When a girl's brain is not working completely at one hundred percent her thoughts turn away from the cerebral to chick lit! Something reasonably uncomplicated to take away the cares of the world at the end of a hard day. Except Marian Keye's latest offering The Brightest Star in the Skyposed more of a challenge than expected. It's 612 pages long and I was unaware that I'd borrowed it on a fourteen day non renewable loan from the library and with just two days left I realised that I had about 250 pages to go. This stretched my concept of a leisurely bedtime read but I've made it and my task didn't feel that onerous.
The book weaves a story about the lives of the residents of a Dublin house which has been subdivided into flats. This got me on side from the start because I prefer Marian Keye's work when it is set in her home country. It has all the usual elements of her work: well formed characters (albeit with a high yuppie quotient), more than a smattering of humour, a bit of sexual frisson and serious underlying themes. Her description of early dementia in one of her character and her family's reaction is a fine piece of writing that could only have come from personal experience. However, some of the plot is more than a little implausible and that's before the strange supernatural focus of this offering is taken into account. But hey, this is fiction and I wanted escapism rather than gritty realism.
Many authors of this genre of writing leave me cold with their terrible writing style, wooden characters, predictable plot line or, horror of horrors a combination of all three. However, even though I do not think that Marian Keyes ranks among the greatest writers ever her work is carefully executed and sparky and during the times when I want a good read without working too hard, I've returned to her again and again