Title: My Name is Venus Black
Author: Heather Lloyd
Publisher: The Dial Press
First Published: 27th February 2018
Venus Black is a straitlaced A student fascinated by the study of astronomy—until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’s developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, goes missing.
More than five years later, Venus is released from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her beloved brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start in Seattle, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit—including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self—old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past. (From Goodreads, 9th April 2019).
“My Name is Venus Black” is a novel of mystery. What happened to to cause Venus to murder? What happened to Venus’s brother? Why is her relationship with her mother so fraught?
It is also a story of readjustment, leaning how to cope in a world that you have been so removed from. Learning to look after yourself and finding a place in a world where everyone knows what you have done. But this is a story of so many different stories. So many different relationships. It tackles so many topics that are important and show the blurry lines of right and wrong.
Structurally we mainly follow Venus, and the second narrative of Venus’s brother Leo’s story. We also see things from Venus’s mothers point of view as well, and the view of the individuals who look after Leo. There is a lot of mystery and I do not want to divulge too much. This is a novel that I went into blind and I think that is possibly the best way to read this book.
“My Name is Venus Black” is fantastically constructed, with multiple stories that keep you wanting to read more. You desperately want everything to work out, but with such a complicated past is that ever possible?
If you are looking for a novel with light mystery, complex relationships, and complex moral conundrums I would recommend “My Name is Venus Black”. Go into it not knowing much and you will be glad that you did.
I really love this novel, it is fantastically constructed and extremely well written.
5 out of 5