The Stars Are Not Yet Bells Summary and Reviews

The Stars Are Not Yet Bells

A Novel

by Hannah Lillith Assadi

The Stars Are Not Yet Bells by Hannah Lillith Assadi X
The Stars Are Not Yet Bells by Hannah Lillith Assadi
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2022
    240 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Through the scrim of fading memory, an elderly woman confronts a lifetime of secrets and betrayal, under the mysterious skies of her island home.

Off the coast of Georgia, near Savannah, generations have been tempted by strange blue lights in the sky near an island called Lyra. At the height of WWII, impressionable young Elle Ranier leaves New York City to forge a new life together on the island with her new husband, Simon. There they will live for decades, raising a family while waging a quixotic campaign to find the source of the mysterious blue offshore light—and the elusive minerals rumored to lurk beneath the surface.

Fifty years later, Elle looks back at her life on the mysterious island—and at a secret she herself has guarded for decades. As her memory recedes into the mists of Alzheimer's disease, her life seems a tangle of questions: How did her husband's business, now shuttered, survive so long without ever finding the legendary Lyra stones? How did her own life crumble under treatment for depression? And what became of Gabriel—the handsome, raffish other man who came to the island with them and risked everything to follow the lights?

Darkly romantic and deeply haunting, The Stars Are Not Yet Bells pulls us into a story of the tantalizing, faithless relationship between ourselves and the lives and souls we leave behind.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Assadi returns with a lyrical and melancholic tale of grief, love, and a marriage's open secrets, narrated by a woman who has Alzheimer's...The beauty of Assadi's prose and the splendid depiction of a love that transcends death make for a singular rendition of an oft-told story. This will leave readers undone." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] dreamy, elegiac novel about loss and desire...Assadi still creates a haunting mood of despair and regret. A haunting elegy for loss, desire, and memory." - Kirkus Reviews

"A prophetic fever dream sprung from a singular imagination. Hannah Lillith Assadi is an incomparable stylist and a fearless storyteller. This novel is a lush, addicting, daring wonder." - Claire Vaye Watkins, author of I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness

"A luminous and deeply moving portrait of the end of life and the persistence of desire. While Hannah Lillith Assadi's characters are forced to deny the truth of themselves and who they love, in her assured hands the extraordinary beauty of life and love and the natural world is never lost." - JoAnne Tompkins, author of What Comes After

"The Stars Are Not Yet Bells is a heartbreaking and profoundly visionary book. Hannah Assadi movingly renders the kaleidoscopic nature of memory—revealing not only one woman's disordered heart and mind, but the way our consciousness recombines shards of memory to create a glittering, prismatic view of a life. I wanted to stay in Assadi's shimmering sentences for as long as I could." - Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves

This information about The Stars Are Not Yet Bells 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

Hannah Lillith Assadi

Hannah Lillith Assadi teaches fiction at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Her first novel, Sonora, received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. In 2018, she was named a National Book Foundation "5 under 35" honoree. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

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