The Brightest Star in the Sky: A Novel

( 102 )

Overview

A wry and life-affirming tale-and the Irish literary star's latest New York Times bestseller.

Marian Keyes's inimitable blend of rollicking humor, effervescent prose, and captivating stories that deal with real-life issues have won readers around the globe. Reminiscent of the blockbuster movie Love, Actually, her new novel The Brightest Star in the Sky, features seven neighbors whose lives become entangled when a sassy and prescient spirit descends on 66 Star Street to radically...

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The Brightest Star in the Sky

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Overview

A wry and life-affirming tale-and the Irish literary star's latest New York Times bestseller.

Marian Keyes's inimitable blend of rollicking humor, effervescent prose, and captivating stories that deal with real-life issues have won readers around the globe. Reminiscent of the blockbuster movie Love, Actually, her new novel The Brightest Star in the Sky, features seven neighbors whose lives become entangled when a sassy and prescient spirit descends on 66 Star Street to radically transform at least one person's life in the Dublin town house. With the comic appeal of Nick Hornby's novels and delicious drama akin to Jane Green, The Brightest Star in the Sky will keep readers guessing, laughing, gasping, and in tears until the very last page.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143118497
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 310,574
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes, a preeminent writer of contemporary women's fiction, is the internationally bestselling author of more than ten novels and two autobiographical works. She lives in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, with her husband.
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Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

The occupants of the townhouse at 66 Star Street could not be more different if they tried, and they each face their own volatile mix of exactly the same issues: love, lust, heartache, and forgiveness. Over the course of sixty-one days, these neighbors, the core characters of Marian Keyes's new novel The Brightest Star in the Sky, become more closely entangled than they ever thought possible. There's Matt and Maeve, the young married couple on the ground floor who strive to be good and yet are dragged down by a secret in their past that they cannot bring themselves to discuss. Upstairs, Lydia, a twenty-something cabbie, talks tough but harbors a hidden tenderness, spending her spare time caring for her sick mother. On the top floor lives Katie, a music PR executive who has just turned forty and is questioning her choices in life, not to mention her relationship with a man who has tons of money but too little time. And circling above them all is a knowing little spirit who peeks in and out of their struggles as it decides whose life it should land in next.

Keyes is known for her fearlessness, sensitivity, and wit, and, as with her previous books, The Brightest Star in the Skycrackles with the energy of real life. She is never afraid to tackle challenging topics or prickly emotions, and in this novel she grapples with issues as complex and difficult as depression, illness, and even suicide—yet Keyes never loses her sharp sense of humor. Like a good best friend, she's ready with a smile when things are at their darkest, able to generate a laugh in the face of pain. In addition, Keyes has added a touch of magic to her mix of characters in the form of Jemima and Fionn. The elderly Jemima works as a phone psychic and hides her true intuitive powers, while her foster son (and aspiring actor) Fionn is so sexy and flirtatious, even his photographs wink. Over the course of the novel, this potent cast of characters swaps partners, changes jobs, and reevaluates their lives, but not even the mysterious spirit, who sees into the hearts, hopes, and fears of all the occupants of Star Street, can predict the terrible event, years in the making, that will bring them all together—and the wonderful news that will change their lives.

In The Brightest Star in the Sky, Keyes has created a kaleidoscope of a story, real life improved by a small dose of the kind of magic we all need, and a large dose of the magic we provide each other. As her characters push through sufferings large and small, Keyes steers them toward conclusions that are both satisfying and unexpected, and the characters find, in the end, the beginning of their new lives.

ABOUT MARIAN KEYES

Marion Keyes is the author of ten novels, including This Charming Man and Anybody Out There?, as well as two collections of personal essays. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty-two languages. She lives with her husband in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Who is the spirit? How does it affect the various characters? Were you satisfied with how its journey ends?
  • Why does Keyes use the spirit as the narrator of the novel? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this approach?
  • Each of the women in the novel has a unique strength as well her own specific weakness. Who do you see as the strongest of the female characters? Explain.
  • What is Matt and Maeve's painful secret? How does it affect their marriage? Could they have handled the situation differently?
  • How does Katie's age affect her perspective on her life? How did your understanding of yourself and your goals change as you aged?
  • Discuss Lydia's concerns about her mother. Do women often bear the brunt of responsibility within the family, especially when it comes to caretaking? What would you have done in Lydia's position?
  • Do you believe in psychic powers such as Jemima's? Have you ever experienced any sort of ESP or intuition that you couldn't explain? Are you superstitious?
  • How do the relationships between Matt and Maeve and between Katie and Connal change over the course of the novel? Was a drastic act necessary for Matt and Maeve to examine their marriage? How would Katie and Connal's relationship have been different had she accepted his initial drunken proposal?
  • Look at the story Katie reads to Vivienne on pages 224 – 226. How does it connect to the rest of the novel?
  • What happens to Jemima and Fionn at the end of the novel? How are their powers indicative of their personalities? Do they use these powers effectively?
  • "Sometimes," Maeve says, "when I was a kid, I used to think about my life and wonder what was going to happen, because they always said that bad stuff would happen to everyone at some stage" (p.439). Do you agree that everyone experiences some suffering in life? What obstacles have you had to overcome?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 102 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 103 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I recommend!

    A mysterious presence watches the cast of interesting characters who live in an apartment building in Dublin over the course of sixty one days. This lengthy book starts a delightful read about entangled relationships and changing lives. The spirit's narration is really enjoyable and adds a touch of humorous snarkiness. But the spirit keeps referring to a big change coming to one of the residents, providing an ominous foreshadowing that keeps the reader glued to the pages. And as it goes deeper into their memories and more is revealed about the character's lives, the reader becomes aware that the presence is waiting for something. This spirit has the ability to change at least one of their lives. I'm not really into fantasy, but it didn't take long to get me sucked in and stuck! I recommend!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Life is an amazing journey when written through the eyes of Marian Keyes! Captures you from page 1 to the very end...you don't want to put it down!!

    Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I stayed up late night after night, took it where ever I went, just to get more reading done. It grabs your interest from page 1 and you get so involved with the characters and the direction of the plot, you have to know what happens next. A must read by one of my favorite authors. So human, so relatable, so interesting. Life is an amazing journey when written through the eyes of Marian Keyes!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2010

    Absolutely hilarious!

    OMG there is actually another person on the planet who shares my very own twisted, bizarre sense of humor. If you are easily offended you might want to pass on this. I shared the trials and tribulations of the character who had a parent suffering from Alzheimer's disease. You may think there is nothing funny about it. However, people who have this illness do things that are incredibly funny. It is that very thing that saves the sanity of those of us who care for them. I too had siblings who refused to help. That is too bad because they missed all the fun my parent and I had during his last two years of life. I laughed at this book until I cried. I highly recommend it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A GOOD READ!!

    "The Brightest Star in the Sky" is about a group of neighbors who share a building. The story is about the way these strangers become connected by a series of events.

    The author has a wonderful way of revealing her characters slowly. Although there is a good deal of heartbreak in the book the reader feels empathy and affection for most of the people who are lovable and quirky.

    A good read!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It is a quick and easy read, not exactly a "can't put it do

    It is a quick and easy read, not exactly a "can't put it down" story, but interesting enough to finish. I didn't see all that much very funny about it, but it had its moments. If you buy it on sale, it's worth reading and then pass it along to someone else.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2010

    Am I the only one who is disappointed?

    Everybody here seems to love this book but I am 1/4 in and still waiting for something besides cuteness to happen. I will go a little longer since everybody seems to love this so much but I just think it drags on with too much with absolutely nothing happening or any depth to anyone's relationship (at least so far)

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved It!

    If you like any of her books, you will like this book. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good entertaining book to read. Her characters are always warm and funny and I haven't read a bad one yet. My favorite was Rachel's Holiday.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Marian Keyes that you know and love...

    I'm a huge fan of Marian Keyes and having just bought a Nook, I was excited that it coincided with the U.S. publication of her most recent book so that my first e-book purchase would be for a new book by an author that I love. I enjoy almost all of her books, but this is one of her best yet. I loved all of the characters, but particularly Lydia. She was funny, but real. The great thing about Keyes' books is that they are hilariously funny but meaningful at the same time. Can't wait for the next one! If you haven't read anything by her yet and you like this book, try Rachel's Holiday, Watermelon or Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 8, 2009

    FABULOUS story!!

    I couldn't wait for The Brightest Star in the Sky to be released here in the states so I ordered it a few months ago from the UK. I am glad I paid the super high shipping, it was well worth it!! I love Marian Keyes so I was expecting the best and I wasn't disappointed! LOVE,LOVE,LOVE this book, it was a fun and entertaining read. I would highly reccommend it!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2014

    Sorry I spent money on the book

    After reading the revues, I ordered the book. I have never been so disappointed in a read in my life. It certainly didn't have the hilarious aspects that others promised. It was more boring than anything. Having said that, I leave it up to future readers to decided for themselves. I donated it to the local library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Dull and not going anywhere fast

    This book was somewhat boring with very flat characters. There is some kind of spirit present in an apartment house in Dublin. The spirit doesn't know who it is supposed to "belong to" so we follow the lives of a LOT of people, none of whom are terribly interesting. Too many characters and the ending was dumb. Keyes has definitely written better books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Dhdb

    Ckckf

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Icetail

    You guys need a medcat?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Silverlight

    She laughed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    Mapleleaf

    Hello

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Springstep and Autumnleaf

    "Wait..." "Wait for wahat?" "I dunno." "Then why would we wait for somthing that you don't even know if it exists?" "I dunno that either." "Who are you?" "I dunno." "What is this?" "I dunno." "WHYYYYYYYYYYY MEHHHHH??????" Autumnleaf whisper-yelled." I dunno." Springstep answered, giggling.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Brightstar

    He purred amused

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    /) ? Anyone?

    Mlp fim ish epic. ( this is a good book btw )

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    Shadow

    You you think im the good shadow im his other dimenson self

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    Skull

    What?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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