A Stairway to Paradise

Madeleine John

From the Booker short-listed author of The Essence of theThing. Madeleine St John’s new novel is a poignant, perceptive and deliciously funny portrait of modern life and an elegant anatomy of love. Her most beguiling novel to date.

Madeleine St John’s poignant and characteristically witty new novel tells the story of three people locked in an unhappy kaleidoscope of emotions and desires, none able to articulate the precise quality of their longing and dissatisfaction. There’s Alex, miserable in his cold and calmly professional marriage, unable to leave because of his two children. Next comes Andrew, recently home from ten years in America, leaving an ex-wife and a beloved daughter on the other side of the world. And finally, there’s Barbara, the enchanting and lustrous object of their affections, formidably self-possessed but strangely aimless and unfulfilled.

With elegance and acuity, Madeleine St John chronicles their progress through numerous false starts, reversals and apprehensions; the result is a memorable anatomy of desire and its opposite – despair.

Reviews of A Stairway to Paradise