Astonishing Splashes of Colour
Kitty Wellington, the depressed and unhinged narrator of Clare Morrall’s novel, has a strong and compelling voice. She is a woman pursued by demons, fuelled by the loss of her mother and her own baby. She inhabits a reality which most of us are spared but which, nevertheless, is instantly and unmistakably, recognisable.
As she strives to make sense of her world and her identity as the youngest daughter of a large family, a sequence of events lead her to the realisation that her entire experience and history is based on a tissue of lies and falsehoods. It is entirely possible that everyone she has encountered in life up to this point has been acting a part and that the Kitty she has been led to believe she is is a product of those various poses.
What happens to a person when we conspire to deny their experience? The answer to this question is what occupies and informs the subject of the novel. It is sufficient here to say that the heroine of Astonishing Splashes of Colour causes not a little mischief in her quest to answer the question.
Although this is a first novel it is written with assurance and style. Only towards the end of the book does the writer allow plot devices to overshadow the personality and destiny of Kitty Wellington. This is disappointing as the whole narrative up to the last twenty or so pages is impelled by character alone.
With a theme and plot as sad and heart-wrenching as this, it is no easy task to write a novel that is not depressing or sentimental in any way, but, on the contrary, is gripping, absorbing and peppered with surprising twists and turns, leaving the reader with a sense of completion and satisfaction at the end of the book, and only a couple of niggling doubts.