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The Colour of the Sun

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One hot June afternoon in Durban, South Africa, a child is born. Doctors and nurses marvel because the birth is one of the rarest in the world. The child, Gillian August, is born still shrouded in her amniotic sac. She is a caul baby, and in 1970s South Africa, this heralds greatness.

Or it might have, had August’s caul not been stolen within hours of her birth.

A belief in predetermined outcomes looms large in Thorp’s family, culture, and her perception of the world. After all, a lifetime of loss seems to confirm the misery promised by the theft of her caul.

Gillian is a Coloured girl born under Apartheid who overcomes unimaginable tragedy, loss, and abuse to find her voice and to help others find theirs.

This is her story, one where thieves give more than they take, and where something great comes from places where nothing at all is expected.

235 pages, Paperback

Published November 17, 2020

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Gillian Thorp

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5 stars
34 (85%)
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5 (12%)
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1 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon Hayhurst.
Author 5 books8 followers
December 6, 2021
I don't think I have ever stayed awake reading all night before, but it has happened, such is the brilliance of this book. Gillian has a remarkable talent with words, a true artist who has crafted every sentence and description. Her gift is borne out of a lifetime of adversity which she faces with courage and strength. A childhood of loss, abandonment and abuse would break many, but the authors resilient spirit shines through. An absolute 5 stars plus.
November 5, 2020
Here is a tale of terrible beauty but more than anything, it is a tale of resiliency, determination, strength, and love. It is a compelling story that held my interest as Thorp’s writing is simply beautiful. An incredible piece of work in all that it covers: loss, grief, racism, immigration, alcoholism, sexual intimidation, and above all love. A must read if you have interest in these topics or if you just want a good read.
Profile Image for Dollie.
227 reviews7 followers
December 1, 2020
A friend who knows the author recommended this book. It was a great read. Thorp writes with unassuming and authentic voice. She shares her story filled with struggle and sadness but also resilience and hope. Her ability to recall detailed childhood memories and her artistic, emotional style made for a very intimate and touching memoir. It sure didn't hurt that her life story is compelling, heartbreaking and inspiring. I hope this book does well.
1 review
November 30, 2020
This memoir was extraordinarily and mesmerizing. Both tragic and beautiful, I would recommend to all my friends.
Profile Image for Jill Robbertze.
554 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2023
This is an outstanding memoir of survival of an early life living with a dysfunctional family, abandonment, abuse and heartbreaking tragedy. This story is not only one of survival but of Gillian's courage and admirable success in both her education, career and her ability to be the best mother to her girls.

I especially enjoyed her story as I grew up in Durban where I was living at the same time as she did during apartheid. (I'm in Canada now) It was interesting to see this from her perspective as I was one of the "privileged whites" (but far from wealthy) and one who voted for change.

A very well written, evocative, page-turner !!! by the way, I love the cover too. A solid 5 Stars.

Profile Image for Cal Grant-Smith.
Author 2 books52 followers
September 22, 2022
Beautifully written; an evocative story

This is one of those memoirs that will live in your heart forever. The author’s life is full of turmoil and surprising twists and is told in moving prose and delightful detail.
Her story is filled with tales of family and relationships; tales that make you cringe one minute and smile the next. A well written story indeed.
February 9, 2021
I enjoyed reading this book. The time living in South Africa gives a good perspective of life in South Africa as a non-white in the 70's and 80's. Gillian's journey, her pain, anger, bitterness, struggles and perseverance is sad, but inspiring and encouraging. I am recommending this book to my family and friends. I wish that every person get a change to read G’s story. Feeling blessed.
2 reviews1 follower
January 4, 2021
I really enjoyed this book. Although the environment in which the author grew up in and lived a large part of her young life was harsh, her strength came through clearly. Beautiful imagery showed a world we hope is long gone, and the author's personal insights along her journey shed light on how one can grow even in the face of devastating odds. Definitely a good read!
57 reviews2 followers
April 27, 2021
I loved this memoir. It must have been defficult for the author to write but I, for one, am so glad she did. She had a very hard life from birth through to adolescence. Insecurity set in upon the disappearanced from her life of her father. Constant moves, having to adjust to living with others and a total incomprehension of why her mother did not turn up, added to the loneliness. The joy of a mother's return is shattered by the start of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. The growing girl hides her feelings within her own shell knowing she is helpless. When finally she can assert her independence she releases her anger and accusations and takes her freedom. Life, for the first time, is joyous. She meets the best man ever who supports her and cherishes her and with whom she makes a new, happy start -until sudden tragedy strikes again. Your heart goes out to her knowing that she does not deserve any more misfortune. But her early battles, despite causing depression, also gave her resilience and the reader understands that this is a person who is very good at heart and who is a survivor. Very well written.
Profile Image for Elora Canne.
Author 2 books6 followers
September 25, 2022
This is one of those memoirs that will live in your heart forever. The author’s life is full of turmoil and surprising twists and is told in moving prose and delightful detail.
Her story is filled with tales of family and relationships; tales that make you cringe one minute and smile the next. A well written story indeed.
September 3, 2021

Sometimes “fabulous” can be a trite word but it kept coming to me as I savored every page of this brilliantly written memoir. I knew nothing about South Africa nor apartheid, but now I do through the author’s fresh approach and brilliant use of words. We all have a story to tell but her story telling is truly a work of art. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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