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The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner

2010 has seen me become a huge admirer of Alan Warner, after reading his excellent Sopranos I recently finished  The Stars in the Bright Sky. Sopranos was a difficult act to follow, but he has managed in my opinion to go one better than the earlier book, developing the characters and raising the bar even higher with the humour. The panel of the 2010 Man Booker Prize obviously thought so too, as it made it onto this year’s longlist.

So long as you are not too easily outraged, this is one very funny novel, and I am most definitely looking forward to Alan Warner’s next.

Read on for a full review….

-- The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner a Review by Des Greene --

The choir girls of the Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School for Girls make their return in this sequel to Alan Warner’s – The Sopranos – having grown up a little and gone their separate ways into work, motherhood and university; this is a first opportunity for a get together and a bit of a girlie holiday.

The girls meet up at an airport hotel near Gatwick, along with Finn’s university friend Ava, and set about trying to decide which cheap last minute holiday deal will best suit their needs. What follows is a saga of delays, lost passports, drunkenness and general misbehaviour that those familiar with the Sopranos will recognise only too well.

What sets this book apart though, is the way in which Alan Warner has developed the characters so cleverly. Some have not really moved on much at all and are still set in small town ways, whilst others have expanded their horizons and tastes considerably. It is these juxtapositions and the associated friction which really makes the story work. The writing also retains the lovely Scottish twang and turn of phrase from the earlier book, which makes the girls’ voices come to life in your head.

Much of the humour is on the bawdy side, and may not please readers of a more sensitive nature; I managed to shelve my sensitivity for long enough to find it side splittingly funny. I would go so far as to say this is by some way the funniest book I read in 2010.

Well since I’m not about to give away any more of the plot here, if you want to find out how the lovely girls fared in their adventure, you will have to do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy. The Stars in the Bright Sky certainly gets the highest of recommendations from me.

Already read The Stars in the Bright Sky? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

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