Your Blue-Eyed Boy by Helen Dunmore

Your Blue-Eyed Boy is my second novel by Helen Dunmore. I read her book With Your Crooked Heart a couple years back. Dunmore is a poet and although it’s not always the case, her skill with language translates beautifully to prose. She creates captivating and complicated characters, with interior lives that are filled with wreckage and hope.

Your Blue-Eyed Boy is, I think,  about ghosts. Simone is a District Judge, married to an unemployed architect, mother to two young sons. Her story is told by layering all the bits of her life: her childhood, her young adulthood and her married life. When the story starts Simone describes herself as being “in that stage of youngishness which seems as if it’ll go on forever”.

And then, out of the blue, Simone receives a letter from someone from her past. If you were to take the novel’s prologue at face value, you would think that this book was about blackmail. “There are things you should know about blackmail…” Simone says.

But Your Blue-Eyed Boy is not as simple as that. This is a novel about reconciling who you are now with who you were when. It’s easy enough to pretend that each section of your life is complete and separate, but this is a novel that asks us to question our past choices, our past loves and our place in the here and now.

It’s a gorgeous book that reads like a thriller.

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