With all the "reality" shows that run the networks these days, it is so refreshing to discover a novel that you can dive into as a distraction to all the noise around us.
The Last Day of Paradise is one of those books you pick up because of the interesting cover art and unusual title. It doesn't take long to discover the double entendre of the title and realize the book is not at all what you thought. That is how the best works of fiction usually hook you. What you think is coming doesn't - and what you find you weren't looking for!
The book is the coming of age story of a young girl named Sunday living in Greece. Her and her friends reject their parents repressive ideas of family and culture that shackle them to the past. The kids speak English to each other as a code of cool talk and to liberate themselves from the world of the past that lingers on.
The author, Kiki Denis was herself born and raised in Greece and is a longtime New Yorker. She is able to make us feel that sense of longing that is universal for any young person growing up in a small town. It is that universal ambition for more that we can all remember- the desire to expand your horizons and get out and see the world.
A first time author Ms. Denis uses a wonderful technique of switching into a unique dialect of broken English mixed with contemporary slang - so much fun to read and process!
Denis herself is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College which is one of the most prestigious Universities in America. Actually, it is the founding University of the Seven Sisters - a network of Universities exclusively for Women to be the female alternative to the Ivy League schools for men. For Kiki to write in this broken English style must have been a challenge. In her own way, it is a poignant commentary of the culture that raised her and to remind us just how much things have changed.
The story has twists and turns and takes you on a wonderful journey that is at times hysterical and at times very emotional - never an easy task. There is also a great fashion tie-in woven through the story.
The novel has gotten attention from some major competitions and important book reviews. Denis received an honorable mention in the
2007 Hollywood Book Festival (category: wild card) for her work.
Published by Gival Press, the easiest way to find it is to click on the title link above. The book is a perfect read to take on a weekend trip or better yet to give as a gift this holiday season.
If anyone has already read the story, please let us know your thoughts!
Kiki Denis lives in NYC and is currently working on her second novel.