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Burning Bright [Kindle Edition]

Helen Dunmore
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Burning Bright is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's second novel.

When Nadine runs away to London, innocence and corruption collide . . .

Nadine, a sixteen-year-old runaway new to London, is set up in a decaying Georgian house by her Finnish lover, Kai. Slowly, she begins t suspect that Kai's plans for her have little to do with love. 'Be Careful,' warns Enid, the elderly sitting tenant in the house, who knows all about survival and secrets. And when Nadine discovers Kai's true intentions, Enid's warning takes on a terrible and prophetic quality.

'A story of terrible innocence' Independent on Sunday

'The denouement is mesmerizing. One goes on addressing the problems of evil which Dunmore raises, long after one has finished her electrifying book' Sunday Times

'Outstanding. The plot unfolds with both tension and inevitability as Dunmore plays off past against present, rubs together contemporary themes of urban corruption with far-off memories of taboo passion' Sunday Telegraph

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness , which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead ; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

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Product Description


A story of terrible innocence...with openings of unexpected love and grace worthy of Graham Greene (The Independent on Sunday)

Burning Bright is a beautifully constructed and thought-provoking novel, with a freshness that makes it outstanding (Sunday Telegraph)

Helen Dunmore beautifully fulfils the highest function of a storyteller - to make you wonder what will happen goes on addressing the problems of evil which Dunmore raises, long after one has finished her electrifying book (Sunday Times)

From the Back Cover

`Dunmore's darkest rainbow' Independent

`A story of terrible innocence' Independent on Sunday

`A seductive narrative illuminated with instants of visionary clarity' Guardian

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 667 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (27 Mar. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI92HK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129,628 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Dunmore's brightest flame 26 Jun. 2012
When her parents move to Germany with their other daughter (who has cerebral palsy & needs their care), 16 year old Nadine moves to London with her older boyfriend Kai. Also living in the house are Kai's business partner Tony, and sitting tenant Enid, way up in the attic. While Nadine buries her head in the sand with regard to Kai and Tony's line of work, she spends time with Enid and her pre-war stories of life in Manchester with the beautiful Sukey and jealous Caro (who was jailed for Sukey's murder). But it seems only a matter of time before the fragile structure of their lives falls apart...

Nadine is a wilfully naive character and difficult to relate to despite being easy to read. How many 16 year olds are happy to sit and cross stitch the day away while their boyfriend works in a job they know nothing about, and accept such scant attention from them when they are home? Kai is portrayed as charmless from the start, so it is difficult to see where the attraction lies, except in the convenience of having a place to stay once her parents have left (but this is never suggested to be her reason for being there). She is one of those passive characters who things just seem to happen to without any suggestion of action or reaction on her part.

In the absence of her parents, the presence of Enid fills a convenient gap for Nadine; and Enid's stories of her unconventional life and love affair in pre-war Manchester are interesting, despite seeming like something of a diversionary tactic in an otherwise slow-moving story. She has the job of explaining to Nadine the implications of her affair with Kai, after a fairly obvious outing/meeting with Tony and a client (which one would think would have already made things fairly clear to her).
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deeply riveting... 11 Oct. 2008
By LittleReader VINE VOICE
The first of HD's novels I've read, I found it utterly absorbing and extremely well written. The prose is hypnotic and there's a definate air of sinister tension throughout the first half of the book as you slowly uncurl two different threads of a tale. The story of Nadine and her elder lover, Kai, his business associate Tony and what they have planned for Nadine is one thread. Enid, a sitting tenant in their home, is the key to the second thread - who are Sukey and Caro and what happened to them? And what is the connection between Enid and an eminent politician?
The book is melodious in it's narrative and it's characterisation is clever. I do, however, have one criticism; Nadine is 16, yet has the emotoional dexterity of a woman much older. I didn't feel that her thought processes were akin to that of a teenager, albeit an intelligent one, and this spoiled the flow for me somewhat. Though it is clear that Nadine has had an interesting upbringing, I did feel that this still did not allow for such astute and creative observations.
This aside, I am sure you will appreciate this novel for what it is. I know I'll be searching out more of HD's work...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual story, very well written 6 Aug. 2010
Helen Dunmore is such a good writer that I end up reading books on subject matters I wouldn't normally choose just because I know she is such a superb writer I will enjoy her books. This is an unusual story about unusual characters; quite suspenseful at times, very touching at others. Well worth a read.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A darkly beautiful modern fairytale 27 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
'Burning Bright' is one of the most riveting, imaginative novels I have ever read. The characters are skilfully crafted and highly believable, and the plot unwraps itself in a natural, subtle way. The language used is hypnotic, the words locking together on the page and creating new ideas from ordinary events. I have yet to come across another writer whose prose is so captivating and fluid, who can touch the reader without gushing sentimentally. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Who is looking out for sixteen year-old Nadine in a world where youth is the only currency with which certain people wish to deal? Not Finnish Kai and his partner Tony who are small time on their way, they believe, to be big time. They have a friend in high places, a politician, who, for certain favours, will smooth their paths. Or so they think.

And what about Enid an old lady with a fund of stories about the Manchester Ladies' Club and an old murder case that has resonance in a different way for the politician. Enid is a sitting tenant, but how long before the big boys lose their patience with her, and with Nadine?

This hypnotically readable novel is a humdinger of a book, ticking all the boxes: brilliantly characterised, really well-crafted as a story - this is scary, seductive, and gloriously fulfilling. Dunmore has seldom written to better effect, this might not have won any prizes, but it's a real winner in my estimation.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldnt' put down 30 Mar. 2008
i've read and re read this book, thats how good it is !!
spell binding. read it and you'll know what i mean!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More please... 4 Aug. 2010
Great Dunmore book- left me wanting to read her others. Love the twists in the story- even if some were somewhat predictable...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Masterful ...... but ...... .....but..... 6 Dec. 2010
One thing I am clear about. Helen Dunmore writes beautifully. Her ability to observe and describe is a joy. She is able to evoke atmosphere - tension - anticipation - fear - with consumate ease. Many passages from this book are a delight to read, for their own sakes.

But my problem is that I don't think I am clever enough to really understand where her storylines are going (or where they have been and why) and what the links are between the threads she is developing. In 'Burning Bright', two main threads, linked by one character (Enid), are advanced. But where is the connection? Somebody tell me. And many of the passages, brilliantly written admittedly, appear to be incidental to the story. Some of the characters are ill developed yet are key to the story. We learn little, for instance, about the motivations and inner thought of Kai, yet he is central to the developing relationship between Nadine and Enid and disappears towards the book's end.

The most difficult problem for me was squaring the fact that the central character Nadine is just 16 years old, yet many of her thoughts and actions are those of a much more mature and experienced woman. This constantly jarred.

I really want to read more Helen Dunmore. But shall I?
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