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Bright Shiny Morning [Hardcover]

James Frey
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Aug 2008

Welcome to LA. City of contradictions.

It is home to movie stars and down-and-outs. Palm-lined beaches and gridlock. Shopping sprees and gun sprees.

Bright Shiny Morning takes a wild ride through the ultimate metropolis, where glittering excess rubs shoulders with seedy depravity. 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.

Some suffer, like the otherworldly wino who tries to save a spoilt teenage runaway. Others gain, like the canny talent agent who turns sexual harassment to blackmailing advantage. Some are loaded, or grounded, and have luck on their side. Others, like the countless actresses-turned-hookers, or schoolboys-turned-gangsters, are doomed.


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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: 16.1 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so troubling 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright shiny glitzy brash trashy morning 13 Feb 2009
By Tealady2000 VINE VOICE
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece 15 May 2011
Format:Paperback
Please be warned,do not start this book unless you have time to lose yourself in this fast paced ,unforgettable experience of a read.This book delves into the lives of people like me and you,and the richest and the poorest people of L.A.It dips into the history of the beginnings of this city through to the present day whilst keeping you completely hooked on its humanity.You will feel better for the experience,but it will leave you searching out Freys other works immediately.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great achievement 7 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
I feared this may be a trashy novel in the Collins genre.....it is not. It is an intelligent piece of work, depicting a wide ranging cast of characters in an earthy and realistic portrayal of life in Los Angeles. Each chapter starts with a piece of information regarding the development of the area and, as we move into the story, learn quite a bit more about this metropolis and how it became what it is today.

I do have a criticism - Mr Frey is rather fond of lists. Lists of gun purchasers, lists of gangs, lists of freeways. I know these lists are used to make a point but it is a tactic used too often, hence loses impact with every new list.

I quite forgot I was reading a work of fiction - it is very believable and fully deserving of a five star rating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demons in the City of Angels 2 Feb 2010
By Noel TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars los angeles collage
Four separate stories mashed together, and surrounded by facts and figures about Los Angeles. Entertaining, fast-moving and realistic. He's a good writer.
Published 2 months ago by MR ROBERT P DELLAR
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for everybody who wants to have an introduction to LA
This book was mentioned in another book "Amerika" (in my mother tongue Flemish (dutch)) by Björn Soenens. The US has fascinated me for a long time. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Flanders Finest
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't even get beyond the first line
I know that spelling and grammar has slipped to the forces of the 'text speak' generation. I also understand that great writers can't always spell. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jacqui Russell
1.0 out of 5 stars Misses the mark
Am a big James Frey fan and but this book just doesn't crack it. I skipped a whole chapter which did nothing but describe the assortment of highways in LA - what the %^@~?? Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rod H
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Story
Multiple,interesting and very gritty stories making a great read
Brilliant and Amazing author with this book and his others
Great!!
Published 12 months ago by kadee white
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright Shining Morning by James Frey
I so enjoyed this rollicking good book. Its style of writing and content is compulsive reading and, for me, an insight to the evolution of Los Angeles. Read more
Published 20 months ago by pamela
3.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I read "A Million Little Pieces" and "My Friend Leonard" and absolutely loved them. They were the best books I had read in a long time - absolutely captivating so I was hoping... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, brilliant price!
This book arrived in record time and was in great condition. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have now passed it on to be enjoyed by others! Great Purchase!
Published on 26 Feb 2012 by staceyh
3.0 out of 5 stars Cynical
Call me cynical but Frey is cynical and this seemed to me as a fairly cynical attempt to write the big american novel with multi-charcaters, multi-plots against the backdrop of a... Read more
Published on 24 Jan 2012 by Dillinger
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
Really enjoying the book. If u like James Frey you will love this, thought provoking, deep and witty at times!
Published on 4 Jan 2012 by ripley
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