The Brightest Star in the Sky
At 66 Star Street in Dublin, someone is watching over the lives of the people living in its flats. But no one is aware of it – yet…
One of them is ready to take the plunge and fall in love; another is torn between two very different lovers. For some, secrets they want to stay buried will come to light and for others, the unveiling of those secrets will have tragic consequences.
Fate is on its way to Star Street, bringing with it love and tragedy, friendship and heartbreak, and the power to change their lives in the most unexpected of ways…
Before I start, I should say that I adore Marian Keyes. I’ve read all of her books; I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve loved almost every word. I could probably go as far to say that I worship the ground she walks on.
So it pains me to say that I struggled with this book.
The story focuses around a small block of flats in Dublin, and a mysterious character that is watching over all of its residents. This supernatural visitor, who acts as a narrator, is able to see into the memories of everyone in the building – and through this, we gradually learn about each of the people living at 66 Star Street.
Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of ‘fantasy’ stories. Magic and mystery just don’t appeal to me as much as realism. The narrator (whose identity is not revealed until the climax of the book) was more of an irritation than a selling point for me, as I didn’t understand who or what was telling the story, and my cynicism kept getting in the way.
Despite the magical storyline, The Brightest Star in the Sky is actually a rather depressing read. None of the characters are happy, and their backstories are all very dreary – cheating, loneliness and mental illness among the mildest issues being dealt with. Which leads me to the most fundamental issue I had with the book: I didn’t really like, or care about any of the characters.
There are a lot of characters in the book. There’s Matt and Maeve, a couple with a terrible secret that’s eating away at their relationship. Katie, the music exec with a rubbish boyfriend. Andrei and Jan, two Polish men who despise their flatmate, Lydia. And (what seems like) hundreds more. With so many different names and personalities to remember, and short chapters that jump between them at a quick pace, there was little time for a character to grow on you. It seemed that every time I got mildly interested in someone, the focus would change to someone else – and I’d find myself thinking, “not her again…”
With some novels, your need to understand everything has you racing towards the end, but the mysteries within this story didn’t really grab me. With each chapter that revealed nothing, I found myself more irritated than intrigued. Aside from the secret of the narrator, the chapters act as a mysterious countdown – from Day 66, to Day 1. We’re supposed to wonder what the book is counting down to, but I just wondered why it was taking so long to get there.
As the story reached its climax, my interest finally peaked… despite things getting even more harrowing and depressing than I’d anticipated. The last few chapters, although unsettling, were much easier to get through than the rest of the book. But it was still a bit of a relief when I finally finished it.
The Brightest Star in the Sky might be a book that divides opinion. If you’re a fan of fantasy and magic, you may engage more with the storyline. If you enjoy reading about everything that could possibly go wrong in the world, then perhaps you’ll like the depressing themes. But don’t read this if you’re looking for a happiness; you won’t find much of it here.
(Don’t worry, Marian, I still love you.)