Based on the terrible truths of Jonestown, Jim Jones's utopian commune in Guyana, Children of Paradise is a beautifully imagined novel that interweaves history and fiction to portray a mother and daughter's escape from the rule of a religious madman.
Joyce and her young daughter, Trina, have followed a charismatic preacher from California to the wilds of Guyana, where a thousand congregants have cleared a swath of dense jungle and built a utopian society based on a rigid order guarded over by armed men and teenage "prefects." Each day ends with sermons that demonstrate the preacher's capricious violence and his utmost hostility toward even a whisper of skepticism. But try as the preacher may to block out the world, the commune's seclusion is being breached, first by tribal elders complaining of polluted river water downstream, then by an invisible presence that has helped a young boy to disappear, and finally with rumors of the imminent arrival of a congressional delegation on a fact-finding mission.
As the camp begins rehearsing an endgame of mass suicide, Joyce and Trina attempt a daring escape, aided by a local boat captain and the most unlikely of prisoners—the extraordinary Adam, the commune's caged gorilla.
Told with a sweeping perspective in lush prose, shimmering with magic, and devastating in its clarity, Children of Paradise is a brilliant and evocative exploration of the liberating power of storytelling.
The story is well written from the unique perspective of a captive gorilla.
It kind of felt like "Lost" (the TV show) did at the end where you think you know what is happening and then you realize you don't - but not in a good way.
The last thirty or so pages will have you turning them quickly as this riveting novel reaches its climax.
Upon reading, it made sense that Fred D'augiar, the author of "Children of Paradise," is also a poet: the writing is lyrical and considered, the perspective is novel. Read morePublished 11 days ago by L. Berk
I've always been fascinated by the story of Jim Jones and the people he led - and betrayed - so I was eager to read this.
The writing is good. Read more
This novel disappoints on so many levels that I am tempted to drop to two stars, but in fairness, the ambition of the project is worthy of praise and the fact that the author has... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Thomas F. Dillingham
Children of Paradise is the story of a mother and daughter caught in the deteriorating world of a religious commune. Read morePublished 1 month ago by alli_g
I really didn't care much for this book. I'm giving it two stars because it could be considered a good book by someone else, but the writing style and subject matter made me not... Read morePublished 1 month ago by A.O.
Back in 1978, the horror of the Jim Jones tragedy was incomprehensible. It remains incomprehensible today. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Carol Toscano
So far, I've only been able to read the first 2 chapters, as I had to evacuate quickly due to a major forest fire. So it sits at home waiting for my return. Read morePublished 5 months ago by scolvig
This is one of the best books I've read this year. I won't go into the details of the story as other reviewers have sufficiently explained it, but I can tell you it is a gripping... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Eva Melusine Thieme
Good enough to keep picking up but not good enough not to be able to put down. The characters were very believable and the writer manages to provoke sympathy for the children but... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amy Crump