Steven Earnshaw
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A. L. Kennedy, Paradise (2004)
in The Existential drinker
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This chapter identifies A. L. Kennedy’s novel Paradise as having many of the elements of the Existential-drinker text – a protagonist, Hannah Luckraft, who commits to drinking, coupled with questions around how to exist in an essentially meaningless universe – yet also shows signs of surrendering this understanding to a hedonism that eventually becomes indistinguishable from complete oblivion. A distinctive feature of the novel is that it presents the reader with two drinkers who are in love with each other and for large portions of the novel remain committed to their drinking. Another feature of the novel is its paralleling of events with the Stations of the Cross and associated meanings, usually treated in ironic fashion. Throughout the novel, notwithstanding the potential for love and religion to provide purposefulness for Hannah, this is another novel which ultimately eschews any meaning-making framework.

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