Joanne Harris began her career with two works of dark fiction that in many ways define her style better than the crowd-pleasing 'Chocolat'. She has always been interested in the masks we hide behind, and in 'blueeyedboy' is able to give full rein to these ideas. The most fascinating aspect of social networking is that it allows for identities to be reshaped and shifted by those who take part. While it's important not to give away the climactic surprises of the story, suffice it to say that she uses concepts like the unreliable narrator, fantasy VS reality and the masking of emotions to reveal truths about people we only think we know.
'blueeyedboy' has the ring of dark truth for anyone who spends time social networking. It also seems like a natural extension of the styles she has explored in 'Gentlemen & Players' and before that, in 'Sleep, Pale Sister'. It's a cautionary and very modern story with killer twists, and if it appears to involve characters who seem motivated by something more cynical than usual, it's because the baroque formalities of the blogosphere can hide a multitude of sins. This one deserves to encourage readers who may only have explored her France- set fiction.
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