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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deeply riveting...
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...
Published on 11 Oct 2008 by LittleReader

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Dunmore's brightest flame
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...
Published on 26 Jun 2012 by neverendings


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deeply riveting..., 11 Oct 2008
By 
LittleReader (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Dunmore's brightest flame, 26 Jun 2012
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
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). The ending, too, is far too cosy for my taste, given all that has preceded it. The most interesting element for me was a tale from Kai's childhood, told early on, in which he sought out a spirit from a Finnish folktale, only to be left crying and freezing on the ice - the implication being that his soul was stolen at this early age, accounting for his coldness in later life. An intriguing idea, but not really a strong foundation for the psychology of such a cold man...

Dunmore draws the surroundings of her characters well, from the opulence of Enid's ladies' club in Manchester to the neglected house they share; but the characters themselves are never really fleshed out or recognisable (with the exception of Enid who is really the only splash of colour). Although crisply written and interesting in parts, Burning Bright simply fell short for me, having neither the glittering crispness of 'A Spell of Winter', nor the taut and highly-charged atmosphere of 'Talking to the Dead'.
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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
By 
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
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 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A darkly beautiful modern fairytale, 27 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
'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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More please..., 4 Aug 2010
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldnt' put down, 30 Mar 2008
By 
Mrs. Catherine Craven (lancashire, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...lions too jaded by regular meals of dead flesh..., 15 April 2011
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars engrossing read., 17 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Burning Bright (Kindle Edition)
I couldn't put it down, was sucked in to the excitement and fear and hope of Nadine and Enid.wonderful writing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK read, 19 Aug 2010
By 
J. Burnell - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
I quite liked this book but felt there were a lot of loose ends left hanging. Some sections were quite boring and didn't seem to relate to the main story. I really loved 'The Seige' and was disappointed in this book.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Briiliant, 4 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Burning Bright (Paperback)
This is simply a brilliant and unique book by an extremely talented writer. On one level, it's a thriller, but on another, more important level, it's simply wonderful literature. Once begun, it is difficult to put down.
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Burning Bright
Burning Bright by Helen Dunmore
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