Thursday, March 22, 2012

Athena K's Review - Astonishing Splashes of Colour

This is the story of Kitty, a woman with a peculiar family history who has suffered a personal tragedy resulting in the loss of her unborn child - and the loss of her ability to have children.  This experience has knocked Kitty a little off her rocker, and we follow her through a series of interactions that cause her to unravel further.

I really wanted to like this novel because of its title.  As the first few pages indicate, "astonishing splashes of colour" is a quote from Peter Pan, which evokes an image of an adult who failed to achieve maturity, and prefers to live in a land of childhood and fantasy.  In many ways, this is Kitty - so much of her identity is wrapped up in the fantasies she has created about the mother who was absent from her childhood, and about her older brothers, and even about her unique marriage partner.  And of course, her mental images of these people cannot stand up to the truth as it is revealed to her throughout the story, and this created much of the driving force of the plot.

But ultimately, while I appreciated moments of this novel,  it fell short for me.  I can't say I actually enjoyed it.  I think in order to appreciate the novel you have to like, or at least understand and sympathize with Kitty.  But I found her frustrating, foreign, and unsympathetic for most of the story.  Her choices are sometimes so poor that I could only cringe and watch the fallout from a distance - and that's not how I feel about the characters I engage with.

An interesting nominee, but not really my taste.


  1. Sorry you didn't like it--because I was drawn to the cover and title in the same way. Now, I'm not so sure...

  2. Full disclosure - i was newly pregnant with my first while reading this, so theres another element of why it might have rubbed me the wrong way. I would be interested to hear other opinions!