Once there was a widow with three sons, and their names were Black, Brown and Blue. Black was the eldest; moody and aggressive. Brown was the middle child; timid and dull. But Blue was his mother’s favourite. And he was a murderer.
So our narrator is B.B., and what an unreliable person he is. All of his story is told through blog entries, some of them public and commented on by a small group of readers, some of them private and giving more detail and context to what are ostensibly murderous vengeful fantasies, but are they fictionalised versions of real events?
B.B. by his own admission is (as my Gran would have said) “not a nice man, not a nice man at all”, part of a dysfunctional family (horrible brothers, absent father and monstrous mother) and surrounded by secrets from the past which he shares with us piece by piece until we think we have a picture of his troubled past. And then there is a revelation near the end which certainly gave me a bit of a WTF moment and a quick flick back through the pages to see whether I had missed anything as it was rather unexpected.
Joanne Harris has set blueyedboy in the same town as her excellent Gentleman and Players which I read and enjoyed last year, so there is an air of familiarity about the setting and the feeling of being an outsider. I’m not sure I would go so far as to say its a companion piece but there are some similarities, particularly around the need for revenge, but blueyedboy is not anywhere near as gleeful as I found G&P.
It’s an unsettling novel, well written and cleverly plotted and I enjoyed reading it at the time but as the weeks have passed I think the impact has diminished and I’m not sure this is one that will stay with me.