Madeleine St John: A Stairway to Paradise

A review of Madeleine St John’s “A Stairway to Paradise” from Jennifer’s blog:


With the adaptation for theatre of her novel The Women in Black, the writer Madeleine St John has been rediscovered. She would now be well into her seventies, but she died of emphysema some ten years ago. Having enjoyed The Women in Black, centred around a store very much like David Jones, Sydney in the 1960s, I recently picked up another novel by her, A Stairway to Paradise.

This book has been described as ‘a dissection of desire’ and, although some reviewers see it as about a love triangle, I think that, far more, it is about the nature of desire and love. It is set in London – probably in the 1990s, the exact time doesn’t matter. Two men, Andrew and Alex, both married, love Barbara. But the desire between Alex and Barbara is the focus of the novel. Andrew, Alex’s squash partner has done what is perhaps…

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