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Bright Shiny Morning Hardcover – 7 Aug 2008

84 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; First Edition edition (7 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848540434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848540439
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 24.8 x 4.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'It's a book that smacks of grandiosity, is exasperating but engrossing and, despite its oddities of punctuation and bleak minimalist style, is a riveting read' (New Books)

'Sprawling as the city itself, and shows the flipside to the American dream' (GQ)

An immaculately written novel about a kaleidoscope of characters living in LA (Tatler)

'At 500 pages, it is totally gripping throughout -- Frey may have upset a few people, but who cares when he writes like this?' (Bookseller)

'Frey clearly has a knack for telling tales - this story of interweaving, never-meeting strangers in LA is an engrossing read' (The Times)

'Its absorbing narrative confirms Frey as a master storyteller' (Gay Times)

'Frey's trademark filmic snapshots zoom in on the parallel lives of diverse characters, bringing their egos and ideals, hopes and despairs, anxieties and absurdities vividly to life' (Yorkshire Evening Post)

Bright Shiny Morning reads quickly, has great dialogue and some expertly dramatic moments, teaches you more about L.A than you ever knew (Washington Post)

'A sprawling, ambitious novel about Los Angeles, written with all the broad-stroke energy that was so irresistible to readers in A Million Little Pieces' (Vanity Fair)

'An absolute triumph of a novel. In fact it's so good that it makes Frey's real-life resurrection from crooked biographer to great American novelist far more impressive ... Frey, a natural novelist to his fingertips, hits the deeper truths with this honest, vibrant and tender portrait of Los Angeles and the American dream ...It can be no exaggeration to say that Bright Shiny Morning amounts to the literary come-back of the decade ... James Frey is probably one of the finest and most important writers to have emerged in recent years' (Irvine Welsh, Guardian)

'He turns clichés into characters robust enough to carry this 500-page Californian odyssey' (Guardian)

'A compulsive piece of popular fiction . . . works splendidly as an upmarket trashy read . . . Frey's hefty novel is nothing less than a panoramic depiction of a megalopolis at its highest and lowest ends .. He's an excellent entertainer . . . Frey can tell a story and has a fine eye for the variegated economic milieux in which his characters travel. So what if, by the end, you come away thinking the novel superficial and lacking in original insight. This is Los Angeles, baby. And in LA superficiality has its own integrity' (The Times)

'[It] pays little heed to conventional syntax, thus creating a beguiling momentum of its own, propelled by raw emotion and energy ... this compulsive novel is testament that good fiction can reveal powerful emotional truths' (Independent on Sunday)

'Taking the scattergun approach of his bestseller, A Million Little Pieces, he exposes the grubby reality of the Hollywood dream' (Marie Claire)

'Frey exposes the truth behind the fairy tale of LA in this energetic novel' (In Style)

'Bright Shiny Morning has released [Frey] from the memoir trap, revealing an easy . . . storytelling facility' (Observer)

'Frey has produced a novel that is defiant in both its grammatical rebellion and its fierce pace' (Observer)

'An intriguing novel peopled by characters whose presence lingers once reading has ceased' (The List)

'A triumphant read' (London Lite)

'Frey writes with pace and energy' (Times Literary Supplement)

'A sparkling narrative, which doesn't shrink from exposing the city's seamier side but ultimately is a huge celebration' (Daily Mail)

'All the characters are cleverly juxtaposed against the history and atmosphere of Los Angeles itself ... a riveting and hugely enjoyable read: rushy, entertaining and appealing' (Sunday Business Post)

'This dazzling novel focuses on a crazy cross section of the city's fictional characters' (Look Magazine)

'Frey has constructed a spaghetti junction of LA stories that is irresistible, frustrating and compelling' (RTE Guide (Ireland))

'For fans of gritty modern writing, this fast and fascinating story paints a portrait of the Los Angeles that Hollywood films and TV dramas rarely show' (Bella)

'The gritty, gloriousness of James Frey's writing will suck you in ... one of our favourites already!' (U Magazine)

'[Frey] takes us deep inside the city of inspiring actors, singers, models and dancers. The city of nose jobs, breast implants, Botox and liposuction.' 'Don't be fooled by the apparently glamorous setting of this novel. This book is a gritty, disturbing and definitely emotional insight into the LA lifestyle, yet it's not all doom and gloom either. Frey's undeniable sense of humour, wit and charm ensure you definitely get your fair share of laughs along the way. This book is an absolute, without a doubt, must read. (Victoria Holden, Student Direct (Official Directory of Manchester and Salford))

Book Description

A bold and dazzling new story from the controversial creator of A Million Little Pieces

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By dobosphere on 14 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to find fault with this book, given Frey's history, but I was moved shaken, stunned and even goddman educated by this incredible magnum opus. what moves me so much is the spartan story telling technique, the way it lays peoples lives out in broad simple strokes, un-decorated with similies metaphors and poetic language. There are no nature metaphors here, there is no God and no transcendence, there are just people in their multitudes, with their mini-story lives, and that is a thing of beauty to behold.
Bright shiny morning is a powerful and moving picture of a very messed up city. every character seems real and alive and we feel for them all, whether they are abusers or abused, victims or conquerors. life goes on and lives through these pages.
My only grievance is that one of the narrative strands seems to end short but then I just wanted this book to go on and on and on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Butterfly on 31 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book - I know the authour is controversial in the US for his other work, A Million Little Pieces and the whole Oprah Winfrey business but I didn't let that deter me from judging this book on its own merit and I thoroughly enjoyed it.I liked the lists of facts about LA, although not so much the fictional lists such as daily log of guns/ rifles sold. The story features four main plots - a young couple escaping a horrible family life in a small town US city, a famous Hollywood actor living in the closet with a cover up wife (a lesbian) and children, a young insecure, intelligent Mexican woman scraping a living cleaning rich peoples houses and a homeless alcoholic, aswell as little snippets of numerous characters which were given a brief description of but no actual storyline, which I felt could have maybe been developed a little more? Overall, I enjoyed the story of the young couple the most as I felt the characters were the ones I could relate to and would like a sequel to find out what happens to them next? Overall, excellent read and one I would recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tealady2000 VINE VOICE on 13 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a riot of a book, with a fast-paced, frantic feel created by using a `stream of consciousness' narrative style in the present tense. (NB there is a distinct lack of punctuation, so if that bothers you, give this a miss). James Frey does an excellent job of trying to capture the character of a city through the style of writing. I loved the structure, in which more factual sections are interspersed with stories - some uplifting, most shocking - of those who come to LA seeking fame and fortune. A great holiday read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Like John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" which is a novel about the Salinas Valley, James Frey's written a novel about Los Angeles, and wouldn't you know it, it's amazing.

The novel doesn't have Chapter 1, 2, etc. but does have separate sections which follow 4 main plot threads - a gay movie star, a young teen couple who've runaway to start a new life in LA, the daughter of immigrants out to find acceptance in society, and a beach bum. The book is also interspersed with sections devoted to facts about LA while separate pages divide these sections with each page containing a piece of history of LA from it's founding to present day. The main character - Los Angeles, the city itself - has separate sections about it's highways, it's movie industry, it's ethnic sections like Chinatown etc, it's weather and geography, it's inhabitants.

The beach bum, Old Man Joe, showed the life of a homeless person and yet was by far the most attractive (sort of). Joe is a great character, a man who lives in a toilet, drinking Chablis during the day, and sits on the beach at dawn awaiting a vision. He meets a young girl addicted to meth and beaten nearly to death and takes it upon himself to help her. Esperanza, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, provides the warm centre of the book. The beaten down underdog who succeeds in the end, her story was the sweetest and the one you cheered for once you reached the end. The young runaways, Dylan and Maddie, were the ones I thought were supposed to show the opposite to the many horrorific stories Frey throws out about people who come to LA, and it very nearly was until the ending. Frey really doesn't believe in happily ever after and keeps you guessing until the last page. The gay movie star, Amberton Parker (Parker = Cruise?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. O'kane on 4 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
From what I've read elsewhere James Frey has already cut an infamous figure in literary circles with his debut book 'A Million Little Pieces'. Purported - at first - to be a personal memoir of his past, it was later exposed by the media as pure fiction instead. Cue huge public outrage and a public dressing down & humiliation on the Oprah Winfrey show. To be honest, I'd not heard a single word about all of this before I began this novel and I'm glad I didn't: 'Bright Shiny Morning' is absolutely brilliant regardless of any reputation Frey has.

This novel isn't easy to describe. There are 4 main plots and these are mixed in with either brief snapshots of other minor denizens of LA or various bits of trivia about the city today (for example a list of the innumerate murderous gangs that roam its streets). Every break in the book is punctuated with events in the history of the city in the form of a single paragraph on a single page. Like the city itself, the novel is a sprawling mix of these strands but it never complicates itself by twisting them all together. The brief snippets of history and one off stories here & there allow the 4 main plots to breathe independently.

I thoroughly enjoyed this innovative book from cover to cover. Aside from the book's wonderful structure, the 4 main stories reflect the best known aspects of LA (& America today) very well: the rich & famous, the down & out, the migrant worker and kids in search of the American Dream. I often did wonder amidst the bulk of the novel if some of the shorter ones would be expanded later on or somehow clash with the bigger stories but, on reflection now, I'm glad they didn't.
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