Taking its title from a description of Peter Pan's Neverland, Astonishing Splashes of Colour follows the life of Kitty, a woman who, in a sense, has never grown up. As her moods swing dramatically from high to low, they are illuminated by an unusual ability to interpret people and emotions through colour.
Kitty struggles to come to terms with her life, including the loss of her mother, a miscarriage, and an unconventional marriage to her husband, who lives in the apartment next door. And when her father and brothers reveal a family secret long hidden, it overwhelms Kitty's tenuous hold on reality and propels her on an impetuous journey to the brink of madness.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.ASTONISHING SPLASHES OF COLOURClare Morrall. HarperCollins, (336p) Like Booker-winner Monica Ali, British newcomer and Booker finalist Morrall creates an alienated yet immensely appealing heroine. But unlike Ali's protagonist, Kitty Wellington is at home in Britain's culture; it's her spectacularly dysfunctional family and a personal tragedy that bring her grief. Dangerously unstable after a miscarriage and her resulting inability to conceive again, Kitty sees other people and her environment in auras of color. A device brilliantly effective at times, this serves to establish Kitty's febrile, fantastical imagination. For three years, Kitty has lived in a flat next door to her loving, ineffectual husband, whose own problems (a limp; an obsession with order; a fear of unfamiliar places) render him similarly incapable of dealing with the world. But Morrall gradually reveals the real cause of Kitty's anguish: her lack of identity. Brought up helter-skelter by her irascible, eccentric artist father and four older brothers, Kitty has no memory of her mother, who died when she was three. Even in her most depressed moments, however, Kitty has wit and intelligence, even as her childlike impulsiveness and failure to foresee the consequences of her acts lead her to initiate a double kidnapping. Morrall artfully reveals the true story of Kitty's family in a suspenseful plot that unfolds like layers of an onion, meanwhile providing a convincing portrait of a woman striving for emotional survival.