| 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
| Fiction Magazine
| 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.
| 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.
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