|About the Book|
Steven Laffoleys The Blue Tattoo is the first time this award-winning historian has turned to fiction. His focus is the Halifax Explosion.With a number of books and films already out there on the Halifax Explosion Laffoley seeks to tell a familiar story in a fresh way. The arc of the novel rests on a love story between a woman and a man from widely separated social and economic classes. Their differing backgrounds allow the author to examine a wide range of topics, including the suffragette movement and how wars benefit or hurt people in different ways.Surprisingly, at least to me, there are stretches in The Blue Tattoo where the couples story is not front and centre. Instead, Laffoley offers other characters — some historical, some invented — whose stories convey the wider tale of how the devastation happened and how it killed, maimed, blinded and rendered homeless so many thousands.At times, some incidents read more like straight history than immersive fiction, but they communicate the context of the sweeping story the book presents.The Blue Tattoo ticks along at a brisk pace and keeps the readers interest all the way. It’s a big story every Haligonian should read. It deepens one’s appreciation for the parts of the city touched by the devastation of December 6, 1917.