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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Lost
In a weird mood I decided to buy most of the books that were shortlisted for this year's Booker Prize. I read Vernon God Little right after it won, and thought that it was an interesting experiment. Then a couple of days ago I picked up Clare Morrall's Astonishing Splashes of Colour. Is it a better first novel than Vernon God Little? Should it have won the Booker instead...
Published on Nov. 29 2003 by D. Bellomy

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Voice hard to relate to
Didn't love it. Anytime the narrative voice has a mental illness I find it very hard to stay connected. Ok, but not something I'd really recommend to friends.
Published on Aug. 9 2004


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Lost, Nov. 29 2003
By 
D. Bellomy (Seoul Korea, Republic of) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Astonishing Splashes of Colour (Paperback)
In a weird mood I decided to buy most of the books that were shortlisted for this year's Booker Prize. I read Vernon God Little right after it won, and thought that it was an interesting experiment. Then a couple of days ago I picked up Clare Morrall's Astonishing Splashes of Colour. Is it a better first novel than Vernon God Little? Should it have won the Booker instead? I can't believe how inconsequential the question now seems to me. "DBC Pierre"'s novel was more daring, but it's Clare Morrall's that will remain with me. It's not perfect, but it's astonishingly well written for a first novel (although since Ms Morrall has grown children, according to the blurb, one assumes she has a lifetime of well chosen, deeply embedded reading). There are a couple of plot twists that I should have been anticipating, but frankly I was simply too engrossed with reading the novel to think that far ahead. There are other plot elements toward the end that are not explained at all, although I personally think this may be a strength rather than a weakness: life cannot always be neatly wrapped up in plot denouements. The description in the British paperback I read (with a different, superior cover than the American edition, for what it's worth) describes the novel as a reflection of Morrall's "interest in the dynamics of motherless family life and in synaesthesia -- a condition in which emotions are seen as colours." That makes it all sound very clinical. What it's about is more simply families and children, and the heartbreak you feel when the narrator says four pages from the end, "I don't think I've grown up. I don't feel important enough." If you've ever been a "lost child," or lost a child, or a mother, or a brother, or a sister, read it and respect its hard-earned tears and minor victories.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intensely Colored Emotions, Oct. 6 2003
By 
Eric Anderson (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Astonishing Splashes of Colour, Clare Morrall's first published novel, takes its title from a description of Peter Pan's Neverland. It follows the life of an eccentric Birmingham woman who in a sense never has grown up. She is impulsive, doesn't follow conventional daily time tables and can be rather mischievous. But like a child she is someone you have an immediate affection for if only, for no other reason, the purity of her response to the world. It is revealed that Kitty reacts this way because of family tragedies that have impaired her ability to act rationally and develop a secure sense of self. She lives a kind of improvised life reviewing children's books, occasionally visiting her husband who lives in the apartment next door and fostering a strange obsession for her nieces as well as other children. The remote nature of her family relations makes it all too clear why this woman maintains a childish need for love and attention.
The great strength of this novel is the strong personality of the protagonist as she relates her tale in a barely chronological sequence (which suits her jumbled state of consciousness). We follow her mood swings which switch dramatically from joy to deep depression. These are illuminated by the way she views people that emanate certain colors in accordance with her emotions. She can be at one time horribly remote and at another time excruciatingly too personal. The plot quickly gains speed as the novel progresses revealing startling details about Kitty's past. It's to the author's credit that a seemingly innocent journey to the sea side can take on such dark undertones. We feel simultaneously sympathetic and horrified with Kitty for embarking on this impetuous journey. For all this novel's local flavor, it conveys universal truths about the bonds of family, the need for love and the subsistence of childhood innocence into adulthood.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nominated for the Booker Prize, Aug. 24 2003
By A Customer
I read this book when it first came out in February 2003.
I think it's truly wonderful.
The novel is longlisted for the BOOKER PRIZE (and I suspect will also be shortlisted).
Morrall's novel is well crafted, subtle and humorous. Once you've turned one page you'll be eager to turn them all in just one sitting.
A short synosis:
Kitty's obsession with babies creates a strange and vivid world for her. There are many questions with no answers. Who is Kitty? What is her real identity? And is everything as it seems?
Kitty has a large, unusual family - a father who paints, and 4 brothers.
Her husband, a supportive man, lives next door to her.
Colour describes emotions (synaesthesia). How else can one describe such terrible feelings?
Despite desperation, this novel is lighthearted.
We shall certainly be watching out for the Man Booker Short List and expecting Morrall's name to be included.
We're all eager for Morrall's next novel as well as looking out for two more Morrall's (her two daughters who have writen novels).
This is a book not to be missed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars childhood/parenthood under scrutiny; a fine first novel..., Jan. 4 2004
By 
lazza (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Astonishing Splashes of Colour (Paperback)
'Astonishing Splashes of Colour' is a rather involved story of a young woman struggling to come to terms with her inability to have children, her own distorted childhood, and her strained relationship with her husband and her family. So yes, it covers a lot of ground. And as the story unravels it gets a bit ... melodramatic, unfortunately. Yet the book is anything but a disappointment. Clare Morrall's prose is fine, especially so for an inexperienced novelist. But it is her deep, compassionate characterization of the lead character that really salvages 'Astonishing Splashes of Colour'. The author's sincerity shines through.
Bottom line: a mature look at painful memories. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book, April 11 2011
the book was in fantastic condition. Better then i thought actually.
everything would have been perfect had it not taken about a month for me to recieve my book in the mail.
i was pretty far behind on my english assignment because of this.
but eventually it came, and in good condition.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Voice hard to relate to, Aug. 9 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Astonishing Splashes of Colour (Paperback)
Didn't love it. Anytime the narrative voice has a mental illness I find it very hard to stay connected. Ok, but not something I'd really recommend to friends.
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Astonishing Splashes of Colour
Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morrall (Paperback - Oct. 28 2003)
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