Starlings Paperback – 1 Jul 2011
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Starlings is a daisy-chain novel set in Brighton. Each chapter tells the story of one of its varied inhabitants. Disparate lives collide in surprising ways, showing that destinies are often shaped by those we live beside. In a coastal tower block we meet Andy, a conflicted paedophile battling his urges. Next door is May, a desperately lonely old lady. Their lives are connected by the past and the future. In between are the stories of those they have touched - briefly or profoundly - Andy's violent father, his mother and her transgender lover, May's absent husband, the parents of abducted children, the drug dealer down the hall. Like the starlings swarming the skies above, these characters dance around each other until the final shattering climax when the destinies of Andy and May are revealed.
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Each chapter of this book is like a short story and covers live events of certain people. Although each of them is happening in Brighton, they are not all happening at the same time. The timeline is quite wide and some chapters go as far as 40s and then back to the present. There is a lot of characters and their stories are all connected. I struggled to remember all the names sometimes but chapters were written so well, that even if I’m not really good with names, I still worked out what was going on. I adore books where people’s lives are entwined and their stories all connect at the end. Their lives are full of ordinary problems but also unusual events. Some you would never wish to have happen to you but we unfortunately sometimes bad things happen to good people, so this book felt very real.
I found it really enjoyable, full of amazingly written stories and so easy to connect to characters. Descriptions of places were fantastic and as I live here, I found it effortless to imagine the setting. That would have to be my favourite part of this reading experience. No difficulties to picture the scenery, pebbled beach, West Pier, just so many landmarks I get to see daily. It really felt special reading this book.
Whether you are from Brighton or not, if you enjoy fast pacing, thought provocative books, full of life stories and experiences, you should give this book a try. I will recommend it to others from now on because I believe this book deserves to be read and appreciated.
These vivid and poignant stories throw light on a myriad of human emotion and experience in one British seaside town - illuminating. I really, really liked it.
At first I thought I was reading a collection of short stories set in Brighton, but gradually I came to realise that the characters overlapped and had parts to play in each others dramas. Not so much interlinking, but creating shock waves in each other's lives.
At times an uncomfortable read, but shows Brighton a it really is.