Verdict: The Last Paradise is a story beautifully crafted story of human struggles and the will to survive that will remain with you for days after you’ve turned the last pages.
Michael Kasenow, novelist and poet, has written an exquisitely visual saga of Post-Civil War America.
The Last Paradise is panoramic in its description of a grand city—Galveston, Texas—and a country that is still seething with racial strife. But despite the turmoil, born anew, the city bustles with a growing population, industry, culture, money and an elegance and optimism that looks toward a limitless future. Galveston is a true melting pot, with the wealthy defining the rules of society’s behavior and the down-trodden poor willing to saddle the abuse and the heavy burdens that fall upon the laboring class.
Kasenow’s cast of quirky, and often humorous, characters make up a brilliant tapestry of humanity and enhance the background on a cinematic level. An eclectic crew, Maxwell is an enigmatic loner with a secret past, a loyal heart and a physical and moral strength that portrays him as our hero. Newyt, a Harvard alumni, is Max’s partner in labor and mischief. Both are educated, but choose the unencumbered life of drifters, always looking for their next little piece of heaven. Bishop, a black man who must tolerate the prejudices that still remain, dreams of a better and equal life for his family. Fanny, a young and endearing prostitute, does what she must to make a better life for her young son, Cody. Hale, a police officer who is vicious and brutal to the poor whites and blacks of the city. And finally there is Boss Conner, a wealthy businessman who easily resorts to cold blooded murder as a means to enforce his personal agenda.
Galveston is, in itself, a bold character in the story and through Karenow’s ability to paint visual images with his words, we see it flourish in a golden age only to be demolished in a hurricane of historic proportions as citizens we have come to love, lose their lives as the city is brought to a sudden and tragic stand still. The reader can smell and touch the very essence of the city and feel both the vibrancy and the heartbreak of this time in American history.
The Last Paradise is a story beautifully crafted story of human struggles and the will to survive that will remain with you for days after you’ve turned the last pages.
Reviewed by Peggy La Vake for IndieReader
Purchase The Last Paradise: A Novel from Amazon