Morrall, Clare. Astonishing Splashes of Colour. New York: Harper Collins, 2004.
This is the kind of book I could read a thousand times over. This is the style of writing I most identify with. Astonishing Splashes of Colour is so intimate and in-your-face I feel as if Morrall’s main character, Kitty, is leaning in to tell me deep and dark secrets, stories of embarrassing moments, and airing her dirty laundry with a wave of her hand and an air of factual nonchalance. She makes me squirm with her frankness, her vulnerability. Helpless and hopeless, Kitty is the me in the mirror.
Kitty is a thirty-something with something to hide. Her past has as many demons and devils as it does angels. Losing her mother at three years old, the knowledge of an older sister who ran away from home, the fact having four brothers who not only are disconnected from one another but only pretend to be connected to her, the frustrations of having a father who loses himself in painting and has episodes of pouting, the confusion of having an excessively neat husband who lives across the hall in a separate apartment, the heartbreak of a miscarriage Kitty insists on waiting for after school…then there are the colors. Kitty has the uncanny ability to see human emotion, human circumstance as a myriad of color. Her world is not black and white sane, but rather a rainbow of mental chaos. As if all this wasn’t enough everything turns out different from what one would expect. I couldn’t put it down…
Lines I can relate to: “I fight back a wave of giggles that threatens to ripple through me” (p 63). I laugh at inappropriate moments, too.
“I can’t decide which is worse, to not have a mother, or to not have children. An empty space in both directions. No backwards, no forwards” (p 65).
“I would have books around me even if I were blind. I need the smell” (p 138).
There are, of course, many more lines I could quote. This novel, this flash of brilliance definitely resonated with me.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called, “Sibs” (p 201).