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The All-Night Sun

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  709 ratings  ·  191 reviews
A lonely young woman gets too close to her charismatic female student in this propulsive debut, culminating in a dangerously debauched Midsommar’s Eve.

“Memorable and meaningful.”—Claire Messud, New York Times bestselling author of The Burning Girl

Lauren Cress teaches writing at a small college outside of Washington, DC. In the classroom, she is poised, smart, and kind, wel
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by Random House
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Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Oh my...*wipes tears from eyes*

Imagine being an 18 year old young woman when tragically both of your parents, your only family, are killed in a car accident? You are now alone in the world trying to navigate a life for yourself with no one to help and no one to answer questions.

That happened to Lauren Cress who now teaches writing at a small college. She grapples with depression and loneliness since the loss of her parents when in walks Siri. She is a student from Sweden and she brings such li
Natalie Jenner
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was extremely lucky to receive an advance reader’s copy of this debut novel, because this is the book I have been waiting for since reading Charlotte Bronte’s VILLETTE thirty years ago. A mesmerizing, disturbing, and heart-wrenching read about loneliness and grief, THE ALL-NIGHT SUN follows a troubled young adjunct professor as she embarks on an intense friendship with a Swedish international student, both of them having been orphaned young, and ends up also entangled with the student’s distru ...more
Benjamin Ludwig
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The All-Night Sun is a testament to the power of storytelling. In much the same way that she pursues her emptiness across an ocean, the rawness of Lauren’s pain will have readers chasing her through the pages. The lies she tells herself—and others—about her past become the ghosts which simultaneously accuse and exonerate her. As she unravels and cuts through the tangles of her experience, we can’t help but cheer.
Julia Phillips
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Explores the space between dreams and nightmares, life and death, the brilliance of the midnight sun and the darkness when you shut your eyes. A tender, aching, and unforgettable story.
I listened to the audible production of “The All-Night Sun” by Diane Zinna, narrated by Brittany Pressley. I was disappointed. It is longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and has received good press. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

I felt the narrator, 28-year old Lauren, was an unreliable narrator. To me, she had some mental/emotional issues. She’s an instructor at a small school, teaching writing to international students. She becomes obsessed with a Swedish student, Si
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Diane Zinna's The All-Night Sun is one of the most haunting and beautifully written books I have ever read. And let me just put this out there: I will be buying this book because I need to have that cover in my book collection.

Lauren Cress teaches an international class at a small Catholic college outside Washington, DC. She is charismatic and well-liked by her students. But she is also deeply lonely and still grieving her parents' deaths from ten years before. Everything changes when Siri, a ch
Elyse  Walters
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My recommendation... go in blind...
have a little patience...
allow yourself to fall....
....fall into the storytelling...
No rush reading.... but it is addictive- becomes more addictive about half way....

This review is safe to read - for those considering reading it....

Audiobook narrated by Brittany Pressley
.....synced with the ebook.
Terrific debut by Diane Zinna....
an author to watch... to read again.

There was a sentence in this novel that rings sooooo true to me:
One about ‘t
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was fascinated by this debut novel. Yes, it's about grief and loneliness, but it's also an exploration of the limits of memory, and the stories we tell ourselves to get through the night. As the main character becomes involved in her friend's world and unhinged in their shared sorrows, she must revisit the formative episodes in her early life and revise her own story in order to heal. I loved the dreamlike and spiraling narrative structure and I'm still thinking about Lauren and Siri. ...more
Molly Madonia
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I read this book with my soul, instead of my eyes. The writing style of this book is dark, sure, but its also visceral and real and importantly heavy - like reading someone's train of emotions as they go through a series of emotionally-taxing events, both happy and sad. The best way I can describe the setting is "normal life, without emotional reservations or floodgates." I remember thinking that I was actually grieving with our narrator, as she walked us through several of the most ...more
Natasha Ngan
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel felt like breathing honeyed pain. Beautiful hurt on every page.
Susan Lockhart
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This one will stick with me.
When I first opened this book I meant to read a few pages of the first chapter just to whet my appetite for later. I had lots to do today and reading a novel could wait. But once I sat down for the first chapter I couldn’t stop.
Written in first person, the author drew me into the character’s life with her lyrical and insightful prose.
This isn't a book to rush through or to read a little at a time here and there, Instead it’s one that grows like a relationship. I wi
Bonnie Brody
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The All-Night Sun is a beautifully written novel of love, grief and the pain of intimacy.

Lauren, an adjunct professor of English for international students at Stella Maris College in Massachusetts makes most of her money via technical writing contracts. Even with these two jobs she makes barely enough to support herself. She loves teaching but with only a master's degree she doubts she can ever get a permanent tenured position at the college. She is very personable with the students, gives her a
The Nerd Daily
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Kaylie Seed

The All-Night Sun is an ode to grief from beginning to end that Zinna has written both brilliantly and breathtakingly. The author’s powerful prose paints picture after picture for the reader as they make their way through this phenomenal piece of literary fiction. It is clear to the reader the time has been taken to not only do the research about Sweden and Midsommar, but that Zinna has also effortlessly written a story that ebbs and
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Zina offers readers a beautiful written and haunting look at life overwhelmed by loneliness and grief.

My copy was a gift through Goodreads First Reads.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! Had me captivated where I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens. A great story of friendship, grief and how one woman finally learns how to be free from her past.
Aga Durka
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-2020
Written in a beautiful, descriptive, and almost poetic style, this book explores the world of love, loss, grief, and possible implications of one’s inability to properly cope with the loss of a loved one(s). This slow moving tale of an adjunct teacher, who builds an unconventional and quite disturbing relationship with one of her students, while trying to cope with the loss of her parents, left me emotional and conflicted at times. The main characters are imperfect and unlikable at times, and ye ...more
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review // The All-Night Sun by Diane Zinna
The Facts: Literary Fiction, Debut Novel
The Feel: Haunting, Compelling, Descriptive, Complex, Brilliant
The Focus: Lauren is grieving the sudden death of her parents, who were her only real family. Working as an adjunct professor in DC, she meets a student named Siri, who is also dealing with the death of her mother. Lauren clings to Siri for hope and support, eventually accompanying her home to Sweden for a debauched Midsommar
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
This sounds sexy and intense and I NEED it.

Martie Nees Record
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pub. Date: July 14, 2020


The book’s title comes from the Swedish holiday, Midsummer Eve, which takes place during Sweden’s summer solstice and is celebrated all day and all night under the light of Sweden’s midnight sun. The story revolves around a troubled 28-year-old female adjunct professor and her unlikely friendship with an 18-year-old female Swedish student who invites her teacher home for the summer. The story is actually abou
Daniel Confalone
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
The promotional materials pegged this as a story about female friendship and Midsommar but more than that it was a wonderful and moving story of grief. The narrator is erratic and at times unreliable as she lives with the grief of the drowning death of her parents and her friendship with a young Swedish student.
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 STARS!!!!

I won this as a Goodreads giveaway in return for my honest review.

This story was not at all what I expected. Throughout there was an underlying eeriness. Something that made me continue with caution.

Lauren Cress teaches english to international students at a small college in Washington D.C. She's not a professor, she's an adjunct. She's 28 years old with no family or friends. She has been isolated, lonely and depressed ever since the deaths of her parents 10 years before...until Siri
Amy Gottlieb
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This elegant debut novel is lyrical, haunting, and beautifully constructed. A wonderful read (and the cover is gorgeous)!
Meg Eden
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The All-Night Sun is an incredible fiction debut that gets stronger and stronger as it goes on. The protagonist Lauren is an adjunct professor who befriends a student, Siri, and takes a haphazard trip with her to Sweden. Lauren and Siri both connect on the ghosts of grief they carry, and start out as likable relatable characters, but as the book carries on, their ugly sides begin to show. Neither has healthily coped with loss, and they both have their selfish, controlling sides. They both make m ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love it, but the pacing was much too slow for me. It didn’t hold my attention enough for me to develop any kind of emotional connection with Lauren. I’m no longer a reader who’s willing to slog through 100-200 pages before getting to “the good part”.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, trauma
"The All-Night Sun" is a well written novel but wasn't very memorable. I can't even recall basic plot points. I think the reason is because of the protagonist, Lauren. I found Lauren to be so insufferable. There's a lot of backstory about her parent's demise a decade before, which is fine, but Lauren dwells on it to the point where it was making me uncomfortable (especially during these uncertain times). Her inappropriate friendship with a female student was intriguing but once it got to the Mid ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was provided as a giveaway.

It was well written but oh-so-tedious. I like my books to have drama, and move right along. It was not the case with this book. I did not like the main characters at all. Siri was immature and childish while Lauren was annoying and immature as well. Much of the book could be written in fewer words. I suspected what had happened in the latter part of the book but it dragged on and on. It felt like the characters were playing cat and mouse throughout.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such authentic storytelling, straight from the heart. Diane Zinna's The All-Night Sun is a history of grief and loss but it is also an ode to the necessity of deep, essential friendship. Moving and important, this story never shies away from intense emotions. The narrator lets us all the way in to the heart of the main character, the way a true friend does. This is one to be savored page by turning page. ...more
Jun 20, 2020 marked it as need-this-like-air
i just saw that gorgeous cover and said “here. this is where i belong to.”
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I give a lot of books five star reviews because I think a book should be judged based on how successfully it executes on what it sets out to do. I'm giving this one five stars for the same reason, but also because it is perfect. Lauren, Siri, Magnus, and the other characters are flawed in just the right ways, which makes them relatable and lovable. I want to be friends with all of them and hang out in Sweden with them! And the plot is perfect too. The pacing is just right. It's complicated and c ...more
Sea Stachura
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm still thinking about these characters.
I was so taken by the evolving relationship between Siri and Lauren. Their friendship and slowly revealed histories sustain the whole book and Zinna writes them both with tenderness but not blindness. I loved the use of the first-person narrator. The author really took full advantage of the perspective to advance the plot and tease out the romantic developments. Th sexual tension is alive on the page, no doubt.
The novel starts a little plaintively, but t
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