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Breathing in Colour by Clare Jay

Breathing in Colour by Clare Jay

What an exquisite book! Like an onion being peeled until you get to its core, the story slowly reveals the truth of an event that has destroyed a family and caused immense difficulties between a mother and her daughter. The story opens with a phone call that Alida’s daughter Mia is missing – presumed dead – while backpacking around India. Alida immediately arranges to fly to India to search for her eighteen-year-old daughter.

The novel alternates between the viewpoint of Alida who is desperate to find her daughter, and diary entries from Mia who is recording various events from her life. As Alida shows Mia’s photograph to strangers and tries to piece together the places she was last seen, pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together of the terrible event that occurred before Mia turned six, and the possible whereabouts of her now. At the heart of this puzzle is Mia’s condition of synaestheria – a condition where she sees the world in a kaleidoscope of shapes, colour and smells. Alida teams up with an artist, Taos, in her search for Mia, who also has tragedy in his past. Colourful and exotic, filled with lucid dreams, disturbing memories, and moments of touching despair and heartbreaking hope, this is a beautifully written book with family relationships at its core. Just how far will Alida go to find her daughter? It would seem physically and emotionally a long, long way. This is a stunning book. I would highly recommend it.


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