big screaming basic no no in all the how to write a novel guides, but I tried it every other way and it didn't work - and I think I then read a couple of great writers who did it (I know, they're great therefore they can...). But I feel it works, I really do, it works visually for me, and lyrically - if that makes any sense.
As to The Poet, it's quality.
I read your first section and am trying to work out a way of putting it on my bookshelf (just getting used to this site) as I really enjoyed it and was gripped almost instantly - actually by the title (even if it was a Michael Connelly thriller. My parents had it years ago). It evoked those 70s and 80s eras really powerfully for me without overdoing it - so many books make endless lists - but just the odd car and packet of matchmakers do it. And the sense of being eight, then 13/14 - my son is eight and lives in his own boy world. I think you've captured that magical solitude really well, something adults forget about. I like the way the prologue sets up the tension. Reading the first chapter I was as panicky and paranoid as the kid, wondering when the hammer was going to strike and who was going to strike it. Liked the car he was peering into and I feel that cold - his imagination is totally convincing. Kids are like that - my son gets 'bad feelings' that sometimes chill me. It's like the kid in The Shining.
I will make a list if you really need one, but to be honest, you sound like you're beyond that and nothing jarred - I like the title, was drawn to the blurb, it's the kind of book I like to read, I'm enjoying it as I would if I had been recommended by a reviewer and bought it in the shop, and as soon as I can work out how to use this site, will put it on my shelf to read - aware of course that I cannot read the end (hopefully it will be published soon tho, so I can).
All the best
Lucy

AndrewStevens wrote 871 days ago

I really enjoyed this, Lucy. On my shelf.

The prose is very polished and peppered with lots of quirkily original turns of phrase and imagery (I especially liked the image of Adam flinching as though being ironed and Quinn’s 69 relationship with the press). The various characters feel fully formed and distinct (the contrast between Adam’s world-weariness and Nathan’s effusive bonhomie works particularly well) and the tension – both within Adam’s family and between the various friends/acquaintances – is subtly but powerfully conveyed.

The sense of place is clear and convincing with just enough detail to root the reader in the moment. The dialogue is particularly strong, adding good energy to the scenes and allowing the reader to better understand the dynamics involved within the various groups. It’s also very funny in places, both in terms of the conversational exchanges (Nathan feels like an appealingly amusing character and a good foil for Adam’s cynicism) and the clever phrasing and word play. The plot comes across as well thought out and complex with plenty of opportunity for both comedy and drama. Terrific stuff.

If I were to make any criticism, it would be that, at times, the focus of the narrative voice seems to waiver. For most of the opening chapter, the story seems to be told from a rather distant, omniscient POV but occasionally we appear to shift to a very focussed, intimate narrative voice. While changes in POV are clearly fine, I did find the abruptness of the shifts back and forth slightly disorientating. Maybe something you may wish to look at? Just a thought.

In short, a stylish, confident, often very funny opening. On my shelf and best of luck. Thanks. A


Observations on Ch1:

‘then hurls forward, grips the rail and pukes…’ – the alternative of meaning of ‘hurl’ threw me slightly here. maybe ‘staggers’, ‘lunges’??

Also, repetition of ‘hurl’ in following para.

Eleven not 11??

Where the speaker changes, each line of dialogue should really start on a new line. eg. ‘He’s over there,’ he lied. [new line] She looked up. ‘Where?’

‘a sound like a chain’ – not really sure what this means?? Is this a metal chain being dropped?? An anchor, maybe??

‘imaging’ typo?? ‘imagining’??

The dialogue is excellent – real, purposeful, often very funny (love the ‘No hug.. I puked on the boat… I don’t mind…’ exchange!!)

‘I’m sure you’re enlightening them.’ – who says this?

‘black sun spots, holes in the scenery’ – not sure what this means??

I’m not quite sure what to make of the POV. Most of the time, it feels like a rather distant, omniscient POV but then we zoom in and the perspective becomes very focussed and personal (eg ‘Adam, she noticed, was gripping..’) It’s not spoiling my enjoyment too much but it does make for quite a dizzying read??

‘To Nathan’s dismay…’ – this para feels a bit clunky and not as free flowing and natural as the rest of the prose??

‘trying to kiss Daddy [not daddy]…’

Is there a reason why the teenagers don’t cross the threshold when the gates open? If there isn’t, it does seem a bit odd??

Repetition of ‘lip curled’. Not sure if this is deliberate??

‘His life, he now knew, was beyond that. There were no ladders, only snakes.’ – fabulous line. Really lets the reader identify with Adam’s forlorn world-weariness.

‘led’ not ‘lead’??

Terrific end to chapter. Intriguing and involving. Great last line.

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