Paradise City – Elizabeth Day – Book Review

ParadiseCityGoodreads blurb: A novel that seeks to answer big questions—of love and death, ambition and failure, responsibility and guilt—with a rich cast of characters from every strata of society.

Four disparate characters find themselves linked together in Paradise City. Howard Pink is a wildly successful businessman still struggling to cope fifteen years after his nineteen-year-old daughter disappeared. Beatrice Kizza fled persecution from Uganda where homosexuality is illegal. She now works as a maid at a hotel Howard frequents. Esme Reade, an ambitious staff reporter on a Sunday tabloid, is desperate to get the Howard Pink interview for which all London reporters froth at the mouths. Carol Hetherington, a widow who has time to keep an eye on her neighbors’ actions, makes an astonishing discovery.

Paradise City explores what a city means to those who come seeking their fortune or a better life. It is also a story of absence and loss, of how we shape ourselves around the spaces that people leave behind.


Let me first confess that although I kind of liked how this book began I was kind of disappointed with how it all ended up. While the premise of four different characters who are from different walks of life, different stages of their life, different careers and entirely different backgrounds strung together by a peculiar series of events in their lives is interesting, I guess the characters themselves lacked enough of depth, at least in my opinion, to make it an interesting book overall.

While the writing is extremely competent, the pacing good, what the book lacked was an overall overarching structure against which the characters and the overall plot had to be put up against. The fact that the proceedings of the book kept moving on despite the lack of an overall coherence to what was happening put me off at multiple times during the reading of the book. Yes, while the book does provide a commentary on the existing subtle layers of class differentiation in modern day London, it is not quite brought out starkly and harshly enough to leave an impact on the reader. The author would have been well advised to use her dramatic and creative license to make some of the occurrences in the book more hard hitting rather than take the subtle approach to her story telling.

In a nutshell, this book was not quite my cup of tea, although I suspect that people who have a flair for enjoying the ‘literary fiction’ genre of books might find this book to be a good read.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].


A review copy of this book was provided in return for an honest and unbiased review of the same.