Bright Burning Things
‘Absolutely dazzling’ Marian Keyes
‘On every page there are little shimmering bombs’ Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women
‘Quietly devastating . . . Reminded me repeatedly of Shuggie Bain’ Observer
AN OBSERVER, GRAZIA, IRISH TIMES AND IRISH INDEPENDENT HIGHLIGHT FOR 2021
Being Tommy’s mother is too much for Sonya.
Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy’s life is in her hands.
Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O’Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy – forever.
The stakes in Harding's Bright Burning Things are stark and terrifying . . . Harding [makes] a well-worn narrative shine with a heroine whose dogged triumphs accumulate over the course of this fast-paced and intensely lucid novel * New York Times * A heady mixture of heartbreak ("I swallow, I soothe, I sleep") and hope, that the cycle will break: "tomorrow - there's always tomorrow" * Times Literary Supplement * [A] moving story of a mother battling addiction . . . Bright Burning Things joins Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Shuggie Bain as a portrait of female wreckage. Harding's fine and affecting novel can hold its own respectably in the company * The Times * A tour de force of anguish made bearable by glimmers of redemption * Kirkus * Hard on the heels of last year's Booker winner Shuggie Bain comes this pungently propulsive heart-wrencher about another single mother battling the booze, this time in modern-day Ireland . . . We root desperately for her to pull through, in an alarming yet tender portrayal of the slow-burn impact of long-repressed grief * Daily Mail * A scorching read - heart-breaking but ultimately hopeful * The Mail * A novel of extraordinary intimacy and vividness, a uniquely disquieting account of a mind sinking into the depths and rising again, full of such powerful love and fear -- Megan Hunter, author of 'The End We Start From' A tense, unflinching, immersive mapping of a pitted track of addiction and recovery . . . I lived every scene as I read, and I know that these characters will be with me for a long time -- Donal Ryan [Harding's] writing is taut, and there is such an intensity, an urgency about the narrative that you find yourself turning the pages as if you fear Sonya might race out of sight . . . A contemporary, zeitgeisty read and very satisfying * Sunday Independent * The novel . . . has the feel of a monologue, held together by Sonya's mesmerising voice, a glorious mix of barely-held-together sanity and unbridled honesty ... Sonya is a beautifully realised character * Irish Independent * Absolutely dazzling . . . While the subject matter is dear to my heart, I'd have loved it even if I knew nothing about addiction. It's instantly engrossing. Sonya's emotional interiority is fascinating and compelling. I really cared about her and Tommy - they felt very real to me -- Marian Keyes Delves into territories which are as devastating as they are illuminating * Refinery29 * Well-crafted... It's a wild ride, culminating in a scene that combines hope, fear and beauty * Observer * On every page there are little shimmering bombs. Like Room, where parenthood is at once your jail and your salvation, it is almost claustrophobic - but in the most glorious way -- Lisa Taddeo, author of 'Three Women' Startling, urgent and intimate, Bright Burning Things is a meticulous portrait of a life unravelling, and of the painstaking, heartbreaking work to put it all back together -- Lisa McInerney An unsentimental, blackly funny novel about motherhood and addiction * Metro * Tender and electric, Bright Burning Things interrogates the raw edges of love and addiction with an honesty that made me ache. It captures the fragility of our fractured minds and illuminates our power to break legacies of hurt -- Jessica Andrews, author of 'Saltwater' Lisa Harding is a vivid and original stylist and a gifted storyteller. This is a fabulous novel -- Kevin Barry A fearless, fully compelling and illuminating look at one young woman's journey through addiction towards a greater understanding of herself and the richness of parenthood. I was both shaken and completely absorbed -- Jane Urquhart A shattering portrait of the divided self. Bright Burning Things walks the razor's edge between addiction and recovery in prose that is searing, sensual and merciful -- Paul Lynch Disturbing and often uplifting, Bright Burning Things is a powerful tale of addiction and recovery as experienced by a young, single mother and her five-year old son. Written with honesty, courage and no shortage of talent, this is one of those novels that stays in your head long after you've finished reading it -- Christine Dwyer Hickey Unputdownable: infuriating, nerve-wracking and hugely enjoyable -- Roddy Doyle A gripping, atmospheric and deeply truthful novel from a writer whose work I love -- Joseph O'Connor A gritty, uncomfortable and profoundly moving read, Bright Burning Things captures all the manic sadness and fallout from the past, of how we try to cool fires that rage . . . I couldn't put it down -- Elaine Feeney, author of 'As You Were' Once again, Lisa Harding's compelling and singular writing draws you into its tenuous world of a life gone awry and the missteps often necessary in finding a way back from the brink. A paean to resilience and compassion; to healing and renewal; to one woman's determination to reclaim her life before it all implodes. Bright Burning Things is an absorbing study in make-or-break, an achingly honest examination of fall from grace, a riveting will-she won't-she redemption tale, and I loved it -- Alan McMonagle, author of 'Ithaca' and 'Laura Cassidy's Walk of Fame'
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