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A Virtual Love

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  21 reviews
For Jeff Brennan, juggling multiple identities is a way of life. Online he has dozens of different personalities and switches easily between them. Offline, he shows different faces to different people: the caring grandson, the angry eco-protester, the bored IT consultant. So when the beautiful Marie mistakes him for a famous blogger, he thinks nothing of adding this new id ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Legend Press Ltd (first published March 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is a little bit disconcerting to read a book in which social media platforms play such a major role. It almost feels like they are characters themselves, keeping the humans hooked with the invisible threads of addiction, playing on their insecurities.

The story is broken down in chapters, each told from the first person perspective, with each character giving voice to their own perception on things. The virtual world is their playground – a façade where they can be and do anything they want.
Mercy Cortez
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Hmmm...Where was the resolve? Where was the outcome?

I read this like a starved animal; wanting to understand and to finally find the romance in this story.

The writing style is unusual and is a great way to immerse yourself in the story and although I understood the lack of descriptions I wondered what Jeff looked like, I didn't know anything about him really except his age of 23, later we find out the blog has been going fir seven years which would make Jeff (the fake unreal blogger Jeff) 16 whe
Shirley Golden
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'A Virtual Love' is a beautifully written novel. I loved the multiple first-person viewpoints with the second-person address to the main character. It explores identity in the modern world and how identities can be distorted by revealing only selective parts. It highlights how easily others can be taken in without ever seeing or fully questioning the complete picture. The characterisation is strong although the characters are not that likeable, apart from the granddad. Having said that, because ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having read and enjoyed Andrew Blackman's first novel, On the Holloway Road, I was very much looking forward to reading this, and was not disappointed. The story is told through multiple points of view, with a clever use of the first/second person as each chapter is told by one of the characters addressing one of the others - and also Marcus' Twitter feed. Social media and the use of technology - Facebook, blogs, hacking - form the spine of the novel and the one, big lie Jeff succumbs from which ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the books I eagerly awaited this year was Andrew Blackman’s ‘A Virtual Love’. I read his ‘On the Holloway road’ sometime back and liked it very much. So when ‘A Virtual Love’ came out this month, I couldn’t wait to get it and read it. I finished reading it in a couple of sittings during the last two days. Here is what I think.

‘A Virtual Love’ is about Jeff Brennan and his life and loves. Jeff works as an IT consultant during the day. He spends a lot of time with his friend Jon in the even
Parrish Lantern
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Those that have followed me for a while or that do so across the various forms of social media, are probably aware that my real? name is not Parrish or Parrish Lantern. Those that have checked out my "about page" will also know how a I came by this pseudonym. Like a lot of individual's over the years I've had a few alter egos that - like "Parrish" - have been what I have described as my Spiderman, Batman, or Silver surfer (choose one) superhero guise, by this I mean they represent a facet of my ...more
Rue Baldry
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel is much better than the title and blurb would suggest, both have the feel of a middle-aged teacher trying to be 'down with the kids'. The actual novel, though, isn't all about social media and, though the plot couldn't have happened at a different point in history, it's really about people and relationships.

The structure is really interesting. I think this is the first time I've read an entire novel written in the second person. The chapters switch POV between characters describing an
Nick Turner
Dull characters with banal lives. He is C&A man (pretending to be a high-status blogger), she is a sort of California eco-hippy stereotype. Setup seems made for ridicule (e.g. fame, celebrity culture) but the satire is limp for most of the read.
Written in the first person with each chapter from the perspective of a different character. With each character's finger in the same pie, by the end, it took me multiple tries to identify who was 'I' and who was 'you'. Occasional dialogue chapters give
May 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Reviewed for Litro literary magazine.

From the front cover to the last page The Drive has all the dials turned to madcap as Tyler Keevil follows in the dust trails of the great American road trip. This kinetic journey through the backside of America lives firmly in the shadow of Fear and Loathing

The action starts in medias res with Trevor, our protagonist, fearfully swallowing his stash as he is questioned at the American border. Successfully gaining entry to the hallowed land, he is propelled th
Fiona Pearse
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly original book, shining a spotlight on our new age of identity, built online, where people are defined by their facebook photos and blogs. Cleverly told with the protagonist addressed in second person by each of his friends, showing us all the sides of his identity - as he reveals it to others. And nicely juxtaposed with the simple life of the protagonist's grandparents, bewildered by the fluidity of the modern world. Made me cringe at myself a few times and kept the pages turning ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I came into this book with very little and expectation and I wasn’t expected to be blown away by ao many provoking ideas that make me reflect about my blog, the online scene and social networking with a new pair of eyes. But it did.

Highly recommended. A book worth re-reading and I thought should be promoted mainstream and promoted more widely.

Click here for full review:

(My review is scheduled to be published in 1 June 2013)
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When this year gets over, I'm going to write a post mentioning the 10 best books I read in 2013, just like last year. I'm not sure this book will make that list, but it is surely a strong contender for the 'Discovery of the Year' honours.

Real & online identities entwine with each other in Andrew Blackman's second novel - 'A Virtual Love'. Jeff Brennan is an average guy at best, working in the IT Support section of a law firm. His namesake is Britain's numero uno political blogger, famous for his
Gerald Weaver
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I heartily suggest that you buy A Virtual Love and read it. If you spend any time at all online, I suggest you buy it and read it right now. Jonathan Franzen, David Byrne, Martn Amis and many other artists bemoan the changes that they see the digital world generating in our culture. Andrew Blackman has actually written a touching, multi-layered, thoughtful, lyrical novel that explores these changes in an even-handed and in depth manner, without being polemical or overwrought.

What evolves is a cl
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I had great expectations when I started reading this novel, because Andrew Blackman's debut novel, On The Holloway Road is one of my all time favourite books. A Virtual Love is just as absorbing, and just as thought-provoking as his first book. I love this writer's style. It takes no effort to read and understand what he is saying, and that is a mark of quality literature. It's no surprise he has won awards for his writing.
In this novel, Blackman has taken the topic of today's obsession with the
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In A Virtual Love, Marie mistakes a young man she meets, for a famous blogger that she’s an awe of. Not surprising, because they are both called Jeff Brennan. The “fake” Jeff is in fact a blogger himself with many online identities, and he’s excited that a nice girl like Marie would look up to him and think him a famous blogger. So he plays along. But he’s forever in fear that she’ll find out and reject him.

The book is written in an interesting form: the first person relating their story to a se
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-on-kindle
This book promised much more than it delivered. The idea is sound and it could have worked well. It took me until about half way through to care enough about the story to want to know the outcome, and, I have to confess, I felt more than a little let down by the ending. My main problem with the book was the poor characterisation and dialogue. There are quite a few characters in the novel, and most of them I found unconvincing and one-dimensional. It wasn't that I didn't like them - it was that I ...more
Hilary West
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this book up to date and of our Age. The main character is Jeff Brennan and the book is concerned with his online identity which is quite separate from the real person. The book deals with the new virtual lives we can all lead and it questions this 'reality'. Are we in fact wasting our time leading such a virtual life where all is sham and maybe even meaningless? A central image in the book is of an old clock so important to Jeff's grandfather and important too to the book's structure. T ...more
Mar 26, 2013 marked it as unfinished
Jeff viene scambiato per un altro Jeff (uno più famoso) da una ragazza e inizia a basare su questo scambio la loro relazione.
Raccontato dai punti di vista di tutti (meno quello di Jeff) risulta un po' lento e noioso e con opinioni troppo estreme da ogni parte: l'anziano radicato nel passato, la vegana anarchica, il nerd mega genio dell'informatica.

Jeff is mistaken for another Jeff (a more famous one) by a girl and he will start their relationship on this lie.
The novel follows the
Angela Kitchen
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
not really sure what to think of this. the book is told from many points of view, none of them the subject of the book. At times it is difficult to figure out which of the people are speaking. the end didn't really resolve the story for me. ...more
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Carapace Prize fo...: New Nomination! A Virtual Love 1 9 Apr 22, 2013 07:44AM  

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Andrew Blackman is a former Wall Street Journal staff writer, now living in London and concentrating on fiction. His latest novel, A Virtual Love, deals with identity in the age of social media, and is out in April 2013. His debut novel On the Holloway Road (Legend Press, 2009) won the Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary and was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize.

His articles, essays a

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