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Astonishing Splashes of Colour    by Clare Morrall order for
Astonishing Splashes of Colour
by Clare Morrall
Order:  USA  Can
McClelland & Stewart, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Michael Graves

Astonishing Splashes of Colour is a brilliant book highlighted by a very appealing main character in Katherine Maitland. Kitty, as she is known, is different and this leads to the immense charm of the book. Although she frequently gets involved with complicated situations the reader very early develops empathy for the character.

In supporting roles we have a distant father, a missing mother, an escaped sister and four diverse brothers. Her loving husband lives next door as the two take having your own space to a new level.

Kitty searches for her identity by trying to drag information about her dead mother from her family, to little avail. Nobody seems to care. Kitty is unable to have her own children and this leads to some bizarre behaviour.

The plot has a number of twists; some predictable, most not. Morrall's writing style is exceptional, clever and full of wittiness. If there is a fault with the book it lies with the increasing number of situations that are revealed in the final quarter of the narrative. These seem to diminish the fascination with the protagonist who is best portrayed in the everyday.

The author's personal journey has been a long one as this book is Morrall's first to be published after twenty years of writing. The book then went on to be a finalist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2003.

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