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Both Feet in Paradise

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“With expert control of narrative and language Andy Southall slowly reveals that everything is not as it seems.”
— Pip Adam, author of 'Nothing to See' and 'New Animals'

After months of researching butterflies in Sāmoa, Adam is looking forward to returning home to his family. Then his transfer to the airport doesn’t arrive. Worse, a hastily arranged taxi takes him not to departures but an empty field in the middle of nowhere, and he misses his flight. As he fails to find alternative ways off the island – other flights, ferries, even seagoing yachts – he grows increasingly frustrated, especially as all overseas phone lines and emails seem to be down as well.

In a café, he meets Eve, who offers to help him. He decides he has to trust her, for there is no one else. Yet he has a strange feeling he’s met her before …

'Both Feet in Paradise' is a masterpiece of storytelling that suspends the reader in a world of relentless beauty – where one step forward is two steps back and nothing and no one can be relied on, least of all yourself.

350 pages, Paperback

Published May 14, 2021

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About the author

Andy Southall

5 books4 followers
Andy grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, spent too many years in the fog of London, then followed the long white cloud – and his wife – to Wellington. Always wanting to write, he completed an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing (Novel) at Whitireia in 2015, followed by a Graduate Diploma in 2016. He writes contemporary fiction, science-fiction and travel blogs. Several of his sci-fi short stories have been published in Sponge.nz.

While living in Samoa for three months during 2017, he published the travel blog, One Hundred Days in Samoa, which he has also adapted into a book. More recently, he has published his first novel, Making Meredith, a historical mystery about the perils of looking for lost ancestors.

He was delighted to receive a New Zealand Society of Authors mentorship in 2018 to work on a second novel –- a love story set in Samoa about growing old.

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5 stars
6 (28%)
4 stars
11 (52%)
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2 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for The Cats’ Mother.
2,042 reviews121 followers
April 2, 2022
Both Feet in Paradise is a stand-alone contemporary literary fiction novel set in Samoa, about a New Zealander’s increasingly desperate struggle to get home to his family in Auckland. I know the author from kayaking, and bought this at his book launch last year. It took me a while to start and then finish it - not because it isn’t good - it’s a beautifully written book, but it’s not my usual kind of read, and I was too easily confused by the dreamy style and distracted by my various deadlines. (My signed copy is also too gorgeous to lend to my book club, so it kept getting bumped in favour of less precious paperbacks.)

Lepidopterist Adam has spent months doing field work in Samoa, and is excited to finally be returning to his wife and young daughters. His impatience turns to frustration and then bewilderment as his taxi fails to arrive, an alternative driver seems incapable of finding the airport, and, having missed his flight, further disasters ensue, leaving him wondering - along with the reader - what on earth is going on. Help finally arrives in the shape of a kind woman called Eve - but even she seems to be conspiring with the island to prevent him from leaving…

To fully enjoy this book, you need to just relax and go with it, Island-style, appreciate the magic of the words and stop worrying about what’s going on - and definitely avoid spoilers. I read too many mysteries, and had all sorts of theories as to what was happening - all of them wrong - and I do now want to read it again (something I rarely do), to fully appreciate the complex storytelling and nuanced language. I haven’t been to Samoa, and was intrigued by the nuggets of history, culture and tradition, although the descriptions of attempting to travel there sounded far too stressful for me. This is an unusual story that was well worth persisting with - there’s an aha-moment in the middle where it all starts to make sense. Recommended.
August 29, 2021
I loved Andy's storytelling ability, wonderful description, and scattered vocabulary that required my old Oxford Dictionary at hand!
It took some time for me to absorb and think carefully about where this was headed, ......then all became clear, offering insight into another world, not only the world of Samoa.
I look forward to his next book!
Cheers, Andy
2 reviews
August 29, 2021
Both Feet In Paradise is a puzzle of a book that entraps the reader within the mystery of what is happening to our main protagonist. The author manages to make the reader feel all the same emotions as the character as he progresses on his journey -no mean feat for any author.

As the mystery is slowly revealed, it turns our understanding of the book on its head. I will need to reread Both Feet In Paradise to fully appreciate the skill with which Andy Southall has woven his story.
Profile Image for Susan Holt.
Author 5 books23 followers
August 26, 2021
I got rather wrapped in this book. The section from Adam's perspective really sucked me in and made me wonder what on earth was going on. The writing is colourful, vivid and sensual in so many ways. I could almost feel the sweat dripping off me. It did make me want to go to Sāmoa! And I could tell Andy wasn't just describing it from other people's photos.
It wasn't long before I was forming multiple theories about what was happening to our hero. Adam seemed like a fish out of water, absorbed in what almost seemed like hypersensitivity. Despite being in paradise, it felt like an unfriendly and restrictive world.
And then I began to doubt what was real...
September 2, 2021
The best book I’ve read in a very long time. Had me intrigued right till the very end. I read it whilst on holiday on another South Pacific island and at times it had me second worried about whether we would make it home!
2 reviews
September 8, 2021
Intriguing! Just had to keep reading to see where it went. Amazing expression of emotions and personalities. Feel like I know Eve personally now. Loved this booked!!
2 reviews
August 31, 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. There is a vividness in the setting and the characters are colourful and at times mysterious. There are twists and turns in the plot which grip the reader and make it hard to put down at times. It is easy to become engrossed with the problems besetting Adam, as the central character, and wanting to know what is really going on. A very satisfying read.
Profile Image for K.V. Martins.
Author 4 books4 followers
December 19, 2022
A lush, sensual read. A beautiful story that, at first, seems to be an unfolding mystery. Adam finds himself 'stuck' in Samoa, where he's been researching butterflies. His wife, Ruth, and his two children, Natalie & Naomi, are back in New Zealand. Naomi is very ill. But Adam finds all sorts of things conspire against him - his passport goes missing, travel agents tell him planes don't fly in, and Madame Le Blanc, the owner of the hotel he's staying at, scares the bejesus out of him. What's going on?

The only person who can placate him is Eve, who seems to pop up when he needs help (such as when his credit card is turned down). Who is Eve and why does she have a calming effect on Adam?

Apart from introducing readers to the beauty of Samoa, the novel has religious references that are hard to miss: Adam and Eve in a garden paradise, and the white churches of Samoa.

Both Adam and Eve narrate chapters & Adam's chapters were intriguing and then they took a different direction (as the reader understands what is going on). The final third of the novel dragged a little because Eve's chapters (as beautiful as they were) took the focus off Adam and his curious plight.

But still: a 5-star read for me and one I'll reread in the future.
Profile Image for Anne.
2 reviews
September 1, 2021
It may be set in paradise but Adam is lost, badly lost. In fact Adam is more than just physically lost. In the first half of 'Both Feet in Paradise', the story is unsettling, we don't know just how physically or mentally dislocated Adam truly is. All we know is that things go missing. Streets aren't where they should be. The airport, and his plane to take him home, end up being an old, open field with. Characters menace, passports lost and phones that don't work. The narrative is unsettling, like quicksand we don't know where we're going to land.

The second half lays it all out, but can we trust the story, can we believe it or will it shift under us again? Andy has written a fascinating novel of twists and turns. He's skillfully woven a story that leaves the reader guessing, then guessing again. The heat, the atmosphere, the unrelenting sun all add up to a very tense and compelling story. A great read for winter, the Samoan heat exudes from every page.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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