Cathleen Schine has brought her gentle, deft touch and sparkling, often sardonic wit to warm and moving novels of family, love, and identity ... Fairy-tale elements, literary references, and mythological allusions are rife in Schine’s work, but she wears her erudition lightly and blends romance and realism in a distinctively readable style ... Schine depicts the inner lives of Mamie and Julian equally deftly, and transitions effortlessly between their two perspectives ... A tender family story, but it is also a profound meditation on the nature and power of storytelling, inheritance, and legacy, the malleability and perdurability of memory.
Diverting ... Schine’s delight in language is contagious — she offers up words like baubles, turning them this way and that to catch the light ... Künstlers in Paradise is...an invitation to leave the familiar behind.
Delightful ... Schine is alert to family absurdities, and she peels back the layers of these Künstlers with tenderness and wit, exposing the gentle idiosyncrasies of them all ... Despite its knowing humor, Künstlers in Paradise is also an astute exploration of the difficulties of aging and the importance of storytelling, especially as we grow older.
A wise and witty multigenerational fairy tale about 'glamorous exile' in Los Angeles, and like most fairy tales—even those with happy endings—it has dark undercurrents. Yet even the terrors and upheavals of the Holocaust and the Covid pandemic shared by the aptly named Künstlers...are lightened by Ms. Schine’s wry, breezy tone. The result is a moving and entertaining novel about how we revisit memories to make meaning for ourselves and others ... Ms. Schine has a wonderful ability to weave research and substantive ideas into her novels without weighing them down. Her buoyant dialogue has the zip of great comedy routines. She is fond of all her characters, even those she satirizes.
Historical and contemporary fiction collide satisfyingly ... Contrasting the wartime excesses in Hollywood with privation in Austria, Mamie and Julian liken COVID-era isolation to the sense of exile so many faced when they fled Europe. Schine’s admirers will be enthralled, as will fans of Nancy Thayer and Elin Hilderbrand.
Schine’s sharp wit is constantly on display ... Few authors could pull off the storytelling format of Künstlers in Paradise, but Schine does so seamlessly and marvelously, creating a multilayered saga about family dynamics and relationships, immigration, the early days of Hollywood and the often disturbingly cyclical nature of history ... A trove of unexpected rewards.
With her usual bounty of witticisms and aperçus, Schine takes on the recent plague year from the perspectives of two protagonists ... Dreamy, drifty, and droll, studded with lush botanical description and historical gems. Schine’s many fans will enjoy.
Another witty novel of manners ... Nothing much happens over the course of this effervescent confection, but it hardly matters because Mamie, Julian, and company are such enjoyable characters to hang out with.