Book Review: The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

The Brightest Star in the Sky written by Marian Keyes is the author’s favorite book of her own she’s written to date.

Keyes uses the omnipresent tense to take the reader into the lives of the multiple inhabitants of four different flats in an apartment building on 66 Start Street in Dublin, Ireland.

In the top floor flat lives music exec Katie. She spends her days fighting off has-been rock stars and wondering how much cheesecake you’d need to eat yourself to death.

Below her, a pair of muscular Poles share with a streetwise cabbie named Lydia who has a sharp tongue, an even sharper brain but some unexpected soft spots.

On the first floor is Fionn – the gardener who prefers the company of parsnips to people. But he looks like a fairy-tale prince and when he’s offered his own television show, he’s suddenly thrust into the limelight.

And at the bottom of the house live Matt and Maeve, who are Very Much In Love and who stave off despair by doing random acts of kindness.

 But a mysterious visitor has just landed at 66 Star Street and big changes are on the way. Old secrets are working their way to the surface, bringing love, tragedy and an unexpected optimism. And life will be different for everyone…

With very short two to six-page chapters, this book is fast-paced. Switching floors and people, Keyes gives us a glimpse into the lives of each of these very different characters. I found that for the majority of the story, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was about. At the beginning and near the end, the reader is introduced to the narrator who tends to take a step back throughout the middle of the story and becomes a fly on the wall. You see how the character’s lives change throughout the book, but I found myself wondering why? Why are we following these characters and who or what is the narrator and what is his or her role

The story was interesting, there are many events that happen individually to each character who are all very different and as life goes on, the characters start to become involved in each other’s lives. In the end they all come together, the narrator comes back in, and the reason why we’ve been following them is revealed.

I was surprised how the story grew darker and darker towards the end. Keyes’ books are always comedies written about a very serious topic, but this book is even darker than “This Charming Man” which had me unsettled. This story was even more serious and there was less comedy throughout compared to her earlier works.

It’s a great read, but if you don’t like to be shocked or saddened when reading a Chick Lit novel, this one might not be for you. It does make you remember not to take your life for granted and the story sure resonates afterward.

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About Nicole Basaraba

Nicole Basaraba is a Canadian writer focusing on topics of travel (Mondays), writing and literature (Wednesdays), lifestyle (Fridays) and her experiences living in the capital city of Europe: Brussels, Belgium.
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5 Responses to Book Review: The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

  1. Robyn says:

    There seems to be a randomness in her writing that was not there in her earlier work. My favorite book of hers to date has been the Other Side of the Story. I always seem to compare subsequent novels to that one. I’ll give this one a go, I have read her books in a ling while. Just like Maeve Binchy books, I haven’t found the newer works to be as enchanting. Maybe it’s me and my growth that is the change. Thanks for the honest review!

    • Hi Robyn, thanks so much for the comment. I have the same feelings as you. Other Side of the Story is my favorite as well and it happens to be the first book of her’s I read. I also compare her subsequent books to that one. Nice to hear I’m not the only one who thinks this. I’m also big fan of Binchy.

  2. Em says:

    I adore Marian Keyes but I know what you mean about the darker side of this novel. One scene has stayed with me and made me sad but I loved the use of this ‘other’ to watch the lives of the characters unfold.

    Great review!

  3. Rose says:

    You always read amazing stuff. I want to read this one right now… I am intrigued!

  4. Very interesting. I’ll definitely add this to my list of TBR. It sounds interesting and rich and it’s always nice to see a different side an of an author. Tks for the fab review! 🙂

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