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Burning Bright [Read] ➵ Burning Bright Author Tracy Chevalier – Buyprobolan50.co.uk Alternative cover edition for ISBN13 9780007178360Flames and funerals circus feats and seduction neighbours and nakedness Tracy Chevalier's new novel Burning Bright sparkles with dramaLondon 1792 The Alternative cover edition for ISBN Flames and funerals circus feats and seduction neighbours and nakedness Tracy Chevalier's new novel Burning Bright sparkles with dramaLondon 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 softenAgainst 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 worksGeorgian London is recreated as vividly in Burning Bright as th century Delft was in Tracy Chevalier's bestselling masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring.

10 thoughts on “Burning Bright

  1. Shan O Shan O says:

    I have long enjoyed Tracy Chevalier's historical novels particularly Girl With a Pearl Earring which imagines the daily home life and creative process of 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer as viewed from the vantage point of a teenage Protestant maid This recent bookBurning Bright is set in 18th century Lambeth a suburb of London and imagines the public life and creative mind of painter and poet William Blake seen through the eyes of two adolescents While both books are entertaining and show good evidence of the author's grasp of the context in which each of these artists found himself the former novel stands out above Burning Bright in terms of its character development and the richness of the setting While Chevalier's symbolism tends to be heavy handed in both books she does have a gift for evoking the sense of place and time in which her novels are located and she offers fairly well rounded though not dynamic characters whose relationships are complicated and unpredictable She has a knack for revealing something about the now famous artists in her novels by surrounding them with rich characters and interesting locations Vermeer's growing family includes a roiling gaggle of children a spoiled and demanding wife and a business woman for a mother in law; these people not to mention Vermeer's men friends help the reader to gain a sense of Vermeer by looking at those with whom he surrounds himself in his most private moments We see Blake by coming to know his rather taciturn wife Catherine; the two young people who follow him even to his mother's funeral across town; the neighbors who are suspicious of him for being so insular and odd; and Lambeth's pro monarchy association whose members try to bully Blake into supporting their cause; these characters help the author depict the political and social side of Blake's life giving us less insight into his private world In any case Chevalier's Vermeer and Blake both benefit from the swirl of life going on all around themWhat makes Burning Bright less compelling a read than the novel about Vermeer is the distance she keeps from Blake In her earlier novel she brings her heroine Griet the Protestant maid directly into the Vermeer household where we can see him in action as an artist and as a husband and father; we do not get this view of Blake Instead Blake is spied on by an Jem and Maggie who imagine him to be strange and curious and who come to know him during the course of the novel as strange creative and caring While Chevalier attempts to narrate Blake's creative process the reader never gets enough continuity from the various scenes that show him in one moment having conversations with his dead brother Robert and in another moment etching a copper plate for eventual use in the printing press While we get a sense of what makes Vermeer tick we never gain that knowledge about Blake This could be less Chevalier's failing than it is the reality that Blake was truly enigmatic and odd set apart in his ways from the mainstream of British art and writing even as he wrote and drew etched and painted his way into history and anthologies and museums If I am to be bluntly honest I must admit that it is perhaps my own knowledge of Blake than it is Chevalier's writing that makes me view the novel as weak Having written than enough of my own about Blake and his work I probably know too much to enjoy Chevalier's development of Blake's character and creative process In my mind he is not uite the same man that she depicts on the novel's pages I suppose I'll have to write my own novel in order to understand the Blake I think I know

  2. Gary Gary says:

    A gritty exciting sometimes sad and often heartwarming take about three teenage children in late 18th century London Jem Kellaway and his sister Maisie are new to London having come with their parents from the Piddle Valley in Dorset shire and are befriended by street wise spunky and warmhearted London girl Maggie ButterworthThis is at the time of the French Revolution and there is alarm suspicion and tension in England as a result Maggie and Jem become fast reins and become acuainted with there neighbor poet and social reformer William Blake and his wife While the Kellaways must live under their Mena spirited and cruel landlady Miss PelhamThe John Anstey circus is established near bye and soon Anstey's cold blooded Casanova sun ruins lives as Maggie must struggle with her unloving parents and her evil older brother Charlie The neighborhood will soon be terrorized by theThe Association for Preserving Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers Our young friends Jem Maggie and Maisie will be faced with a myriad and threats and problems They will be guided helped by the kindly Blakes who are under threat from the Association A tale of the tribulations and suffering faced by the English working class which exists to this day A engaging adventure sometimes sad and freuently heartwarming

  3. Sammy Sammy says:

    UGH I'm thinking I may have rated this book to high but then again it wasn't that bad This ratinggrade is pretty much reflective of it's mediocrity It wasn't good it wasn't bad Beautiful language fun descriptions interesting situations No plot random and half developed characters Those were the main pros and cons for this book that are popping up right nowThis book wasn't long but for some reason it felt like it took forever to get through and I think that was the main reason I didn't like the book as much I believe the reason behind this book feeling like such a long read was that there was no clear thing carrying the novel along not character not story It was disconnected and didn't flow so I was constantly wondering where it was going what was happening? That could have possibly been remedied had I been attatched the characters but I wasn't I didn't like any of them they weren't interesting nor were they sympatheticBut like I said the book is mediocre If you're still determined to read the book feel free it's average and nothing special at least for me maybe it will be different for you

  4. Chip Chip says:

    It can't be easy to be Tracy Chevalier everyone expects a home run when her next book comes up and ten billion critics all judge whether or not her effort succeeded Few of her critics are willing to research the setting the subject or the historical context before espousing their opinions Not so for Ms Chevalier the time and care she took in her research shows throughout this book and is invisible to most of the readers What I really want to say is 'what a bunch of whiners' Here is a great book well written interesting subject great characters excellent context and you want to complain that it failed to meet the amorphous anticipations even you can't articulate? PuleeseWith this book I have completed the Chevalier canon and I can assure everyone that she is a gifted writer a conscientious researcher an imaginative storyteller and has a wonderful sense of compassion Any of her books will have you thinking about their characters for a long time after you put the book away Considering her body of work as a whole there is an interesting consistency of characters from book to book you could almost lift them from one timeline and place them in another change the name and have the same person There is a graduate student thesis here in connecting the characters from work to work and what that would indicate about the creative processWhile the inclusion of Wm Blake as the historical figure anchors Burning Bright the main plot line of the book is the growing relationship between Jem and Maggie By the time the book ended I wanted to know how their story ended and while we have an idea where they're headed we don't really know a tribute to their unpredictable natures perhaps It is true that Blake figures less directly in this book which only reflects what we know or accurately don't know about the man We can only know him at a distance What we can do and what Chevalier did was to illuminate the moment in which he lived and worked Standing in Blake's shoes his poetry suddenly reads differently and I am enriched in my understanding Who could ask for ? Thank you Ms Chevalier Well done

  5. Joyce McCombs Joyce McCombs says:

    As with Chevalier's Girl with Pearl Earringthis book is a YOU ARE THERE experience I couldn't put it down and devoured it in a few hours one recent afternoon Set in 18th century London with William Blake as a main character the story revolves around the children who live next door to him and how they experience growing up in a turbulent political time as well as understanding their roles in society and as young adolescents Chevalier makes it seem perfectly possible that William Blake and his wife would of COURSE come to the aid of one of the children in the story and the readers believes it utterly also The rich prose transports one to the market the circus the pea soup fog of London the Thames River before good sewer systems and the every day hardscrabble existence of those living on the fringes of society no middle class here though one seems to be emerging throughout the story Although this is the story of an ordinary family there's nothing less than extraordinary about this writing another Chevalier triumph in this reader's opinion

  6. Malcolm Malcolm says:

    London at the time of the French revolution takes center stage in this beautifully written novel featuring location and themes over plot When craftsman Thomas Kellaway moves his wife Anne and teen aged children Jem and Masie from the Piddle Valley in Dorset to London in March of 1792 they are all but overwhelmed by the contrasting grandeur and ugliness of the big city Thomas hopes he can better support the family making chairs for the circus and Anne hopes distance will heal her tortured mind after the accidental death of their son TommyTracy Chevalier has drawn a deep and richly detailed portrait of London especially the Borough of Lambeth where the noisy dirty and boisterous lifestyle of the poor that differs so greatly from the uieter world of Dorset is accentuated when the circus comes to townContrasts flow through the Kellaway's lives as surely as the Thames flows through London and here the author draws upon William Blake's focus on contraries or pairs of opposites for the novel's theme London in Burning Bright becomes an alchemist's athanor wherein the Kellaways will undergo their transformations beneath the piercing gaze of Blake the adept who applies his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience within the novel as Holy ScriptureBlake serves as a catalyst within the story line yet he is a one dimensional character who primarily speaks in philosophic riddles and uotes from his favorite poems While Jem Masie and their new streetwise friend Maggie view the home of William and Kate Blake as calm sanctuary within a world where the trials of childhood are greatly magnified by the dangerous environment the reader will come away having learned about the Borough of Lambeth and than the famous poet and print makerLike her adult characters in Burning Bright Chevalier appears unwilling to step past Blake's fame notoriety and fiery persona and confront the poet head on Doing so would have brought closure to the novel for readers and characters alike We have a well crafted slice of life portrait of a rural family's brief sojourn into the big city What we don't have is an overt look at what it finally meant to them

  7. Sara Sara says:

    I have truly liked other books by Chevalier so I found this one a bit disappointing I never got involved in the characters or felt like I knew them or cared what happened to them It was far too much of an outside looking in story for me It seemed false to weave Blake into this novel as if she couldn't proceed without a historic figure and she had picked him out of a hat

  8. Allie Riley Allie Riley says:

    Disappointing I felt that she should have picked either Philip Astley or William Blake as her focus attempting them both diluted the impact somewhat She could for example have really dealt with the Dissenters issue in depth had she just written about William Blake I think there would have been dramatic tension that way and a far entertaining novel As it was despite the flowing prose I found this an effort to read Nowhere near as good as Girl with a Pearl Earring in my opinion More's the pity

  9. Jane Jane says:

    This is the third Chavalier book I have read the other two being The Virgin Blue and Girl with a Pearl Earring As with the other two I found this an enjoyable and easy read As well as having a story line Chavalier does a heck of a lot of research on the period and actual historic facts Burning Bright is set in London in the late 1700's and follows a family's move there from the county of Dorset from country to city is a dramatic change for all the family members and Chavalier manages to capture their experiences by describing the sights and smells of 18th century London A thoroughly good read which made me want to next read a non fiction book on William Blake who is one of the characters in Burning Bright

  10. Gumble& Gumble& says:

    Like most of Chevalier's books based around the back story to a work of art in this case William Blake books Songs Of Innocence And Of Experience And Other Works including Tiger Tiger Harmless enough story and simple enough to read but very simplistic at times the references to Blake's poems and clumsy and almost all the characters either thinly sketched or unconvincing with their characters and motivations often clumsily set out in the text rather than described for the reader to judge Even the opening of the book is full with repeated references to how big London seems compared to Dorset and the book closes with lots of comments from Maggie on how uiet the country is compared to London

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