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The Book of Colour by Julia Blackburn

The Book of Colour by Julia Blackburn

 

BOOK REVIEW

The Book of Colour by Julia Blackburn


The Book of Colour tells the stories of 4 generations of a family, living in the Seychelles, Mauritius and England  in the  late 19th century and early 20th century. The story is told through the eyes of an innocent child, often unware of the significance of unfolding events.  The narrator’s mother suffers a mental breakdown which causes him to be sent off to Mauritius by his missionary father.

The boy’s description of Port Louis is a place of “many strangers” where he could not “see anyone who looks like anyone”.  Through the child’s eyes, the reader is encouraged to see racial and cultural diversity in an imaginative way.

Throughout the book, the child’s viewpoint is contrasted with the blinkered and dismissive attitudes of adults. A turbanned beggar  is deemed a ‘nobody’ by the uncle. A young man is believed to be named ‘Mulatto’ by the boy because he has been  introduced by an uncle as ‘my mulatto’.

The novel seeks to untangle the complex realities of life in a post-slave society where inter-racial relationships are both taboo and secretly sought after, and where a Victorian Christian morality overlays a society where people of diverse backgrounds believe as much if not more in the magic and mystery of zombies, ghosts and were wolves than in the stories of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

By the time the novel ends, the boy is an old man. His views at this stage of his life on race and identity are just as startling as the truths he stumbles upon while growing up in the tropical colonies of Mauritius and Seychelles.

An evocative and magnificent novel which says more about the background to human relationships in these multi-ethnic societies than many history books.

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ORDER THIS BOOK NOW! [2:50:35 PM] Julia Blackburn: Book of Colour (Used, Good Condition): £3.50 plus shipping


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