I am a huge Marian Keyes fan from way back but I was so disappointed by her last book, This Charming Man, that I didn't automatically rush out to buy her latest release, The Brightest Star in the Sky when it hit the shelves in Australia recently. However, after reading Dot's review I thought I would give Marian one more chance - and I am glad that I did.
I felt that with this book Keyes has returned to the style that made me enjoy her earlier books so much - a collection of interesting and flawed characters all interconnecting in some way to create a story. I must admit that there is a certain degree of "sameness" about a lot of her characters - a sense of having read about this character before - but I guess people in the real world are a bit like this too - we all share a lot of similar traits and characteristics in a way.
The Brightest Star in the Sky centres around the block of flats, and the people that live there, at 66 Star Street, Dublin. The reader enters the characters lives through an anonymous narrator who has the power to hover over each person seeing into their thoughts and memories. It is through this technique that we are able to see things that the characters might not know about themselves or things that they aren't letting other people know about. It is a clever technique that could have come across as way too cute or unrealistic but I think Keyes has made it work in this book - you are kept guessing until right at the end about who this elusive narrator may actually be - my first guess ended up being very wrong!
As with most of Keyes's books there is a mixture of lighthearted comedy and funny moments mixed in with far more serious issues. I felt that the serious issues in this book (one in particular) were probably brushed over a little too quickly - I can imagine that it would be a struggle to include issues like these in a book like this - you want to obviously get some sort of message across while at the same time making the book readable and enjoyable - a tough ask.
Overall my faith in Keyes has been restored - while not without it's flaws I was kept entertained right until the end of this one - and I will be buying her next book as soon as it comes out.