Message in a Bottle

A.L. Kennedy would rather not be doing this. She's in London to promote her new novel, but she didn't pack enough clothes before leaving Glasgow, the shops on Oxford Street are expensive and don't open before 10 a.m., and at 39, Kennedy's serious about the business of writing — "I lie for a living" — while interviewers have a bad habit of confusing book and author. Which could be embarrassing, since Paradise (Jonathan Cape; 344 pages) is written from within the tortured mind of a Scottish woman who's almost 40, with a drinking problem so severe she can't remember the previous...

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