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Burning Bright: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier

Burning Bright: A Novel (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Tracy Chevalier

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1,764743,994 (3.22)136
Title:Burning Bright: A Novel
Authors:Tracy Chevalier
Info:Plume (2008), Edition: 1st Thus., Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Historical Fiction

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Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier (2007)

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English (68)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Tight stories set in the rural poverty of Appalachia, capturing the voices, the despair, the apathy and the weak struggles to overcome. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
I knjiga te muci, izludjuje..al na kraju te nagradi necim lijepim... ( )
  ceca78 | Apr 10, 2016 |
This was not a page turner for me, but I did get to a point that I wanted to know what would happen to each of the characters as their relationships developed. Before reading this, I knew some of Blake's art and poetry. I liked that the book shared a more everyday view of his life, during the year in which the book is set. It is also a book about whose message I have been thinking. So it has made me travel beyond just its reading. I found that the messages that Blake did share with the children, ultimately wonderful lessons and advice for how they could understand themselves and their relationships. ( )
  Lylee | Feb 24, 2016 |
Very disappointing, i felt like it was a chore to finish the book. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
After the death of their son Tommy, the Kellaways need a change of pace so they pack up all their things and move away from their tiny English countryside town of Piddletrenthide to the hustling, bustling streets of 18th century London. The family moves into an apartment next door to the artist and poet William Blake and struggle to find customers for their wares: chairs made by father and son, buttons made by mother and daughter. The son Jem soon befriends a fiery London girl named Maggie, who takes him and his sister Maisie around town and helps them adjust to city life. As the French Revolution shakes France to pieces, its shockwaves can be felt across the Channel, upending the lives of the Kellaways and their new neighbors.

I’ve read several of Chevalier’s other books, and enjoyed most of them, but Burning Bright really flamed out. Like many of her other works, it focuses on a particular artist and attempts to bring his world to life. Here, it’s meant to be the poet and printmaker William Blake. Unfortunately, the artist makes few appearances, and when he does show up it is only to recite his poetry and ask vague philosophical questions that often go right over the heads of Jem, Maisie and Maggie. I can’t say that I knew Blake any more than I had before I read the book except that his marriage to his wife appears to have been a true partnership, for she assists him with his printmaking and tolerates his eccentricities with great patience.

But if Burning Bright fails to bring Mr. Blake to life, it successfully conjures up the sights and sounds of Georgian London as the Kellaways explore the city from one end to the other, contrasting the crowded streets and noisy crowds with their quiet, idyllic life back in Piddletrenthide. There’s a certain focus on the ugliness of London – the poxy whores, the grubby taverns, and the crummy factory work Maggie’s father forces her to take on – but the liveliness and wonder with which the Kellaways confront their new world makes it all seem devastatingly real.

However, the dazzling descriptions of London life can’t make up for the fact that there just isn’t much of a story. People come and go but no strong narrative binds everyone together. At the end, the Kellaways leave and head back to the country, and there’s an impression that their sojourn in the city had little impact on their lives, leading the reader to question why the author bothered to tell their story in the first place. ( )
1 vote makaiju | Jun 23, 2014 |
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There was something humiliating about waiting in a cart on a busy London street with all your possessions stacked around you, on show to the curious public.
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Book description
London i 1792. En familie flytter fra det landlige Dorset til London, hvor faderen får arbejde som møbelsnedker. Deres nabo er den berømte digter, maler og mystiker William Blake, og bekendtskabet med ham får afgørende indflydelse på den yngste søn og hans veninde
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 052594978X, Hardcover)

The wonderful new novel from the much loved author of 'Girl With a Pearl Earring' and 'Falling Angels'. Flames and funerals, circus feats and seduction, neighbours and nakedness: Tracy Chevalier's new novel 'Burning Bright' sparkles with drama. London 1792. The Kellaways move from familiar rural Dorset to the tumult of a cramped, unforgiving city. They are leaving behind a terrible loss, a blow that only a completely new life may soften. Against the backdrop of a city jittery over the increasingly bloody French Revolution, a surprising bond forms between Jem, the youngest Kellaway boy, and streetwise Londoner Maggie Butterfield. Their friendship takes a dramatic turn when they become entangled in the life of their neighbour, the printer, poet and radical, William Blake. He is a guiding spirit as Jem and Maggie navigate the unpredictable, exhilarating passage from innocence to experience. Their journey inspires one of Blake's most entrancing works. Georgian London is recreated as vividly in Burning Bright as 17th-century Delft was in Tracy Chevalier's bestselling masterpiece, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:33 -0400)

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Presents a sweeping and romantic tale set against the historical backdrop of William Blake's London.

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