01 December 2009

The Brightest Star in the Sky

By Marian Keyes
Published by the Penguin Group
First published 2009

Marian Keyes tackles some pretty big topics in her latest novel: rape, dementia, death. It's a long way from "Last Chance Saloon", the book that made me a Marian Keyes junkie. Perhaps it's because I am such a junkie that I'm so very critical of this new venture of hers.

The storylines respecting the above-mentioned topics are interesting - but only near the end of the book. It took ages to get into this book and there were far too many gimmicks employed to make the book enjoyable: the foreshadowing/commentary by the narrating star/lifeform was irritating; knowing what the dog was thinking was a very un-Marian-like attempt at humour; the obsession with ending words in "sk" was totally overused; and the novel was peopled with too many, well, people. Too much back-story about the characters only added to the annoyance of reading the first half of this book.

But I persevered, because Marian Keyes is a good writer, dammit, and I knew I would find her somewhere in there. And, near the end, there she was in all her writing glory. She was funny, she was serious, she was writing. No messing about, she stuck to the topics and dug right in putting some people together while tearing others apart and every page was turned with high anticipation of what would happen next.

This book doesn't come close to "This Charming Man", which has become my favourite Marian Keyes novel. Lola Daly was the best female character she has ever written - hilarious, acerbic, vulnerable. No such memorable characters exist in "The Brightest Star in the Sky" but there are some strong, interesting characters and, based on that alone, this book is probably worth your time.


Anonymous said...

Good review - I think I'll read This Charming Man!


CLB said...

Good review. I think I will read it because I have read everything else.