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Broken Colors

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In 'Broken Colors', Michelle Zackheim has written an engaging story of a remarkable woman whose long and eventful life takes her to a place where life and art intersect. ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Europa Editions
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  152 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
One day, riding the subway home, a woman seated next to me made a comment about the book I was reading. We got to talking books, and I discovered that she is a published author. I asked her to recommend her favorite from her repertoire, and she offered this title. But for that conversation, I probably wouldn't have found my way to this book--which makes we fortunate that I both spoke with a thoughtful artist and read a lovely book. she wrote.

The first seventy-odd pages rocked me. I've read about
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story about love, art, creativity and grief; marred only by terribly wooden dialog.
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a many layered book...much like the paintings created by it's main character. It encompasses all of her life from chilhood through old age and illustrates (quite literally) how this woman moves through immense grief towards an open heart. It is clear from the vivid writing that the author is also a visual artist. I was inspired by the descriptions of the creative process at work and moved by the storytelling and humanity of the characters. ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Good story, poorly written.
Kathy Gilbert
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
I didn't think this book was all that well written, didn't hold my interest very well, story was kind of slow. ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read it in one sitting - wasn't ever not going to once I'd started. Loved this story of art, love and the journey of the central character, Sophie Marks as it follows her life from child to octogenarian. Loved the settings of Midlands, Paris, Umbria and South America. Fab characters and emotionally wrought in broken colours! ...more
Victoria Raun
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found the writing flat and at times confusing, with a couple of historical errors (WWII did not end on V-E day, the NHS was not established during WWII.) The book is a great example of what not to do when "showing, not telling," in writing. ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love her descriptive language.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed the storyline of the book, I found the writing rather lacking. It felt as though it had gone through some kind of filter, which separated the reader from the heart of Sophie's life. ...more
Kelly (spaceandlines)
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I picked up this book without having heard of the book or the author before, which is relatively uncommon for me now. Having read it, I get why I haven’t heard of it before; it’s quite average. The story tells of the life of a painter, Sophie Marks, who spends her life chasing her passion and her loves across Europe and America. She was born in England and was raised by her artist grandparents who instilled in her a love for painting and colors. Her life is colored by tragedies and losses, at fi ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I don't get the title. I get that the story is of an artist and of the "breaks" in her life. I get that the story is about finding, losing, finding, losing, finding. Love. I get that it's about endurance: the endurance of Nature, the endurance of Art, and the endurance of Love. I liked the story. I liked the ways in which it evolved across the pages and the words and their constructions that helped it do so. I liked Sophie and Eli and Claire and Luca and Nico. I liked that the conflicts (not to ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book. It had all the ingredients that should have made it a success. But Sophie became merely frustrating, and her aging wasn't realistic. I felt I was reading a young woman's idea of what it's like to get older.
The writing was flat and unengaging.
The author was historically and internally inaccurate which was irritating. For example, she clearly states that Sophie has white hair, then several pages later, refers to her hair as silver and grey, and finally says that she sti
Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it
While it's so refreshing to read about women artists, there was something I didn't quite like that I couldn't quite put my finger on. So, please bear with me while I explore my review here on the page (similar to the way women 'think' while talking). The characters all seemed a bit shallow to me. Zackheim had a good idea with the times her characters go through, giving us a little different look at history through the lives of people but I felt that her writing fell a bit flat. She probably woul ...more
Jon Stout
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: artists, autobiographers
Recommended to Jon by: Sarah
What I most enjoyed about this book was the interpenetration of visual art and literary art. The novel is very visual, and is about the life of a painter, so that plot developments are talked about in terms of acquiring a new style or medium, and artistic resolutions also help resolve personal struggles in the life of the main character. The author, whom I have heard read her work, is both a visual artist and a writer, and I like the way she explores the artistic process in life in general.
Marty Crandall
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Marty by: book store
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One thing that I really admire is the ability to move through time. This book spans the course of one woman's life and isn't afraid to jump across years and years. But it still feels so cohesive.

And, OF COURSE, I love books about fake art and here is a really good one. If you liked AMERICAN PAINTER EMMA DIAL or THE SWAN THIEVES check this out as well.
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I wanted to Like Sophie Marks more. Of course the tragedies that occurred in her life were so mind numbing, that it was difficult for her to ever get past them. Somehow, many of the characters seemed flat or contrived. The details of the art and the beauty of the places she lived kept me turning pages.
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
What an original amalgamation of words covering a range of topics: the bitterness of loss, finding selfhood/healing through artistic pursuits and the enduring qualities of true love. It is as fresh as a newly painted canvas but as familiar as portions of your favorite book.
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like reading artist biographies
The character is complex enough that at times I thought I was reading a biography instead of a novel. Also, descriptions of the character painting are interesting instead of sounding like instructions from a cookbook.
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Ann by: JACKIE
please read this. a surprise how good it was .. Thoughful, well done and a tear jerker. Its a great history of WW 2 and the effect it has on lives and familes. The main character is so fragile yet finds love again in her 80-s..
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I completely agree with another reviewer who said that she wanted to like the book but the writing seemed flat. I thought that the writing could have been much more vividly, and the style was missing an engaging spark.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not the best written book in terms of poetic prose,
but the story is interesting and the main character interesting to follow thru her life. Sad at times, ocassionally funny.
Mar 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
I should have known from the is replete with "colorful" descriptions that left me bored. I imagine an artist or decorator would find it a great read. ...more
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story over the years of how cercumstance and choices can change outcome. Also how stubborn can affect outcome.
May 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-read
Might have been a good read, but just not my thing. Don't want to waste my time on anything that doesn't grab me from the first page. ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend. Given to me by Elizabeth Blau. It's hard to put down. ...more
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books that felt like the new characters were only introduced to create new tragedy, but once I accepted that fact I was able to enjoy the beauty of the story and the settings.
Jan 28, 2011 rated it liked it
A woman artist's life is traced from a tragedy in England to Paris to Tuscany to the American Southwest and back to Tuscany. It is a hard life lived in beautiful surroundings. ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
It was okay, but nothing to rave about. Way too many tragedies for anyone person so much so that it seemed unrealistic.
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For many years I was a visual artist exhibiting in museum and galleries, both in the united States and Europe. Over time, random words began to appear on my canvases . . . then poems . . . then elaborate fragments of narratives. I began to think more about writing and less about the visual world. Finally, I simply wrote myself off the canvas and onto the lavender quadrille pages of a bright orange ...more

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