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Paradise Dogs: A Novel Hardcover – June 7, 2011
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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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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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
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
Top customer reviews
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The book can not be loaned to my friend.
I don't care how good a book it is, that is a terrible deal.
For shame, AMAZON
Wait a moment while I laugh at myself. Ha, ha, ha ...
Ironically, I actually met Man Martin at a recent G.W.A. conference while I was reading "Crime and Punishment" by you-know-who. In fact, Man's last words to me, as I exited the conference with a signed hardback copy of "Paradise Dogs" under my arm, were something along the lines of, "My book's going to be quite a shift for you!"
Yes, Man, it was, but not in the way you imagined.
I held Man Martin's book up to the same scrutiny that I hold any great book up to, and, I fell in love with it and I know you will too.
What do great books have in common?
Well, for one, they have many themes that are finely interlaced within and leave us with deep messages that impact our lives. "Paradise Dogs" contains many such themes. My favorite theme perhaps is the eternal battle between optimistic and pessimistic ("real") fiction. And I think I know which side Man is on after reading this book. Another great theme is that through helping others, we help ourselves. Finally, the theme of idealistic versus worldly love brings thought-provoking tension to every page. And there are many other themes for the reader to discover.
Great books have metaphors that hauntingly stir readers. The piteously bungling protagonist, Adam (a character every reader will fall in love with if for nothing else, his endearing humanity), shows us that bungling has a deeper meaning at work in the intellectual underbelly of this novel: true bungling is when we force our own meaning onto the world rather than letting the world speak to us.
Great books have multiple sub-stories craftily woven in, their denouements kept just out of sight until the reckoning of the super plot at the end. "Paradise Dog's" is entertainingly bold in its far-reaching entanglements, which makes it a cross-genre novel in my humble opinion, and, so, as great books should be, unclassifiable and quite original. Adam is trying to get his life back. There are multiple love stories, one ostensibly unrequited. There is conspiracy, subtle and overt humor, mystery, and suspense as we follow Adam on his odd journey to the author's unique version of his salvation.
Great books have quotes that you can take with you, and great messages. My favorite quote is: "I, now forty-seven years old in perfect health, begin." I love this quote! Perhaps we are all starting over. Everyday perhaps. And a great message in this book: it's never too late to re-claim one's life. Also, in a twist at the end, readers may come to know what love really is, at least Man Martin's perception of it, which is humble and honest and real. Adam can only love when he has corrected his biggest bungle, which has to do with someone he forgot to love perhaps his whole life ... the one we seem to always forget.
Great books challenge and delight readers. I had to use a dictionary constantly (and as an author myself with an English degree my vocabulary is not exactly shabby). Also, Man uses his acumen and passion for great literature to perfume his story throughout with elegant allusions, poetical infusions, reverberating similes, and enjoyable description.
All in all, "Paradise Dogs" is a book to applaud and cherish, and, I, now forty-six years old in perfect health, begin that endeavor.
Yours in literature,
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...