Thursday, October 6, 2016

Paradise Lodge, by Nina Stibbe

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Nina Stibbe's Paradise Lodge provides classic English comedy. 

It’s 1977. Fifteen-year-old Lizzie Vogel has taken up a job working at a nearby nursing home called Paradise Lodge. While her main aim is to make a little extra cash so she can indulge in more upmarket shampoos and coffee (econo-coffee brand is her mother’s household staple), Lizzie soon warms to the elderly residents and her fellow nurses. The nursing home turns into a bit of a refuge, a second home with its laid back atmosphere, breezy chatter and seemingly endless consumption of cigarettes, coffee and cream-centred biscuits. It is at Paradise Lodge that Lizzie can put her problems (home and school) momentarily on the backburner. This peaceful stability is about to disrupted when the owners wife leaves her husband to start up a rival nursing home.

This is a completely zany comedy with a guaranteed laugh on every page. The story travels at a breakneck pace, following all the minute dramas, conflicts and work politics of the nursing home. While the tone is often acerbic and sharp, there’s a lot of warmth and humanity underneath. LIzzie develops genuinely close relationships with the residents.  

Funny and heartwarming, Paradise Lodge will make you glad to be alive.  

Paradise Lodge, by Nina Stibbe. Published by Viking. ISBN: 9780241240250 RRP: $32.99

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