The Big Moose Prize Winner


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ISBN: 978-1-62557-978-2

After Paradise

Publication Date: September 2017


An exquisite novel in the classic mode: love, tragedy, small-town America. After Paradise takes its rightful place alongside Mrs. Bridge, Winesburg, Ohio and The Stories of John Cheever in shining a light on American joy and American sorrow.

-T. C. Boyle, author of The Terranauts

From the very first page, as a traveling carnival sets up in the small Maine town of Scoggin, you know you are in for something exceptional. Robley Wilson has a rare gift for capturing place and creating achingly real characters: David, on the cusp of adulthood, lit with desire and chafing against a cruel father; Kate, his clever, strong willed almost-girlfriend; and Sharita, an erotic dancer with a dark past, whose arrival sets in motion an explosive chain of events. Set at a time when the memory of WWII was fresh, the novel is both a vivid portrait of the past and a timeless look at relations between men and women.

-Dawn Raffel, author of The Secret Life of Objects

A tale of two couples, David and Kate, high school students, and Sherrie and Frank, an exotic dancer and her carnival barker, Robley Wilson’s After Paradise is a beautifully observed, passionate, and elegant unveiling of small-town life in all its claustrophobic intensity. A traveling carnival arrives in Scoggin, Maine, after World War II, setting in motion a battle between sensuality and puritanism, love and punishment that moves inevitably toward a tragic conclusion. Evocative of New England lives described long ago by Hawthorne and Wharton, and more recently by Cheever and Updike, After Paradise is a brilliantly compelling exploration, engaging from start to finish.

-David Hellerstein, author of A Family of Doctors

About the Author

Robley Wilson

Robley Wilson is the author of three earlier novels: The Victim's Daughter (Simon & Schuster, 1989), Splendid Omens, and The World Still Melting (St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne Books, 2004 and 2005, respectively). He has also published three books of poetry, and six story collections, most recently Who Will Hear Your Secrets? (Johns Hopkins, 2012). His second story collection, Dancing for Men, won the 1982 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and his first poetry collection, Kingdoms of the Ordinary, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize—both from University of Pittsburgh Press. Wilson was a Guggenheim Fellow in Fiction, a Nicholl Fellow in Screenwriting, and was for 31 years the editor of the North American Review. Robley passed away in August, 2018 in Orlando. According to his wife, writer Susan Hubbard, he was surrounded by, "family, cats, books, and music."

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