The Brightest Sun: Book summary and reviews of The Brightest Sun by Adrienne Benson

The Brightest Sun

by Adrienne Benson

The Brightest Sun by Adrienne Benson X
The Brightest Sun by Adrienne Benson
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

An illuminating debut following three women in sub-Saharan Africa as they search for home and family.

Leona, an isolated American anthropologist, gives birth to a baby girl in a remote Maasai village and must decide how she can be a mother, in spite of her own grim childhood. Jane, a lonely expat wife, follows her husband to the tropics and learns just how fragile life is. Simi, a barren Maasai woman, must confront her infertility in a society in which females are valued by their reproductive roles. In this affecting debut novel, these three very different women grapple with motherhood, recalibrate their identities and confront unforeseen tragedies and triumphs.

In beautiful, evocative prose, Adrienne Benson brings to life the striking Kenyan terrain as these women's lives intertwine in unexpected ways. As they face their own challenges and heartbreaks, they find strength traversing the arid landscapes of tenuous human connection. With gripping poignancy, The Brightest Sun explores the heartbreak of loss, the struggle to find a sense of belonging and the surprising ways we find our family and home.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Benson's depiction of motherhood across circumstances will please readers interested in stories about forging homes in other cultures." - Publishers Weekly

"The African backdrop gives an interesting spin to Benson's exploration of themes related to motherhood, outsiderness, and emotional connection." - Booklist

"The themes of motherhood have some universality, but there isn't enough of a sense of time or place conveyed to feel truly immersed in the setting." - Library Journal

"Benson illuminates human emotion and psychology with such accuracy that you are brought home again, almost dizzily, to your own recognizable heart. That is beautiful storytelling, and this is a beautiful novel." - Tim Johnston, New York Times bestselling author of Descent

"This engrossing narrative offers the experience of engaging and empathizing with cultural differences deeper than unfamiliar customs. It can transport you to Kenya and present the doors of kinship." - Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Life

"Adrienne Benson's characters are complicated people, damaged by circumstances past and present; her exploration of what it takes for their wounds to heal is aglow with empathy and insight." - Suzi Wyss, author of The Civilized World

"In her debut novel, Adrienne Benson masterfully braids the lives, desires, and fears of three memorable women. Their loneliness and longing, their bravery and resilience are illuminated-with empathy and honesty-against the vivid landscapes of Kenya and Liberia. This clear-eyed novel is both heartbreaking and hopeful." - Joanna Luloff, author of The Beach at Galle Road

"The Brightest Sun dazzles. A riveting page-turner filled with wonder, grace, and joy.Adrienne Benson is a fantastic writer." - Brando Skyhorse, author of The Madonnas of Echo Park and Take This Man: A Memoir

"An enchanting and deeply moving story, The Brightest Sun is a lovely portrait of three women's lives redolent with beautiful evocations of the African landscape and light. A page-turner of a tale and a stirring and finally redemptive story of mothers and daughters." - Sara Mansfield Taber, author of Born Under an Assumed Name and Dusk on the Campo

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Author Information

Adrienne Benson

Adrienne Benson was raised in Africa, and has called Kenya, Liberia, Zambia, and the Ivory Coast home. A former Peace Corps volunteer, her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Foreign Service Journal, as well as in a handful of literary journals.

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