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Breathing in Colour

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  141 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
'Your child is missing - presumed dead.' Hours after receiving the phone call that every mother dreads, Alida Salter flies to India to search for her backpacker daughter. The discovery of disturbing collages in Mia's hotel makes Alida suspect a connection between the disaster that fractured their relationship thirteen years ago, and Mia's recent, mysterious disappearance. ...more
288 pages
Published March 5th 2009 (first published 2009)
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May 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Clare Jay’s Breathing in Colour ( Piatkus, Little, Brown Book Group, March 2009) weaves together threads from many disparate areas of life – dreams, travels,the creative mind, family dynamics, memory, and relationships between men and women. The story, which takes place in the UK and India, blends the characters’ dreams into the narrative with seamless artistry, no easy task (which I know from my own experience of including dream imagery in my writing).

Throughout the course of the novel the read
Kathe Coleman
Breathing in Colour by Clare Jay
The story begins when Alida discovers that her eighteen year old daughter has been reported missing in India. She immediate;y heads for India where she meet Taos, an Australian author, who had been a friend to her daughter Mia. What is most interesting about this book is that both mother and daughter experience Synaethesia which is described as a union of senses, Words may bring up colors or even be felt on the tongue as some type of taste. Beautiful to read as th
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india, family, fiction, grief
This was a fascinating story. I do not think I have ever read a story using Synaesthesia as a main theme, The author adds this description of it as, a“union of the senses” a sensory condition in which textures might be tasted on the tongue, or musical notes experienced as colours. In Synaesthesia , the five senses, which most people experience as separate, are mingled in almost any combination, so that one sensation involuntarily conjures up others.

It was interesting to learn about something I k
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is the best I've read in a long time! Loved everything about it, the author has done lots of work on lucid dreaming according to her website and the dream imagery in the book is beautiful and emotive and doesn't detract from the story at all, far from it. I found it enriched my own dreamlife!

Similarly the synaesthesia the daughter has lifts the narrative into the most amazing sensory perceptions, it's as if you can taste the words. The plot gripped me from the start a
Jo Barton
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Every parents nightmare, a phone call late at night and your world falls apart. When Mia Salter goes missing in India, her mother Alida feels that she can find her and bring her home. Using her maternal instinct and a smattering of clues her journey begins. Beautifully descriptive, this story just warms your heart.
Bryan Johnson
Jun 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding book by a new author. Vibrant brilliant flowing text about a girl, Mia, who suffers from synaesthesia - a condition where the senses are mixed up- sound is colour / taste and those who have this condition see different colours and patterns. Mia is travelling in india and her mother gets a call to say her daughter is missing, and so she goes out to find her.
Kelly Hing
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Just finished and was moved, and frustrated and sucked in to the experience
Apr 26, 2009 added it
Excellent book! Read in a day! The descriptions are mind boggling and makes you see, taste and smell in such a vivid way!
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sooo good. Swept me away, have only just finished and still wiping tears from my eyes!!
Anna Sörries
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it was a very intersting book. colorful. different. full of thoughts, memories and life. disturbing but beautiful.
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy the style of writing of this book about the dysfunctional relationship between a 37 year old mother,Alida and her 18 year old daughter, Mia. Their past relationship is explored from each ones perspective when Alida flies from London to India in search of Mia who has gone missing whilst backpacking. Mia has synaesthesia, and Clare Jay has incorporated this both from Mia's perspective as well as Alida's understanding of this to create a read rich in sensory st ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“These are the stars we catch before I go to sleep,” Mia had announced, her eyes ablaze with pride as she pointed at the sequins. “When the pink ones sparkle, they fizz in my mouth like sherbet.”

This is a really lovely story. The themes are not so lovely - a teenage daughter gone missing in India, divorce, abandonment, estrangement, and yet the author has done a really stellar job of addressing all these topics without being heavy and depressing but still serious and sincere.

The main characters
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-library
What a lovely emotive read. This is a story about the pain and seemingly interconnected ecstasy that arrives the moment we give birth.

Clare Jay has captured many of those fleeting thoughts and feelings that occur during ones lifetime. I often attempt to journal but it seems to come out stilted and not convey the mind images and experienced emotions. This clever lady has captured those feelings and put it all in this delightful read - wow!!

Obviously my story and the disappearance of Alida's (mai
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Alida Slater receives a phone call in the middle of the night to say her Daughter has not been seen for some time, and she may be dead, her Daughter is backpacking in India.
Alidia flies to India, although her Ex-Husband Ian tries to talk her out of it.
Mia has Synaesthesia (when the senses get cross wired) we find out that Alida and Mia have had a hard relationship in the past, she manages to get help from one of Mia’s friends Taos, but do they find her?
The book has beautiful descriptions of Indi
Melanie Rose
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
A good heartwarming story. Alida is trying to find her missing daughter Mia, who was last seen backpacking in India. Clare Jay takes us into the world of a synaesthesic - someone who has mixed senses and sees in colour. As we journey through the story we learn more about the relationship between mother and daughter and realise that a previous tragedy has blighted their relationship. As the sights, sounds of smells of India are brought to life, we realise that everything hinges on Alida's forgive ...more
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: female-authors
It was really interesting for me as a synesthete to read someone else's attempts to describe it. The character Mia experiences so many different types of synesthesia that I found it very enjoyable to read those sections about 'baked potato' Dad and ashy sounds. The plot itself ended quite abruptly but there wasn't much to add on. I found myself very ambivalent to Alida's character, which surprised me, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: india, 2009
I so wanted to love this because I love the cover, the author sounds lovely on her website and India is fascinating to say the least.

I did find the sections describing India and the love relationship enjoyable, but I found the lucid dreaming stuff quite labourious and the premise rather silly.

So slightly disappointing on the whole.
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
I really enjoyed this, what with the rich language and the elements of treasure hunts, and the awful realisation near the end that there is a deadline, and it's going to be very very close. The exploration by both key characters into moments of their past is very well handled, and everything just adds to the story as it unfolds.
Candice Ilic
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a sensitive and perceptive story. It's my first introduction to synaesthesia which creates a fascinating world. I know from experience the emotional complexities that arise with the loss of a child. This novel captures so much of it in an achingly beautiful way.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: women-lit, 2010

What a beautifully written book. The language used is just so gorgeous and sumptious and tangible.

It felt like a decadent experience even if the basis of the story, once revealed and confirmed did make me cross.

I am glad I read it though and would recommend it.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it
How do you know that your "red" is the same as my "red?" If you've enjoyed Clare Jay's, "Breathing in Colour," you may care to discover more about synesthesia with Richard Cytowic's "Wednesday is Indigo Blue" Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia".
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed Mia's imaginative parts and my fascination for 'her world' held on for quite some time. The romance was a bit too over expressed though no compromises are made on facts for the pragmatic.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Absolutely amazing book. Not only because the protagonists (a mother and daughter) are synesthetes, but because the lyrical, lush writing is perfect for the story and the setting. I loved the characters, and had to slow myself down to savor the writing, as I wanted to know what happened next!
Jun 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous, well worth a read! India, synaesthesia, a strong mother-daughter relationship, the daughter goes missing while backpacking and the mother sets off to find her...
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Magical writing. I was enveloped in this story.
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting premise. Many keen observations about life.
Nov 01, 2010 rated it liked it
The original idea was great, so I expected more from this book. For the love of me, I could not sympathize with the mother.
Oct 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Wasn't really my cup of tea but well written. characters a bit wishy washy for me.
Jan 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've had this in my collection for a while now and at last I have been able to read it. Thoroughly enjoyed the story and the colourful descriptions. Would recommend.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just delicious.
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Clare Jay’s short stories and poetry have won prizes and appeared in anthologies, and she tutors writing at university level. One of her most powerful memories is of nearly drowning in a turquoise swimming pool in a dream she had when she was three, which was what got her hooked on dream imagery. Her interest in dreams led her to an ongoing exploration of lucid dreaming and the development of drea ...more
More about Clare Jay...