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Paradise Dogs: A Novel Hardcover – June 7, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Florida real estate agent Adam Newman is a befuddled and besotted charmer who wants what he can't have and pretends to be what he isn't in this zany second novel from Martin (Days of the Endless Corvette). This goofy story reads like a long, intricate joke, calling into its service a hot dog restaurant, mistaken identities, missing diamonds, oily land speculators, silly romance, a Commie plot, and a lovable main character whose "head looked like a beach ball someone had partially inflated before giving up." It is 1965, and Adam is trying to win back his ex-wife, Evelyn, with a corny line and ,000 in loose diamonds borrowed from a friend. However, hapless Adam loses the diamonds, is rejected by Evelyn, can't quite squirm out of his engagement to a clingy younger woman, and gets more and more involved in suspicious land speculation that may be for a cross-Florida canal project or a Communist plot. It's a full-bore slapstick marathon in the tradition of Carl Hiaasen, but heavier on camp than caper. (June)
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Review

Man Martin is the recipient of the Georgia Writers Association's Author of the Year for Fiction in 2012 for Paradise Dogs!

An Atlanta Magazine Top Ten pick of 2011
"His bumbling hero, Adam Newman, springs from an imagination somewhere between Carl Hiaasen and A Confederacy of Dunces."--Atlanta Magazine

"A full-bore slapstick marathon in the tradition of Carl Hiaasen."--Publishers Weekly
 
"A satirical cross between Carl Hiaasen's riotous rants about overdevelopment and the delusional swagger of John Kennedy Toole's Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces. Fine writing and slapstick comedy can be a prickly pairing, but Martin makes it look effortless." -- Atlanta Magazine
 
A "hoot of a tale perfect for summer reading" --New York Post

"Driven by the charm of Adam, it’s bumbling hero – a sort of 'holy fool' who impersonates whatever profession is most useful at the time."--Orlando Sentinel
 
"The pacing is perfect, the tone is the right blend of picaresque and touching. Man Martin is simply brilliant."--Booklist
 
"Man Martin’s Paradise Dogs shouts “retro’’ with its cover, a neon title riding in the sky above an aqua car, a roadside diner and a pink (!) alligator. We’re boarding the Wayback Machine to Central Florida in the 1960s, B.D. (Before Disney)....Martin – who grew up in Florida and now lives in Georgia – has a deft hand with local color and shows true affection for his goofy hero. [A]n agreeable ride
back to an orange-blossom-scented past not yet paved with theme parks."--Orlando Home & Leisure

"With a nod to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, fans who enjoy an out of control nostalgic thriller will enjoy Adam's strange sense of second chances as he recalls his happiest moment was selling dirty dogs but ignores the grease burns." -- Midwest Book Review

“A generous, wry, and endlessly sweet novel, one that swept me out of a gloomy, blue day and into Man Martin’s surreal and hilarious take on pre-Disney Florida.”--Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton

“A delicious farce – with a head and a heart.  At the center is Adam Newman, the most hilarious character to come along in ages, a wild-man knight errant who’s able to solve anyone’s problems but his own.  Plenty of absurd situations and laugh-out-loud writing, but with an underlying sadness and compassion that will take you by surprise.”--Nancy Zafris, author of The Metal Shredders and Lucky Strike and fiction editor of The Kenyon Review

“We've got Western novelists staked out on mountain ranges, Southern writers who are cast in bronze on courthouse squares, and Literary Gods sailing a beam reach up East. And then there's Florida. One state with its own sticker on fiction. So Georgia writer Man Martin must’ve slipped across the Okefenokee to get Paradise Dogs so right, and so damn funny, like a retro multi-fold post card from the middle of the Sunshine State before Disney eared its way in.”--Sonny Brewer, author of The Poet of Tolstoy Park and The Widow and the Tree

"In Paradise Dogs, Man Martin has created a character full of verve and unequaled passion. Adam Newman is bound to set readers on fire with his bawdy desire to make things right. This book is righteous, riotous, and riveting. A finely wrought tale of man versus everything."--Doug Crandell, author of The Flawless Skin of Ugly People and Hairdos of the Mildly Depressed

“In Paradise Dogs, Man Martin offers the reader my favorite type of protagonist: part Willie Loman, part Ignatius J. Reilly, and part Roman Strickland from Brad Barkley’s Money, Love.  But Adam Newman is his own man wholly.  He’s the true lovable scam artist wishing to do right.  This is a great, fun read, full of absurdities, perplexities, and wonderfully cathartic insights.”--George Singleton, author of Half Mammals of Dixie and Workshirts for Madmen

“In the beginning, Adam and Evelyn had it good—they had love, questionable good looks, even riches—they had Paradise Dogs. Then, who screws things up? Refreshingly, Adam. Adam Newman, the ultimate Everyman: sweet-talker, conjurer, sneak, klutz, schemer, gambler, inventor, conspiracy theorist, hero, loveable drunk. After bringing banishment upon himself, he embarks on a wild adventure with more twists and turns and ups and downs than Space Mountain, keeping his eye all the while on an ultimate return to Paradise. Don’t miss out on this ride—it’s sure to make you gasp, shout, and laugh out loud.”--Meg Kearney, former Associate Director of the National Book Foundation 

Paradise Dogs is crisply paced, sharply written, nimbly structured. It has that rare combination of headlong momentum and the line-by-line finesse that makes a reader linger and luxuriate. Man Martin is no longer just a talent to watch; he’s a writer to celebrate. Loudly, and now.”--Michael Griffith, author of Spikes and Bibliophilia and Trophy (forthcoming) and founding editor of Yellow Shoe Fiction

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312662564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312662561
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,979,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Ocala, Florida, and have lived in Ft. Pierce,Florida; however, my formative years were spent in central Georgia. For seven years I wrote and drew the comic strip, "Sibling Revelry," for Universal Press Syndicate. Currently I live in Atlanta, with my wife, Nancy, where I teach high school English and coach debate. I am five foot ten inches tall.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Adam Newman, rescuer extraordinaire and goofball of the century, has embarked on a plan to win back his ex-wife after their "temporary divorce." He longs to return to the glory days of their relationship when they ran Paradise Dogs. The fact he's engaged to someone else is just a blip in the road. When he borrows a dozen diamonds from a friend hoping to use them to woo back his ex, things don't go as planned and he loses them.

While trying to find them again, he's fixing or breaking everything that has the good fortune or misfortune to cross his path.
Somehow he ends up impersonating a doctor, a preacher, and other professionals. The moral seems to be: all is well that ends well. He seems to have a magic touch (kind of like Jerry Lewis's Nutty Professor) with making things right.

On top of that, he's certain there is a grand conspiracy afoot in his Florida stomping grounds. Someone is buy up all the land and being mum as to their plans. With his ex-wife constantly on his mind and alcohol constantly in his belly, he's the last landowner left and he's not about to sell unless he knows what purpose the land is to serve.

Meanwhile, he frets over his artistic son Addison who has fallen in love with his step brother's girlfriend.
Can the bumbling klutz with a heart of gold fix all he's messed up? Are the communists really behind the land deals? You'll have to read it to find out.

I'm really not sure what to say about Paradise Dogs. More than anything the book is a character study. Adam is charismatic, optimistic, completely inept, and a drunkard, yet somehow everything he touches turns to gold, unless it's being broken. He's a great paradox and with a huge heart which is why it's fun, if not a little bewildering, to read.

The book is hilarious in places and I am highly recommending it even if I don't understand why...
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Format: Hardcover
Being a native Floridian and a fan of Florida novels I really enjoyed this take on it, in large part due to the setting which is 60's Florida back before Miami Vice and South Beach. I drive through Yeehaw Junction several times a month and usually stop at the Stuckey's there, it's like a monument to bygone times, instant time warp. The public restrooms are a sight to behold. When I was a kid in the 60's my dad's idea of a family vacation was driving to Clewiston and eating fried catfish. So basically I'm the perfect audience for this novel.

My impression of the protagonist Adam is that he is a classic Knight-errant, with an emphasis on "errant":

A knight-errant is a figure of medieval chivalric romance literature. "Errant," meaning wandering or roving, indicates how the knight-errant would typically wander the land in search of adventures to prove himself as a knight, such as in a pas d'armes.

Many knights-errant fit the ideal of the "knight in shining armor". To modern day readers, the figure of the knight-errant suggests a sort of lawful or righteous vigilante. A knight-errant typically performed all his deeds in the name of a lady, and invoked her name before performing an exploit.

===

To me that describes Adam to a tee, he's a Central Florida version of Don Quixote. He gets into many exploits, always meaning well, and always in the name of a lady ... I think maybe the reason it is set in the 60's is that you don't see many true romantics like Adam these days.
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Format: Hardcover
In 1965 Florida, realtor Adam Newman dreams of one thing, a person he once had as his wife Evelyn but no more. He muses about how happier he was when he and Evelyn managed legendary Paradise Dogs roadside hotdog diner. He is successful but knows that is nothing without Evelyn.

Ironically only Adam would want a second chance with one woman while engaged to another. He tries to help his son Addison compete for a coed against his older half brother while also searching for $250,000 in diamonds not belonging to him that he misplaced. However before he assists his offspring, finds the diamonds, delivers a newborn, works a land deal, loses his Evelyn again (though he never actually had her for the second time),and more involving the Russians are coming; he needs a drink.

Paradise Dogs is a fun Florida tale although there is too much frenzied humor that overwhelms at times the thin plot. With a nod to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, fans who enjoy an out of control nostalgic thriller will enjoy Adam's strange sense of second chances as he recalls his happiest moment was selling dirty dogs but ignores the grease burns.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
Here in Man Martin's second book he takes on a surprise huge persona in American popular cultural history (not to mention corporate) through the eyes of Adam Newman, realtor, drunk, unwitting con-man extraordinaire. This all goes down while Adam's trying to win his back his ex-wife Evelyn, stave off his new fling, Lily, and find a bag of diamonds. All the while Adam is pretty adept with the classics of poetry to which he alludes throughout the tale. No one's mentioned this and I have to-if I can without ruining it for the reader: Adam, Evelyn. Something going on allegorically with the names there. This novel is a great ride!
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