Paradise Overdose

Brian Antoni, Author
Brian Antoni, Author Simon & Schuster $20.5 (251p) ISBN 978-0-671-88426-0
Paperback - 251 pages - 978-0-8021-3487-5
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Cocaine, cancer, art, racial and economic tension, childhood traumas and graphic sex receive equally sophomoric treatment in this debut, a wearisome tale of darkness beneath the blazing Bahamian sun. Contemporary Freeport is the lifelong home of Chris Angostura, privileged white heir to a Caribbean bitters fortune, and his black half-brother Shark. Best friends, the pair live in a state of constant debauchery, with Chris haunted by memories of their youth and of his mother's (possibly suicidal) depression. Shark, meanwhile, is becoming dangerously involved in the drug-trafficking underworld. Chris's passion for Robin, a conceptual artist and terminal cancer patient, inspires him to try to change all of their lives. The Bahamian milieu proves more interesting than any of the novel's characters, although Antoni seems preoccupied with his self-impressed protagonist. A lack of subtlety pervades the narrative, reaching its nadir in the overwrought dialogue that depicts the blossoming romance between Chris and Robin, two would-be aesthetes. These flaws, together with a callow 1980s sensibility, severely undermine the novel's impact. (Nov.)
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