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Paradise Estate

288 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published October 2023
ISBN 9781922725844

Paradise Estate

Max Easton

Receive a discount when you buy Paradise Estate together with Max Easton’s 2021 novel, The Magpie Wing. Find out more.

The new novel from the author of The Magpie Wing, longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

It’s 2022 and Helen is starting again. Newly single, dogged by grief, adrift in a hostile rental market, she finds a four-bedroom house flanked by apartment blocks that stare into the yard. Despite the lack of privacy, she fills its rooms with an unlikely group of residents looking for communal belonging: zine maker, activist, disaffected artist, part-time rugby league player – each looking to build a future, each haunted by their recent past. But if a rented house in Sydney could ever promise salvation, it would come with a coating of black mould.

Set across the course of a year, against the backdrop of pandemic and war, of climate and housing crises, Paradise Estate documents the struggle against generational confusion and social malaise. When isolation and atomisation are all we’ve been given, what can be built from common ground?

Written with ironic wit and an eye for contemporary events, the follow-up to Max Easton’s acclaimed debut, The Magpie Wing, sets the pessimism of its times against the optimism of the will.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – Fiction 2024

It’s exhilarating to read something so close to the present and with such specific textures of place…Easton understands the uneasy relief that sets in at rock bottom, deals with human fragility in a steady, understated way – and always punches up. He is unforgiving of his characters’ small hypocrisies but never forgets their ache to be known.
Imogen Dewey, The Guardian

Max Easton is once again uncomfortably perceptive. Paradise Estate acerbically captures the frustrated idealism of leftist sharehouse living, questioning the efficacy of radical politics and art even as it stokes the fires of rebellion. It’s Monkey Grip for the Mark Fisher generation.
Madeleine Gray

Easton’s aspirations are bigger than merely documenting a social moment. By teasing out the particularity of his characters’ lives, he captures not just the deadening effect of capitalism’s cooption and commodification of every aspect of our lives, but the joys and disappointments of trying to build a space from which to resist.
James Bradley, Saturday Paper

Full of mordant social and character observation.
Sydney Morning Herald (Fiction Pick of the Week)

This too is one of Paradise Estate’s many bold pleasures – it is a book that is utterly unafraid to talk about the now, and more than that, the Australian now…There is sensitivity here, even interspersed within the most pointed of comic jabs.
Joseph Earp, Sydney Review of Books

This is an author who can blend witty observation with compassion, and occasionally through comic effect. This quality in Easton’s writing elevates Paradise Estate above similar counterparts. Many contemporary novels now tend to capture millennial malaise or even the tragicomedy underpinning characters’ fraught, unstable lives. But few manage to do so while also maintaining a sense of multifaceted complexity in their characters, which often evoke pity and admiration by turns…As a depiction of current reality, [Paradise Estate] is masterful.
Rosalind Moran, Meanjin

Like [Easton’s] debut, Paradise Estate has plenty to say; incisive about class, gentrification and the true motivations behind some of the left’s most vocal ‘allies’. But what’s most enjoyable is its essential Sydney-ness, including how vividly Easton paints a house full of people you don’t always like but who feel very real and recognisable. And the writing is exceptional.
Katie Cunningham, Guardian Australia (best Australian books of 2023)

The book’s emphases resonate with what Ben Lerner…has described as ‘glimmers of potentiality’, moments that glimpse at alternative futures beyond the cultural hegemonies imposed under late-capitalism (fittingly, Lerner also cites the Antonio Gramsci quotation which features as an epigraph to Paradise Estate). As if from the vantage point of a Hurlstone Park high-rise, Easton expertly animates such glimpses, once again enriching a compelling contemporary milieu.
Morgan Nunan, Australian Book Review

About the Author

Max Easton

Max Easton is a writer from Sydney. His work has appeared in Mess+Noise, The Lifted Brow, Meanjin and Sydney Review of Books. He is the creator of Barely Human, a zine and podcast series exploring underground music’s ties to counterculture and subculture. His first novel, The Magpie Wing, was longlisted for the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award. His second work of fiction is Paradise Estate.

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It’s exhilarating to read something so close to the present and with such specific textures of place.

Guardian Australia


HIGHLY COMMENDED: Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – Fiction 2024


‘Show Your Working’ – Kill Your Darlings

Triple R – Literati Glitterati (radio)

‘Twenty Days of Black Mould: Part 1’ – Getting Lit (podcast)

‘Twenty Days of Black Mould: Part 2’ – Getting Lit (podcast)

‘PRL Book Club’ – Progressive Ruby League (podcast)

‘Max Easton – Paradise Estate’ – Beyond the Zero (podcast)

‘Language of the Damned Crawls So it Can Walk Again’ – Language of the Damned (podcast)

Related News

Three vignettes from Paradise Estate by Max Easton

‘After some hectoring, Dale told them about the circumstances that lead to him being made redundant (‘who doesn’t wank at work?’ the eldest at the table said, and when the youngest was hesitant to support Dale, the older man yelled: “what are you a priest?!”). Dale laughed meekly with these people, who he felt a comfort with, a generation who had never picked him up on his behaviour.’

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Max Easton: a note on Paradise Estate

‘I tried to take notes and wrap a narrative around all these events, to find parallels by way of allegory, to satirise the process itself as I went, allowing the march of 2022 to dictate the progress of the book. It was much more of an experimental process than I imagined, and it took a lot of work to bring it into some kind of order.’

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