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Review: The Colour Black by Maia Walczak

This last week, now my own book has gone off, I need to catch up with those other diversions I’ve been forced to postpone. At the moment I’m reading six books and watching three movies and two box sets on iTunes. I am mainlining entertainment.

So, most recently I finished The Colour Black by Maia Walczak.

Closed-off Silvia draws and paints live nudes in her sterile San Diego penthouse. She engages every so often in purely physical sex with her models. Silvia is chased by her own demons, and after the horrific murder of her mother she is incapable of reaching out and forming connections.

When, at the last minute, Jack – a human rights lawyer – substitutes for one of her usual models, she begins to break free of her reserve. She confesses her danger-ridden past. But very quickly, it appears that Silvia’s ghosts move to silence her. She and Jack go on the run…

Despite the set-up, the book is not a thriller, in any meaningful sense. Rather it’s a very beautifully written, esoteric but not annoyingly New Age Californian romance and road trip. It explores the opening up of a woman who has lived her life locked in tragedy and secrecy.

The writing is lovely – the description of place, texture, and sense is exquisitely rendered. It is a book that comes alive most when it is describing wild places and wilderness, which immediately warmed me to it. The author is also an artist and the book is illustrated, which was a lovely surprise.

I’d recommend it because it has that peculiar quality of inviting the reader wholly into its own world on its own terms. Its grace and atmosphere made it an involving, immersive experience. Thanks so much to Jazzmine at Jacaranda Books Art Music for sending it to me!

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