BOY BLUE
 

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1 This is not only an original publication but a first novel and I can't think how we missed it when it came out in the spring. Its cover slightly misleadingly suggests gritty World War Two realism. It isn't that the novel's unrealistic. In fact, the lives of the Gartery family in 1944 Salisbury and afterwards are clearly and detailedly illuminated, endowed with the authentic accents of a time and a place and a class. The author deftly shifts perspective between the characters so that they appear both as they feel themselves to be and as they seem to others (seldom at all the same thing). But, for all the solidity of the world imagined, it's not adequate to call the book socially realistic because Stevie Davies deals as much with inwardness as with outwardness and, indeed, makes the two indivisible...

Young Chrissie's refusal to admit the possibility that she could have a male baby is an instinctive response to the awfulness of war, among other things, but it is nothing to do with ideology. It's a visceral reaction which chains on into the next generation. The book reflects, not in authorial words but in actions and images and people created, on femininity and masculinity, not just as the blurb has it 'a man's alienation from the feminine' but equally a woman's alienation from the masculine. Another book to keep and read again and an author to look out for.
  Fiction Magazine

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2 There are books whose writing seems to have given their authors no more trouble than the average letter. Boy Blue by Manchester author Stevie Davies is not one of these. Rather it's a novel which, even as it holds you in a narrative spell, still makes you aware of the time and thought and craft that went into its creation, into the density of its language and the complexity of its imagery. It's a story about war, birth and death, the relationships within a family (and particularly between siblings) and, most successfully of all, it's a novel about a specific place: Salisbury and Old Sarum and the area that surrounds them. It is set mainly during the Second World War.
  Adèle Geras, Artful Reporter

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3 Stevie Davies, writing for The Women's Press, tells in Boy Blue the simple tale of a soldier and his young wife in World War II and how their lives go on. The wife has twins and gives away the boy of the pair, keeping the girl and telling no one. The secret, which is as unencumbering and unhaunting most of the time as family secrets often are, is almost irrelevant.

Boy Blue is notable in the most unobtrusive possible way. It conveys easily how time passes in ordinary lives, how strong and unselfconscious feelings can be, inside family walls. It even manages to show, not family disaster, which is no problem, but plain, tranquil domestic happiness.
  Hilary Bailey
 

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This entire presentation Copyright © Stevie Davies