The Stars in the Bright Sky

Alan Warner

The Stars in the Bright Sky

The Sopranos are back: out of school and out in the world, gathered in Gatwick to plan a super-cheap last-minute holiday to celebrate their reunion. Kay, Kylah, Manda, Rachel and Finn are joined by Finn's equally gorgeous friend Ava - a half-French philosophy student - and are ready to go on the rampage. Just into their twenties and as wild as ever, they've added acrylic nails, pedicures, mobile phones and credit cards to their arsenal, but are still the same thirsty girls: their holiday bags packed with skimpy clothes and condoms, their hormones rampant. Will it be Benidorm or Magaluf, Paris or Las Vegas? One thing is certain: a great deal of fast-food will be eaten and gallons of Guinness will be drunk by the alpha-female Manda, and she will be matched by the others' enthusiastic intake of Bacardi Breezers, vodkas and Red Bull. 4.1 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
The Stars in the Bright Sky

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Paperback
Pages 400
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication May 2010
ISBN 978-0224071284
Publisher Jonathan Cape
 

The Sopranos are back: out of school and out in the world, gathered in Gatwick to plan a super-cheap last-minute holiday to celebrate their reunion. Kay, Kylah, Manda, Rachel and Finn are joined by Finn's equally gorgeous friend Ava - a half-French philosophy student - and are ready to go on the rampage. Just into their twenties and as wild as ever, they've added acrylic nails, pedicures, mobile phones and credit cards to their arsenal, but are still the same thirsty girls: their holiday bags packed with skimpy clothes and condoms, their hormones rampant. Will it be Benidorm or Magaluf, Paris or Las Vegas? One thing is certain: a great deal of fast-food will be eaten and gallons of Guinness will be drunk by the alpha-female Manda, and she will be matched by the others' enthusiastic intake of Bacardi Breezers, vodkas and Red Bull.

Reviews

The Guardian

Shena Mackay

Throughout, Warner employs a fly-on-the wall technique in which shifts in alliances, social nuances and explanatory backstories are revealed through brilliantly pitched dialogue and monologue. He gets to the hearts of his characters, exposing bleak truths beneath the surface banality.

15/05/2010

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The Independent

Jonathan Gibbs

If The Stars in the Bright Sky has a weakness, it is similar to that of The Sopranos – the girls' dialogue is so funny, their characters so immersive, their company so enjoyable, that you worry the book is just flim-flam. It's not. Warner navigates the comic, the philosophical and the socially acute like no other writer we have.

28/05/2010

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The Observer

Thomas Jones

You don't have to have read The Sopranos to make sense of The Stars in the Bright Sky, or to be instantly hooked by it. As the women reacquaint themselves with each other, the reader is rapidly drawn into their lives and the complex web of their relationships through their vivid conversation. The novel is impressively impartial, not only in being non-judgmental but also in its even-handedness. None of the six women is promoted to heroine at the others' expense: the point of view moves easily among them, so the reader not only has privileged access to all of their private thoughts, and sees them all through each other's eyes, but also sees the group as a whole both from within and without – as the group perceives itself, as it's perceived by the people around it and, finally, as it really is.

16/05/2010

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The Sunday Telegraph

Phil Baker

Warner not only satirises the crassness of contemporary life but underlines the inequities of social class... The Stars in the Bright Sky is a book of contrasts, not least between the author and his creatures. The way that this middle-aged man manages to inhabit a gang of girls with such gusto and conviction is one of the small miracles of contemporary fiction, and Warner has done it once again.

09/05/2010

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Times Literary Supplement

Anthony Cummins

The Stars in the Bright Sky is surprisingly straightforward for an Alan Warner novel. The comfort of well-drawn characters and believable dialogue replaces the dazzle that is prominent in his earlier work... Especially telling in the new novel is the strict containment of speech within inverted commas. Its narrator – unlike the one in The Sopranos – is more bystander than participant: as if Warner would now prefer to keep his distance from these women who are half his age.

14/05/2010

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Martin

Its scope and matter may seem innocuous, but at times The Stars in the Bright Sky is a dark and powerfully odd book. Most initially striking is the authorial register Warner adopts: an almost Martian tone that owes a great deal to J G Ballard’s technique of making strange the urban environment... The cumulative effect is so odd that one keeps expecting the walls to fall away and the author to reveal that the whole thing is part of a metafictional game or set in an alternative universe.

11/06/2010

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The New Statesman

David Patrikarakos

There is a basic tension here common to all novels: between the author's desire to imprint his stamp onto every sentence -- what the critic James Wood calls the planting of authorial flags -- or to let each one (and character) speak for itself. Take Manda on the performing Mick Jagger: "He looks like a tapeworm being electrocuted." This is excellent; the image is as sharp as it is true. The only problem is it doesn't sound like Manda, the 20-year old hairdresser; it sounds like Alan Warner, the 45-year old comic novelist. The flag here, if not waved, is certainly brandished. Such solecisms, though, are largely rescued by his style, which descends in a straight line from his powers of observation.

24/05/2010

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