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Lights All Night Long

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  4,692 ratings  ·  586 reviews
A gripping and deftly plotted narrative of family and belonging, Lights All Night Long is a dazzling debut novel from an acclaimed young writer

"Lights All Night Long is utterly brilliant and completely captivating. . . . One of the most propulsive, un-put-downable literary novels I've read in ages."--Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Hardcover, 342 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Penguin Press
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Carole This is late, but I would recommend A Little Life and The Tennis Partner.
Both are heartbreaking, but very good.…more
This is late, but I would recommend A Little Life and The Tennis Partner.
Both are heartbreaking, but very good.(less)
Elisabeth I think it was probably set in the earlier 2010s. In the novel they mention a couple of times Facebook and Vkontakte (the Russian version of Facebook)…moreI think it was probably set in the earlier 2010s. In the novel they mention a couple of times Facebook and Vkontakte (the Russian version of Facebook). VKonkakte was created in 2006 but became popular in 2008/2009. In the novel it is written that one of the character created her Vkontakte profile when she was 13 and when the story takes place she is 17, so the website must have been already popular for some years already. They also mention the movie "Fast and Furious" but this might be a mistake from the author because the first Fast and Furious was from 2001 so way before Facebook. Or maybe she was talking about one of the sequels.(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  4,692 ratings  ·  586 reviews

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Angela M
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Two brothers who couldn’t be any more different. The younger one, Ilya is 15 and smart, serious about his education, an exceptional student. Vladimir, at 17 is definitely not interested in school, drifts into a seedy, dangerous world of drugs. As different as they are, they love each other and this for me is the heart of the story, one that is about family, about brothers who would sacrifice for each other. It’s also about a teenage girl in another family trying to find her place and come to ter
Susanne  Strong
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
4.25 Stars* (rounded down)

Brilliant, intense, thought-provoking!

When Ilya got the opportunity to go to America from his hometown of Berlozhniki in Russia, he always imagined that his older brother, Vladimir would be going with him. Never in a million years did Ilya think that Vlad would be in prison, charged with murdering three young women while he was on his way to Louisiana as part of an exchange program. Now, every day and night at the Masons, is spent thinking about Vlad, trying to figure o
Larry H
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brooding yet hopeful, Lydia Fitzpatrick's debut novel, Lights All Night Long , is a gripping story about family, envy, and being caught between loyalty and the desire to make a better life for yourself. It is tremendously atmospheric, which is no mean feat considering the book really takes place in two completely separate places—Russia and Louisiana.

Ilya is 15 years old and lives in a small town in Russia with his mother, grandmother, and his older brother, Vladimir, whom he idolizes. Vladimi
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A coming of age story of two devoted Russian brothers. Vladimir the oldest is quite a cad.. into thievery, drugs, sex, .etc. and Ilya the younger brother, a good kid with a great mind. They come from a very poor family and Ilya has the opportunity of coming to America as an exchange student.
This story goes back and forth from their story while together in Russia and the time Ilya is here in Louisiana with his host family and attending high school.
I enjoyed this story very much.. it contains a my
"T'was a junkie girl in my world
And everything began to twirl
And it spun so that I couldn't even stand
She had many charms, I heard alarms
She stuck needles in my arm
And I guess that’s when the trouble began
Days and nights, city lights
Empty bags and broken pipes
Slowly things got completely out of hand
Oh my god how far
Did we fall to get to where we are
In the dark, it’s not always easy to see the light
Was it just because
It was love on drugs
I don't know how we made it out alive"
- Lyric
It's not lost on me that I consumed most of this book in the lonely clutches of insomnia, my internal lights on deep into the night. Sometimes I think I embrace this torture, for it offers the opportunity to do the thing I most love in life besides writing: reading.

And this was one worth having insomnia for. One of the year's most moving (trembling, shaking) reads for me. I gasp in wonder and humbleness that Lights All Night Long is Lydia Fitzpatrick's debut.

The lights of Fitzpatrick's novel r
Aug 29, 2020 rated it liked it
As much as I liked Ilya, my interest waned with all the back and forth to events in Russia. I wanted more about Ilya’s life with his odd and endearing American host family. A promising author but I was relieved to finish.
Aga Durka
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars, rounded up to 5.

Ilya and Vladimir, two brothers born and raised in Russia, make life choices that will lead them into two different worlds. Forced by their decisions and opportunities presented to them, they are torn apart from each other, but their strong brotherly bond keeps them connected no matter the circumstances they find themselves in.

Close to perfect debut novel from Lydia Fitzpatrick, is a beautifully written story filled with emotions of brotherly love, devotion, family s
Sonja Arlow
Every time I am finished reading a book that packs a literary punch I feel completely inadequate to review it.

Ilya’s dream of going to America has come true, the land of plenty, of super stores with no queues, the land of Hollywood movies and where people leave lights on all night long. This exchange year is everything he has worked for yet the shadow of his brother in prison stretches all the way from Berlozhniki in rural Russia to sunny Louisiana.

Even the host family’s pretty daughter can’t d
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ilya and Vladimir, two brothers joined in familial loyalty, regardless of cost. A highly personal look at addiction and the devastation it spreads all around. This is what happens when one brother takes responsibility for fixing the other brother’s problems. It’s been said like seeks like and once two kindred souls find each other, under most circumstances, they stick together. Enter Sadie, the American girl, who is a kindred soul. A debut novel where the writer is clearly at home with the hopes ...more
Ilya Alexandrovich Ekhlakov arrives in Effie, Louisiana as an exchange student from Berlozhniki, Russia with a heavy suitcase of guilt. His brother, Vladimir, has confessed to killing three young women and is sitting in prison. Two years older than Ilya, Vladimir is a user of the devastating new drug krokodil; but Ilya just can’t believe that he is also a murderer. What can he do to help when he is thousands of miles away?

Fitzpatrick focuses on the love we have for family, even when they do thin
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written debut novel about the bond between brothers- the love, the guilt, the anger. The author has a way with words, and Lights All Night Long is almost more about how something is said than what is said. I say almost, because she manages to keep the plot and characters central in this literary coming of age story. I cared deeply for Ilya, the good brother, disregarding everything but his studies to get a chance as an exchange student in America. And felt probably even more for Vl ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you @penguinpress for providing me with this free copy of Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick to read and review, it was such a compelling reading experience!
I was really very impressed by this novel, which is Fitzpatrick’s debut. It follows the moving story of Ilya, a gifted Russian student from a small refinery town whose talent for languages is often overshadowed by his older brother’s problems, which become a lot worse when a new drug called Krokodil arrives in Berlozhniki and
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is gorgeously written and impossible to put down and just trust me: read it now, thank me later. Heartbreaking, beautiful, lyrical, but also equally compelling, this is literary fiction at its best.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
Lights All Night Long feels really quite an accomplished debut novel from Lydia Fitzpatrick. A coming of age story following Ilya Ekhalov, a teenage boy from rural Russia who gains a place on an exchange programme to study in America. The story is told in alternating chapters set in Russia and America - focusing on the lead-up to his trip to America and chapters on what happens once he gets there.

While Ilya is the main character, the supporting cast - Vladimir (his elder brother), his mother and
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up! There is not much that I love more than a fantastic, debut novel and I’m definitely here to say-this one checks that box! It is a well-written and intense read that will be sure to make you think about this family, and their story, long after you read the last sentence. Although it started a little slow for me, that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed the book overall. Fitzpatrick has a way with her beautiful prose and character development that can’t help but hook you in as ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Living in a derelict mining town near the Arctic Circle, Ilya learns English from the bootleg VHS movies he and his brother Vladimir watch incessantly. Some tapes are so damaged that the dubbing of the languages overlap. After an astute teacher recognizes his "gift," Ilya's loyalties are split between his increasing ambitions to become an exchange student in the US and his love for his brother who he doesn't want to leave in the dust. From the first, we know he makes his way to Louisiana, and hi ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars….Lydia Fitzpatrick is a debut novelist but you wouldn’t know it from her writing. She does so many things well in this novel about two brothers growing up in modern day Russia. First, she’s a consummate storyteller. There is plot here and it moves seamlessly between Ilya’s (younger brother) life in Russia and then in America.

Second, there is a mystery and honestly I didn’t know until so very near the end that there wasn’t time to even guess what really happened.

Third, the characters ar
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russia
Loved this novel which begins as a culture clash book--the Russian high school exchange student Ilya arriving from his impoverished life in an industrial town in distant Siberia with his mother, grandmother and hooligan brother Vladimir to stay with a middle-class Christian family in suburban Louisiana, but becomes more a brother-story, a story about secret lives and expectations, about loyalty and guilt, facades and what's behind them.

The prodigy brother comes to America trailing skeins of wor
Diane Yannick
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ilya and Vladimir’s love for each other was brilliantly portrayed through actions not words. Vladimir’s choices so petrified his family that his well-being became their priority. Far too often this type of destructive behavior causes families to live in dread of the next bit of bad news, thus making it impossible for them to live in any sort of balanced harmony. The author did a great job of showing us this heartache— this kind of hurt that piling on more and more love can not fix. Self love mus ...more
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Profoundly sad and affecting story of two brothers from a small town in what is best known to the rest of the world as gulag archipelago who take very different ways out of there. One uses his smarts, learns English, gets to go to US to study, the other choses addiction. No idea if the author has ever actually visited the area, but her descriptions of it are superb, not just surroundings but the zeitgeist, the beaten down snowed in tired desperation of an oligarch owned small company town so rem ...more
Bruce Katz
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-fiction
What a remarkable book. Reading it I had the sense that was discovering something I had never seen before. The juxtaposition of two places, two cultures — a remote town in Russia, once a Stalin era penal village now become a place of dead and dying dreams, of drugs and drunken stupor, and flickering glints of hope; and a small town in Louisiana, with its own nests of poverty, it’s own conflicted identities — is revelatory. Throw in a smart young boy, a broken but loving brother, dark secrets, an ...more
Amy Meyerson
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if there's such thing as a perfect debut, but this is as close as I've read. Lydia Fitzpatrick captures small-town Russia and Louisiana with such precision, they are permanently etched into my mind. While the mystery of the murdered girls will keep you guessing until the end, this is fundamentally a story of two brothers. Ilya is a powerful protagonist and his love for his troubled brother, Vladimir, made me want to reach into the book and hug him. Combine these complex characters w ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4+ stars

Ilya arrives in Louisiana as an exchange student from Russia, and at first it's hard to understand his rude attitude, but it soon unfolds. His beloved older brother, Vladimir is in prison for murdering three girls, but Ilya is sure he didn't do it. The novel goes back and forth between the present in Louisiana and the past back home in a strongly written debut novel. He is not the only one with a troubled family background, but no point in spoiling this for you since I suggest you read t
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Growing up in an impoverished town located in the former Soviet Gulag, two Russian brothers dream of leaving their town and finding a better life in the United States.

Vladimir and Ilya are very close friends even though they couldn’t be more different. Vladimir is loud, boisterous, and a thrill seeker. The younger of the two, Ilya, is quiet, studious, and very smart. Their lives suddenly and irrevocably change when Ilya is offered an opportunity to study in the United States while Vladimir drif
Debi Hawkes
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
An incredible book,. The characters so well defined, the locations visible to the readers eye, the storyline realistic, and the layering superb.

Kudos author Lydia Fitzpatrick!

A heartbreaking story of addiction, poverty, hope and dreams, brotherly bonds, family sacrifices, and redemption, with a nice mystery to boot! Who could ask for more?

Highly recommended.

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Press for the opportunity to experience this book.
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, russia
We see a vivid picture of Russia's economic collapse through the memories and events in the life of 15-year-old Ilya. He lives with his older brother Vladimir, his mother, and his paternal grandmotheer in Berlozhinki, a defunct coal mining town built on the site of an abandoned labor camp. Crumbling guard towers and scattered graves are a grim remindeer of the past. The only functioning industry in the town is a refinery, owned by an absentee oligarch who occasionally swoops in to check on his i ...more
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, hard to believe this is the author’s debut novel, it was exceptional. First off, if you ever needed to thank your lucky stars that you were not born in a dying refinery town in freezing Russia, this book will serve as a reminder. Without reviewing the plot which is available elsewhere, the story unfolds in mostly flashbacks to two bothers’ (Ilya and Vladimir) lives in the aforementioned town alternating with present day in Leffie, Louisiana where Ilya is an exchange student. I knew I was re ...more
I’d do anything for my little brother. Just about, anyway. I’m certain he’d return the favor. Growing up we shared a room, and between that and close proximity in age forged a bond that all but defines brotherhood. And even when our paths seemed to split off – mine towards geekier pastures, his towards more “popular” ones – our connection never faltered.

Fast forward to young adulthood, when circumstances carry a much greater weight. I’m a big enough person to say I did some shit that would be w
Nancy McFarlane
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ilya and his older brother Vladimir could not be more opposite. Vladimir is a poor student, gets in trouble constantly and eventually turns to drugs. Ilya is brilliant, has a true gift for language, and with the mentoring of a special teacher he has blossomed. But, they both have the same dream – to get out of their small bleak and depressing mining town in remote Russia and go to the US. Ilya idolizes his older brother while at the same time knowing he should not let his bad ways affect his cha ...more
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Lydia Fitzpatrick’s work has appeared in the The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, One Story, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fiction fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and a recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. She graduated from Princeton University and received an MFA from the Un ...more

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