The Book Of Colour
A remarkable first novel from a writer whose previous books--The Emperor's Last Island and Daisy Bates in the Desert--were lauded for their bold interweaving of biography and autobiography, this is the enthralling, physically and emotionally evocative tale of the darkness, fears, and passions that can dictate a family's path through the world--the story of a family whose l...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published 1995 by Jonathan Cape
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E.M. Forster, in Aspects of the Novel, doesn't see why the novelist has to wrap up everything at the end. Why can't the novelist just stop, he says, or something to that effect. I have often wondered so myself given the painfully elongated summings-up so many novelists, even present-day novelists, impose upon their readers. Now, however, I think I understand why such advice might not always be applicable. Take Julia Blackburn’s short novel, The Book of Color. This novel is for the most part enjo...more
Jun 05, 2011 Benji rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
When I read, I try to know as little as possible when I start. This is a good example of how that is a good practice to have: the interpretation on the back of the book is so concrete and narrow, that had I read it before beginning, it would have skewed everything so strongly, it'd have been a very different experience. In other words, what was a very atmospheric read--with multiple interpretations all the way til the end--would have been pegged into a very strict post-colonial reading. And in s...more
Jul 04, 2013 Christopher Sullivan rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Julia Blackburn has written a biography or a memoir if you will about the paternal side of her family that goes back as far as her great grandfather. But this is not a conventional, genealogically straight-forward biography. The author swoops in and out of her father and grand-father’s lives through dreams and nightmares, mentally visiting rooms within a large ethereal house each connected by long white corridors. In each room she encounters a place in time inhabited by her ancestors. The author...more
Sep 23, 2013 Mirrani rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
I love when a book is beautiful and poetic, I love when it tells a good story, and I love when an author finds a creative way to put everything together. This book blended all of those things into one experience that was somewhat over the top on all, but is also very hard to explain. This is a story about a family history, but it is not told in the typical way, but through memories of a life lived between grandfather, son, and child. There were moments when I found myself completely wrapped up i...more
I just can't come up with much to say about this short book. It was well-written: vivid images, lightly lyrical, a dream-like quality. But it just didn't do much for me; it didn't leave much of an impression.
Julia Blackburn is the author of several other works of nonfiction, including Charles Waterton and The Emperor’s Last Island, and of two novels, The Book of Color and The Leper’s Companions, both of which were short-listed for the Orange Prize. Her most recent book, Old Man Goya, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Blackburn lives in England and Italy.More about Julia Blackburn...