Excerpt from Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Paradise, Nevada

by Dario Diofebi

Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi X
Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Apr 2021, 512 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Grace Graham-Taylor
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Paradise, Nevada

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Ray had arrived in Marin County at night. Having spent the cab ride home looking at his phone to discourage the driver from talking to him, and having had to wrestle his father for control of the heavier, more wobbly-wheeled bag on the way inside (so that "Seriously dad, let me do it" had been his first words to him), he'd had no time to gradually reacquaint himself with his childhood town, neighborhood, and house. At the periphery of his vision, familiar shapes gave in quietly to the sameness of the night. But as soon as he was inside, the yellow glow of the low-energy light bulbs on the cherrywood bookshelves awakened him to his obvious mistake: he was home.

It took Ray a few days to readjust to the place where his precocious talents had been first noticed and nurtured. In the quiet jazz suffusing the rooms he knew so well, he could still hear the whispered expectations for his future his parents had gone to extreme pedagogical lengths to hide. It was in the living room, where they had insisted on throwing him house-parties and, worse yet, surprise parties with the other, non-mathematically-gifted children. It was in the kitchen, where he had been recruited in all manners of commis activities by his French cuisine enthusiast mother ever since he had been tall enough to reach the countertop, drawing him away from his desk and his calculus. It was in his parents' bedroom, where secret pillow-talk about Ray's limitless potential must have taken place for years. The secrecy, Ray knew, was some hippyish hokum meant to alleviate the pressure and allow him to organically develop his dispositions. But behind the smiles and the encouragements to "go out and have some fun," Ray never doubted for a second the narrative his parents had always wanted from him. For him.

At the root of his problems with the house was a familiar and much more tangible contrast: the Jacksons' was a house of Letters. It was, in fact, in response to this axiom, transparent and irrefutable for anybody who traversed their labyrinthically bookshelved corridors, that young Ray had derived his own clear-cut identity as a man of Numbers. In the late 80s, only a few years before his birth, Howard and Victoria Jackson had opened the Satis House Bookshop in San Rafael, a so- called little independent hideaway for the literarily inclined. Throughout Ray's childhood, the bookstore had been the object of his parents' endless profusions of love and endeavors, and had hosted readings by some of the most celebrated writers of the time. Ray himself, cute and well-behaved, had soon been a welcome guest at both the readings and the post-reading dinners with this or that novelist, which accounted for the wealth of unnecessary synonyms and flowery phrases that still clogged his mental storage centers. And now that he was back, and corridors were once again something you traversed, and cutting a potato was called batonnet-ing or allumette-ing (two different things), and decisions were made because of how they felt, regardless of their optimality, Ray found himself utterly incapable of the very rational thinking that the future of his poker career demanded.

The days leading up to Thanksgiving became an elaborate game of domestic chess. Ray's king, who only wanted to castle short and mind his own business in a corner, was assailed by opposing forces coming from both flanks. His father, a short, thin, gray-haired man whose face had developed the puffiness of old age and whose eyes had narrowed to small horizontal slits, haunted both floors of the house like a slow-moving, legally blind ghost. He had a way of walking into whatever room Ray was in, hands joined against his lower back, like a Parisian flaneur (his words), that always managed to drive Ray up the cherrywood-paneled wall: he had no reason to come in and made no attempt to hide the fact, he just walked in and sort of loitered. It would have been quite better, honestly, if his father had started chopping wood right there in the room—something Ray pointed out with the disgruntled "WHAT?" that opened most of their conversations throughout the two weeks.

Excerpted from Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi. Copyright © 2021 by Dario Diofebi. Excerpted by permission of Bloomsbury USA. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Razorblade Tears
    Razorblade Tears
    by S. A. Cosby
    Razorblade Tears, a thriller by S.A. Cosby, follows a pair of ex-convicts who team up to avenge the ...
  • Book Jacket: Once There Were Wolves
    Once There Were Wolves
    by Charlotte McConaghy
    In Charlotte McConaghy's second novel after her debut Migrations, environmental biologist Inti Flynn...
  • Book Jacket: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    by Alka Joshi
    Alka Joshi's The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is the sequel to her 2020 bestseller The Henna Artist and ...
  • Book Jacket: Seek You
    Seek You
    by Kristen Radtke
    In the first pages of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke's sophomore ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Notebook of Edouard Manet
    by Maureen Gibbon

    A sensual portrait of Manet's last years, and a vibrant testament of the artistic spirit.

  • Book Jacket

    Never Saw Me Coming
    by Vera Kurian

    "Fun, entertaining and hard to put down."
    —The New York Journal of Books

Who Said...

Most of us who turn to any subject we love remember some morning or evening hour when...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

Pull Y U B T B

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.