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Bright Burning Things: Book summary and reviews of Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

Bright Burning Things

A Novel

by Lisa Harding

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding X
Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Dec 7, 2021
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A rising international literary star makes her American debut with this visceral, tender, and brave portrait of addiction, recovery, and motherhood, as harrowing and intense as Shuggie Bain.

Sonya used to perform on stage. She attended glamorous parties, dated handsome men, rode in fast cars. But somewhere along the way, the stage lights Sonya lived for dimmed to black. In their absence, came darkness—blackouts, empty cupboards, hazy nights she could not remember.

Haunted by her failed career and lingering trauma from her childhood, Sonya fell deep into an alcoholic abyss. What kept her from losing herself completely was Tommy, her son. But her love for Tommy rivaled her love for the bottle. Addiction amplified her fear of losing her child; every maternal misstep compelled her to drink. Tommy's precious life was in her shaky hands.

Eventually Sonya was forced to make a choice. Give up drinking or lose Tommy—forever.

Bright Burning Things is an emotional tour-de-force—a devastating and nuanced look at an addict's journey towards rehabilitation and redemption.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"In Irish writer Harding's blistering U.S. debut, a former London stage actress finds her life in Dublin derailed by disappointment and alcoholism...This unflinching portrait of a troubled, tender soul takes readers to the depths of the human heart." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Through Harding's realistic writing, one feels the profound desperation and pain of addiction. Readers won't soon forget this viscerally raw immersion into addiction." - Library Journal (starred review)

"[B]oth mesmerizing and horrifying—mostly horrifying...Harding eschews sentimentality while making it clear that her characters, however warped, are complex human beings...A tour de force of anguish made bearable by glimmers of redemption." - Kirkus Reviews

"Rich with layered character dynamics and unexpected turns, Bright Burning Things is riveting." - Shelf Awareness

"[A] wild ride, culminating in a final scene that combines hope, fear and beauty." - The Guardian (UK)

"[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." - The Times (UK)

"Unputdownable: infuriating, nerve-wracking and hugely enjoyable." - Roddy Doyle, author of Smile

This information about Bright Burning Things shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Lisa Harding

Lisa Harding is a writer, actress, playwright. She received an MPhil in creative writing from Trinity College Dublin in 2014. Her short stories have been published in the Dublin Review, the Bath Short Story Anthology, HeadStuff, and Winter Papers. Her first novel, Harvesting, won the 2018 Kate O'Brien Award and was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award. She lives in Dublin.

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