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from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook

Doc. 6.52.0181. Edit

Shangra Carini is a Paradisian young woman featured in Pure Haze, the novel, set in the Two Paradises fantasy/fiction realm, as devised by author Jonnie Comet.

Personal information Edit

  • Full name: Shangra Carini
  • Nicknames: ‘Shan’ (classmates & parents)
  • Birthdate: 9 Aug 1987 (Leo)
  • Birthplace: New Delhi, Republic of India
  • Parents: Paul and Linda Foxfield ‘Foxie’ Carini
  • Nationality: Paradisian citizen, belonger
  • Residence: Elizabeth Hill, Morning I.
  • Height: 165 cm [5 ft 5 in]
  • Weight: 55 kg [121 lb]
  • Figure: buxom, with narrow waist; 92 (36.3”)B / 60 (23.6”)W / 88 (34.6”) H
  • Hair: blonde, wavy, thick, moderately long; usually put up
  • Eyes: blue
  • Complexion: fair; well-tanned
  • Ethnic background: Italian/English, Scots/English
  • Religion: Anglican
  • Occupation: student
  • School: Prince Albert High School (PAHS), Morning I.; O-levels: 2003. King’s Bay High School, Caravelle I.; A-levels 2005.
  • Story arcs: Pure Haze; 2005

Early life and education Edit

Shangra was born in India whilst her father was on an assignment for a British business consultant. In 1992 the family relocate to the BPI, from which both her parents originally came, and Shangra attends Elizabeth Hill Elementary School for all four forms before promotion to PAHS.

As a small girl, an only child, Shangra was pleasant and tractable, eagerly fascinated by her parents’ social engagements and assuming a modest role in the company of adults. She learned readily and by the age of eight had achieved a much higher reading level than most of her peers. She took piano lessons, sang in the elementary choir, played recorded and flute, and took an avid interest in painting with watercolours.

During Shangra’s third-form year both her parents begin to spend extended periods away from home, considering 13-year-old Shangra mature enough to shift for herself alone. They engage a maid for twice-weekly cleaning duties, requesting that she report on Shangra’s safety and well-being; for Shangra often comments that she is a barely-capable cook and despises housekeeping chores. She is more likely to order takeaway Japanese or Indian food or else to dine out with friends. She does not take a driving licence upon turning fourteen, mainly because she has no under-30-BHP vehicle with which to practise and take her test; and develops a proclivity to walking everywhere.

Appearance Edit

A Leo, Shangra is noted for a majestic mane of long, thick, buoyant blonde hair, which she keeps long and habitually folds atop her head in a semiformal pile held in place with a aggregation of small plastic or metal clips. As a rule she allows some of it to drape down over her forehead as a kind of loose fringe, partly obscuring her soft, slender, light-brown eyebrows. Her eyes are large, bright blue, and enhanced by long naturally-curling lashes. She has a rather short, slightly-upturning nose, naturally pursed lips, a softly-rounded chin and jaw line, and small-lobed ears.

By the start of her first form of secondary her figure has blossomed, well in advance of her peers’, resulting in a temporary shyness; but this faded after she had achieved menarche, in July 2000, and had attained 160 centimetres in height. She was recruited for the second-form netball team but played only one year, citing a dislike of fast running and stopping. By the start of fifth form, in September 2002, her bust measured 90 centimetres and she gave over most activities involving running in public, having found swimming, in either her family’s pool or in the sea, both athletically stimulating and physically relaxing.

As a 15-year-old her height is 165 cm, which may seem greater due to a long neck, rather broad shoulders, a strikingly narrow waist and her penchant for short skirts and high heels that emphasises her long, slender legs. Shangra is mildly nearsighted and keeps eyeglasses in her bag at all times, though she does not always wear them. Her primary pair pair are lightweight plastic with very dark brown frames with moderately large ovoid lenses.

Attire and style Edit

Shangra’s favourite colour is aquamarine/turquoise, which seems widespread in her wardrobe including amongst her lingerie . She has a sharp eye for quality material and patterns; and her best cuts are all in the smartest style, including many short skirts and frocks; but she prefers to deemphasise her bust and tends towards closed-neck blouses and high necklines. She wears opaque or translucent thigh-high hose, in the current Paradisian style, the lacy tops often revealed below or just inside her short hems. She is also prone to high-heeled shoes, having probably two dozen pairs of court shoes and open-toed strap shoes, and will dare to wear to school heel heights that probably defy the specified dress codes-- though she is too well-admired, and too well-presented, for anyone to take it up with her. As to jewellry she is known for appearing elegant without being ostentatious, preferring Paradise pearls to too much gold and silver, though she has been known to display her white-gold confirmation cross outside her tops.

Rather due to an innocent, almost childlike artlessness, than to attract attention by her appearance, Shangra is exceptionally comfortable in just a swimsuit, such as while visiting the promenade of Palmerston Beach, hiking in the woods above her home, or just lolling about the house. Though she does have a comprehensive suntan she is not known for sunning topless or nude in public or at friend’s homes.

In 2002-2003 her favourite swimsuit is a bikini in soft blue-turquoise having gold-coloured trim; the pants are very low-cut, almost a string style, and the top is a halter style banded about the ribs with rather full cups for the support of her breasts. She has also a black-and-white one and two in similar tropical floral prints, one in red-on-white and one in blue-on-white.

As to lingerie she favours silk, satins and anything with soft cotton lace, insisting upon what is both comfortable and elegant. Due to the exceptional needs of her figure she has become a keen expert at finding appropriate fits for herself. She is fond of pleasant scents, tending towards soft, airy perfume, fruity tropical shampoo, and coconut body wash. She washes clothes with a lemon-scented detergent and those nearest her find that even her cotton-blend hose smell pretty, even in the midst of a Paradisian hot season.

Ever genuine, Shangra uses only enough cosmetics to appear at her best without descending towards dishonesty. Her fingernails and toenails are kept smooth, polished and only modest in length, and when painted, only infrequently, they may be peach, pink, turquoise or silver-white. She regularly uses peppermint flavoured toothpaste and will freshen her mouth with mintish tablets.

Characterisation Edit

Shangra is universally liked for an indelibly pretty smile and dulcet speaking tones. She speaks using perfect Queen’s English, in the somewhat stilted Paradisian style using a minimum of contractions, lending the impression of an upper-class heiress, but she unconsciously effects a lilting, almost childishly musical tone that utterly enchants those unprepared to resist her. Her manners and sense of protocol are impeccable.

She is most often found in the company of other girls, often at the centre of half a dozen or more who clamour for her attention, advice and affection even whilst she treat them all more or less equally, as cherished friends. Most males consider her a paragon of female loveliness; but she has not developed any sense of egoism in the face of their universal approbation and treats all boys, even those regarded by others as patently undesirable, with unfeigned grace, sweetness, and sincerity.

She is fond of humour and will make jokes, indulge in theatrical parlay with friends, or pantomime and mimic with a childlike exuberance and disposition to genuine amusement. She is not known to partake in any off-colour or taboo matter, tending to turn up her nose when it is presented in her company. She readily demonstrates affection towards small children and pets, is quick to extend a helping hand to elderly pensioners, and holds open door for anyone till some male might insist on her going ahead, eliciting a bright blush from her as she realises she is respected by others as much as she wishes to show respect to them.

Name Edit

The name Shangra is an invention of the author, who meant for the character’s name to have some Eastern or exotic flavour. The character explains in the text that her name is ‘Tibetan. It means “love”, or “peace”.’ When Scott assumes her name as come from the Shangri-la of fantasy literature, she adds, ‘Well; yes. That’s what the name means. “Place of Peace”.’

Though this explanation may seem plausible, it is purely speculative fiction, and perhaps Shangra herself only assumes as much or has been misinformed. In truth, Shangri-la as a place name is only an invention of James Hilton, author of the novel Lost Horizon for which the place is a setting; and no scholars have been able to trace it definitively to any historical or earlier literary source. So Comet’s character Shangra’s name is essentially unique in literature.

Home Edit

Her parents’ house in Elizabeth Township is a 2-1/2-story, a common design of the 1970s and 1980s, having a basement exposed in front, on a section sloping upwards into the woods from the street, overlooking the long rolling hiilside above Palmerston Beach and Paradise Sound, over a kilometre off. By a previous owner was added an annexe containing a front parlour adjacent to the dining room (below Shangra’s room), a bedroom towards the back, and between them an en suite bathroom with access from the gallery to serve as a main-floor guest facility, since the house originally did not have one. Thus the house has three full bathrooms, five bedrooms, principal-floor parlour and sitting room, dining room and kitchen, skylit tea room, and a ground floor or basement with two garages (one of which is converted to an office which is used by Mr Carini), a party room, wash room, and storage cellar - somewhat expansive for an otherwise modest house in an unremarkable middle-class neighbourhood occupied by only three persons. To the rear, in a kind of courtyard enclosed by the house, the annexe, and the retaining wall at the base of a steeply-rising hillside, is a terrace and swimming pool, where Shangra spends much of her time sunning, reading, or swimming. Much privacy is afforded by dense hillside vegetation; and a private gate leads to a footpath leading up into the hillside jungle and connecting to the public footway network there.

Tastes Edit

She is fond of oolong tea, champagne, semidry claret, honey on toast, fresh fruit, sea salmon, Paradise crab, spring rolls, soba, curry, breaded and baked aubergine, semisweet tea biscuits, and too many high-fat foods including too much au gratin, alfredo, parmesan, fettuccine, and sour cream. She confesses a great weakness for dining out amongst pleasant company but in fact restricts herself to very little at other times, typically foregoing all but very light lunch fare at school and foregoing breakfast entirely but for two or three days per week. Her favourite tea is Earl Grey, of which she has three or four hot cups per day. As to cold tea she prefers Asian green tea, particularly as a beverage with meals.

Career plans Edit

Shangra states several times that her aspiration is to teach. Initially she meant to teach small children, and has not entirely forsaken that possibility, but since she has succeeded so well as a secondary-school student she admits an inclination to teach at that level, probably in social sciences. Upon meeting Scott Wertz, a social-sciences teacher, she identifies him as one who might advise her in the pursuit of this end, a factor that, in part, draws her to him.

All her friends and classmates support her decision, recognising her unselfish concern for others, amusing sense of aplomb, and calm, confident competence in addressing groups, as prime qualifications. The fact that she is also the most beautiful and most-admired young lady of the school only convinces them that her personal aptitudes would not be misspent before any class of students.

Personal views Edit

Shangra is apparently very well-read, in a variety of literatures and from many sources, and is able to quote from the Bible, the Book of Five Rings, the Upanishads and various Zen texts, as well as from many of the great writers in English. She admits Jane Austen is a particular favourite and cites witticisms from Austen novels as both sage maxims and sources of amusement.

Politics Edit

Shangra seems to own a typically Paradisian conservative world view, in contrast with Scott, a Canadian, whose views are more liberal in the North American way. Neither seems to understand why the another could believe what’s being believed.

Religion Edit

Shangra is a dutiful churchgoer, receiving weekly Eucharistic sacraments at St Elizabeth Anglican Church, just two blocks from her home, where she was confirmed on Festival Sunday (week after Easter), 2000. At times she has sung in the choir, served as greeter and usher, and taught Sunday School lessons for the smaller children. Most weeks she will stay for tea and cakes to socialise with fellow parishioners, most of whom have known her since she was small and who tend to enquire about when they might see either or both of her parents attending with her again.

As she begins to date Scott Wertz, her devotion to regular attendance and a Biblebased belief system becomes somewhat at-odds with his more casual, nearly-agnostic lookout. However Shangra does insist on participating in the Holy Week observances, just before Easter and Festival week, and frequently takes calls from fellow parishioners and works collaboratively in parochial projects.

Most of Shangra’s classmates from elementary school are members of the same church, at which she sees them often.

Relationships Edit

Shangra is known as something of a universal friend, having no known enemies or rivals and no-one whom she will greet any less than favourably, even cordially. Quick to take on anyone’s worries, like a shepherdess or den mother taking under her wing every lost or broken soul she finds, she gains a reputation for being somewhat sappy and overly sentimental, which many consider only further proof of her innate virtue and sweetness.

Rather than envy her, most girls look to Shangra as a font of wisdom and good sense as well as a fashion plate and self-help guru. In turn Shangra is ever gracious and charming towards anyone who seeks her company or advice. Though freely shared, her expertise comes only from her own common sense and clearheaded innocence, which her friends treasure for its being clearer and more relevant than what they might receive from others. She has a well-earned reputation amongst boys at school for accepting them however they choose to be, without judgement on their preferences in music, sports, arts, or fashion sense; for some less popular boys she may be the only girl, certainly the most outwardly beautiful and socially outgoing, who with sincerity and enthusiasm regards them as friends.

She is never shallow and never less than genuinely involved in her friends’ lives. If she is not excessively affectionate in public she nonetheless indulges friends with short kisses on the cheek and find terms of address.

Friendships Edit

Amongst classmates her closest friends may be Mitzi Thorpe and Becky Shaw, as she is most often seen commuting between classes in the company or one or both of them and they seem to have visited her at her home more often than any others. But it is not uncommon to see Shangra in the company of anyone else; and just as often she may be entirely on her own, merely greeting others in passing without their taking up together.

Family life Edit

Shangra does not appear to have a close relationship with either of her parents, who are away more often than home and seem to be content keeping to that lifestyle. She seems to disagree with her mother frequently and Mrs Carini, acknowledging that she is not as involved in her daughter’s life as much as she might like to be, tends to yield to Shangra’s more relevant assessments. Mr Carini seems even more distant. However both parents are aware of her innate sense of decency and maturity and remark often than they are grateful for how she is and proud to be able to rely upon her to care for herself.

Shangra does appear to be related both to the Foxfields of Eden Island, who are friends of the Hewlett family there and who appear in the Janine of Paradise arc, and to little Stephanie Foxfield of Governor's Harbour, featured in the Friends and Lovers arc.

Romance Edit

As of the start of the events of Pure Haze, Shangra is not known to have ever dated anyone nor admitted any serious romantic inclination and so represents a kind of unreachable star, or virtuous angel, to her schoolmates and other friends. Before dating Scott Wertz, Shangra has not been known to have ever taken a particular interest in seeing anyone else. She has attended the cinema and shared lunch with boys in the past, but only as friends-- a distinction which surely she was the one to establish and to uphold. Possibly as a result, most boys tend to be too shy to ask her for dates, believing that she either will not care to see them or that she will not have any time free in her schedule (in both cases they would probably be wrong). Another possible reason is her reputation for being so proper, even pristine, that she may seem to exist on a kind of pedestal above them all, from which no-one may deserve to draw her down lest their princess become sullied in others’ hearts.

Shangra appears to be completely aloof to these considerations, repeatedly stating she has no intention of dating anyone till she has done her university studies, a decision everyone else seems perfectly content to respect.

As of the events of Pure Haze, the new homeroom teacher, Scott, is the only one whom Shangra has dated. The experience is both positive and negative for her, owing to both her firm sense of propriety and her irrepressible desire to be limitlessly in love; the details are the matter of the novel.

Appearances in the stories Edit

Of the Comet-pennded canon, Shangra appears solely in the Pure Haze novel, in a story, independent of other arcs, taking place over January-September 2003.

* * * Edit

Doc. 6.52.0181. b. 2020.0313. Original content ©Jonnie Comet Productions. All rights reserved

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