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The Book Of Colour
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The Book Of Colour

3.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  51 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
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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Mar 06, 2012 William1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, uk
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
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
Giovanni Loui
Feb 25, 2015 Giovanni Loui rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
WEIRD is how I would describe this book. If there is any book that you might come across and you find it hard to understand the purpose of the writer then this is one of them. I remember that I tried reading this book some years back but all I could do was to simply read 2 or 3 pages because I just could not understand and imagine the plot and visual aspects of the story. I also couldn't figure out what the author was trying to convey.

I thought that this book would serve as a good horror/suspens
Rena Searles
Sep 20, 2014 Rena Searles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written as a series of memories/dreams, this dark little book was disturbing. Almost like poetry, Blackburn captures startling images from the narrator's family history and unlocks a legacy of racism and abuse. Hard to put this one into any sort of box - just an unusual read, but worthwhile for the craftsmanship.....
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
Sue Davis
The curse of colonialism. The book cover says "lyrical" but more than that it is dreamlike and only a little interesting.
Alicia Farmer
Dec 27, 2015 Alicia Farmer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Is it me? I think it's me. I think I'm too shallow to understand what's happening in this book. Or possibly too in vacation mode to care. I think I know the arc of the story, but could not tell which parts were "real" and which were mystical-dream-state-insanity-recollections. Meh.
Aug 19, 2012 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
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.
The writing was very lyrical and descriptive regarding the setting, but I have no idea what i just read.
Feb 15, 2010 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbooks
Excellent exploration of family lineage/memory/history through vivid descriptions and wild hallucinations.
Mar 24, 2013 Baljit rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The narrative is rather vague, crossing beetween different characters n different time frames.
Jan 26, 2012 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Something of a magical mystery tour through another world though with some haunting moments.
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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.
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