Lisa Harding is a celebrated actress, playwright and critically acclaimed author. Harvesting, her debut novel, was short listed for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and Newcomer of the Year at The Irish Book Awards. It received the Kate O’Brien Award in 2018 and has been taken on by director Michael Lennox and producer Brian J Falconer to transform into film.

While readers are still reeling from Harvesting, Lisa Harding has provided another emotional
upheaval in her second release Bright Burning Things. Similar to her first book she puts forward the harder realities of life in a way that you can feel in your chest. It’s a rare experience to understand the struggle of addiction through an addicts eyes in an honest and raw way. Sonya is a woman in firework form. With sudden bursts of life, she can feel sparkly and untouchable one minute and completely dark and worn out the next. She is a woman who defines herself as someone who feels too much and too often. For her, a bottle is the easiest way to escape what she considers to be a painful existence.

As she struggles with her grip on reality, she takes her son Tommy and their dog Herbie along an unpredictable path. Lisa Harding does an amazing job at keeping you invested in each of their fates. While your own anxiety is heightened you become entangled in Sonyas hesitation to trust the kindness of those around her.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What is best? And for who? These are the questions that keep you turning the pages. You will get lost looking for hope in the truth of struggle. Rooting for a mother the way you would your own, with understanding and empathy, while feeling protective of the innocence in her care.

This is not an easy read for someone who has experienced similar circumstances as Harding has captured the thoughts and emotions that reflect alcoholism in its naked truth. You live the havoc that Sonya creates while witnessing how often she is not in control or even aware of her own actions.

Bright Burning Things is a story that will grip you by your nerves and hold you until the last page. Excellently executed and disturbingly tangible, you will benefit from a fresh perspective of an unfortunately relatable life.

Bright Burning Things is available now, published by Bloomsbury