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The Brightest Star in the Sky: A Novel Hardcover – January 21, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Keyes delivers a dizzying vertical view of the mismatched, mixed-up tenants of Dublin's 66 Star Street, friends and lovers who grow up, grow old and give way to their heart currents with help from a puckish sprite. This multitiered saga of Dubliners searching for the brightest star in the sky... the planet of love straddles slapstick and sophistication in an engaging balancing act both giddy and grand. Here's Katie, publicist, freshly 40, and her workaholic, commitment-phobic fella, Conall; newlyweds Maeve and Matt, who hide a violent and crippling secret that binds them and drives them apart; madcap, sassy Lydia, a taxi driver who juggles worries about her aging mom and an over-the-top passion (mixed with equal parts lust and disdain) for her sexy flatmate; plucked from nowhere hunk Fionn, who hopes to begin a TV career, and his psychic foster mom and her mean-as-a-snake dog who improbably helps bring all the sweet mayhem to a satisfying close. Keyes (This Charming Man) is an expert at weaving dark threads into cozy material, and in this ambitious outing, she's in top form. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

A mysterious spirit is hovering over the building at 66 Star Street in Dublin, and this spirit is on a mission to change someone’s life. The spirit, however, is unclear on whom this someone will be. It could be Matt and Maeve, the newlyweds suffering with a terrible secret. Or Lydia the cabbie, who rooms with two sullen Polish nationals and spends most of her time worrying about her mother. Or maybe Katie, the newly 40 PR person with a flash job and a flashier boyfriend but who is still unfulfilled. Or Jemima, the elderly psychic, currently hosting her adopted son, Fionn, while he auditions for a TV show. The spirit slides back and forth between floors, hiding in shoes and peeking at photographs, learning all it can about the Star Street residents, and in doing so unknowingly interlocks each person’s life with his or her neighbors’, whether they like it or not. While the premise may sound silly, popular Keyes expertly develops it to create genuinely human and believable characters within a substantial and gratifying story. --Hilary Hatton

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1 edition (January 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021406
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,255,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lilly Flora VINE VOICE on December 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first started reading "The Brightest Star in The Sky" I was super puzzled. Marian Keyes is a fairly straight forward author-in fact most chick-lit and similar authors are (not that Keyes is really chick lit) and don't tend to have a lot of ghosts, vampires or other supernatural presences. And if they do, then they're classified as horror or sci-fi. Which Keyes is definitely not. So when this book opened with some kind of spirit following the lives and digging into the memories of everyone who lived at 66 Star Street in Dublin, I was a little concerned for the book. It seemed wildly out of character. And in fact if I had known where the whole thing was going in the beginning I would have thought it was a very, well, weird idea that would be nearly impossible to pull off without immense cliché.

Except it was pulled off-and with no old cliché or massive unnecessary sentiment at all. That's all I'm going to say about that. Anything more would be spoiling the fun.

66 star street is a four level apartment building and at the beginning of the book seven people live there (one will join later.) There's Jemima, an eighty eight year old woman with a very strange dog named Grudge, some physic tendencies (but she claims she's just old) and a son named Fionn who she adores beyond anything. Fionn himself is a beyond normally handsome gardener about to get his own TV show. Then there's Katie-she's just turning forty and works in PR for musicians but in spite of her workaholic always traveling none live in boyfriend (Conall) who rips companies apart and puts them back together-she's pretty unfulfilled. On the second floor we have Lydia, Andrei and Jan. Lydia is a twenty something bundle of sarcasm who drives a cab and has some great unknown (to us) problem in her life.
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Format: Hardcover
I can usually read a Marian Keyes novel in 48 hours. This one took me over a week. I kept putting it down and could not get into it. However, having said that, I am glad I struggled to the end. The Brightest Star in the Sky is different than all her previous books (and I have read all of them). So, If you have never read Keyes before, don't start with this one. I felt the book was lacking with her usual humor and wit she adds to the characters. The characters were well developed, but I often found myself asking, what is the point with some of the back story? It was also pretty easy to figure out why the spirit was present about half way through, so I'm not sure what the point of adding it to the story was.

*If you have read Keyes before, definitely add this one to your list, but just know it is different. You must read all the way until the end however. The last 40 pages were a breeze, the most entertaining, and ever question you may have asked yourself is answered.
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Format: Hardcover
In this novel, Keyes intertwines the stories of the residents (permanent and temporary) of 66 Star Street. The mismatched characters include everyone from a gardening show wannabe star to a record company exec to a taxi driver. The first 3/4 of the novel is spent on telling most of the residents' stories, but Keyes holds back on us until the very end. I felt like there was a lot of backstory and little real plot and action. The characters themselves are interesting, and I kept reading...but there were moments when I wanted to stop. The compelling action of the plot doesn't take place until the final chapters of the book. I feel like there are a couple of gimmicks that Keyes uses in place of her usual structure and story, and this frustrated me for most of the book. I have been genuinely moved by past Keyes novels, but sadly, this one doesn't quite deliver.
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Format: Paperback
I usually love Marian Keyes books, especially her older ones. (Seems like that's what everybody says about her books.) This book was okay, but nothing special. At least not in a good way... Reliving a rape through the victim's eyes was the last thing I expected from this book and it kind of snuck up on me (toward the end of the book). The narration was very vivid and graphical. If you are sensitive to this sort of thing, I would skip this book altogether. There should have been a trigger warning for it.
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I'm a big fan of Marian Keyes because she manages to write books that feature characters who are funny and engaging in worlds that are up-to-the-minute contemporary while including a dark undercurrent that provides a serious and generally feminist message. The Brightest Star in the Sky certainly fits that bill, featuring the residents who live in the apartments at 66 Star Street in Dublin in a story that provides plots for each that eventually weave together into a satisfying conclusion. There's a 40-something record promoter trying to figure out where things our going with her globe-trotting boyfriend whose specialty is restructing failing companies, including firing employees by the hundreds. There's an old lady whose foster-son comes to town in hopes of launching a TV career. There's a pair of newlyweds whose perfect marriage appears to be in big trouble. There's a spunky taxi driver who's living in a closet-turned-bedroom with two eastern European fellows who don't understand why she doesn't do the women's work. There's also a spectral presence floating through walls and windows, which adds a supernatural element that didn't really work for me, but since everything else did, I found it easy to overlook. Unfortunately, fans like me may be waiting awhile for Keyes' next book because, as she revealed on her website in May, she's been suffering "a major depressive episode" and is not working. I join the dozens of fans who've posted messages of support on her website in wishing her well and hoping the wisdom and courage she's displayed in her novels helps her make a complete recovery.
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