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The Last Paradise, By: Michael Kasenow - Book Reivew

January 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

Michael Kasenow's The Last Paradise brings together an eclectic ensemble of characters living of Galveston, Texas during Post-Civil War America. The Alley, home to people in all walks of life from prostitutes to nuns, is the setting not only of the injustice and bigotry of the times, but also a place where friendship and family bonds help the characters hold their heads high and endure the many hardships.

The initial introduction to the character around which most of the book is centered, Maxwell Hayes, does the man a bit of injustice; it is not until further into the book the reader sees the true depth of the man. A drifter by nature, Maxwell is on a quest for something, although not even he knows what it is. The reader gravitates to wanting him to find a 'home' for himself, while still having Maxwell maintain his sense of freedom and values of what is right in the world. It is easy to forgive this man for any of his wrongdoings because we see his intentions are pure.

Freedom is a key theme in this book, as several other characters are also fighting for that right. One of the most endearing characters, Bishop, a former slave, wants to see nothing more than for his children to go to college and have the opportunities he never had. Sadly, his dream for his son comes to a tragic end, yet he still perseveres, bringing forth admirable resolve.

The distance between those 'who have' and the 'have-nots' is very wide and articulated well in this novel. Yet, the reader finds that not even money can buy true happiness; as the well-off characters fight demons of their own. The novel leaves you rooting for the underdog, whatever social status the particular character may have.

Kasenow's vivid descriptions of Galveston and his minutia of details of this era aid to make this book a very realistic read. The depiction of life after the Civil War and the intricate details of the city of Galveston during this period create a period piece for the readers to place themselves into this time. Kasenow does a great job of exploring the oppression and injustices of this time period and balancing it out with the friendships and human goodness which is found in his characters. For readers interested in a book capable of transporting them into the past, with original insights to how day to day life was lived, combined with a memorable character, The Last Paradise is a wonderful book to read.

Reviewed by: Suzanne Gattis, Pacific Book Review

Source: EzineArticles
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