A rising international literary star makes her American debut with this visceral, tender, and brave portrait of addiction, recovery, and motherhood, as harrowing and intense as Shuggie Bain.
Sonya used to perform on stage. She used to attend glamorous...Read More
Sonya used to perform on stage. She used to attend glamorous parties, date handsome men, ride in fast cars. But somewhere along the way, the stage lights Sonya lived for dimmed for good. In their absence, came darkness--blackouts, empty cupboards, hazy nights she can't remember.
What keeps Sonya from losing herself completely is Tommy, her son. But her immense love for Tommy is in fierce conflict with her immense love of the bottle. Addiction amplifies her fear of losing her child; every maternal misstep compels her to drink. Tommy's precious life is in her shaky hands.
Eventually Sonya is forced to make a choice. Give up drinking or lose Tommy--forever.
Bright Burning Things is an emotional tour-de-force--a devastating, nuanced, and ultimately hopeful look at an addict's journey towards rehabilitation and redemption.
Lisa Harding is a writer, actress, playwright. She received an MPhil in creative writing from Trinity College Dublin in 2014. Her short stories have been published in the Dublin Review, the Bath Short Story Anthology, HeadStuff, and Winter Papers. Her first novel, Harvesting, won the 2018 Kate O'Brien Award and was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award. She lives in Dublin.
"In Irish writer Harding's blistering U.S. debut, a former London stage actress finds her life in Dublin derailed by disappointment and alcoholism....Harding brilliantly captures both the hilarity and wisdom of Sonya's 12-step program, with her time in rehab poignantly complicated by Sonya's separation from Tommy and her fear she might not be reunited with him....This unflinching portrait of a troubled, tender soul takes readers to the depths of the human heart." - Publishers Weekly
"[A] wild ride, culminating in a final scene that combines hope, fear and beauty." -The Guardian
"Rich with layered character dynamics and unexpected turns, Bright Burning Things is riveting." - Shelf Awareness
"[A] moving story of a mother battling addiction ... Bright Burning Things joins Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Shuggie Bain as a portrait of female wreckage." - The Times (UK)
"[A] propulsive heart-wrencher...an alarming yet tender portrayal of the slow-burn impact of long-repressed grief." - Daily Mail (UK)
"Lisa Harding is a vivid and original stylist and a gifted storyteller. This is a fabulous novel." - Kevin Barry, author of Night Boat to Tangier
"On every page, there are little shimmering bombs." - Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women
"Absolutely dazzling. While the subject matter is dear to my heart, I'd have loved it even if I knew nothing about addiction. It's instantly engrossing. Sonya's emotional interiority is fascinating and compelling." - Marian Keyes
"Quietly devastating . . . Reminded me repeatedly of Shuggie Bain." - The Observer (London)
"Bright Burning Things is moving--humane and emotionally scrubbed raw....Both books [ Shuggie Bain and Bright Burning Things] deal with addiction and the trauma that befalls the loved ones of addicts... Bright Burning Things, by contrast, offers both Sonya and the readers strands of hope." - Boston Globe