A heartbreaking exploration of the effects of trauma, set primarily in the Flinders Ranges.
Annette Marner’s A New Name for the Colour Blue follows Cassandra Noble as she navigates through the murky fog that her life became in response to childhood trauma as she comes face to face with what happens when she is forced to return home to care for her dying father. Marner explores the effect that domestic violence has on survivors, the longer-term impacts on relationships and life through Cassandra’s eyes.
Marner sets the scene vividly. The book is written in flashes as though progressing through a dream. Readers are able to experience Cassandra’s story as though they too are hearing her inner voices decipher the world around her. Marner has used colour incredibly, able to describe various paintings and art through the novel with such incredible detail, it feels as though you can see them through the words. Marner is a master wordsmith, with each reference carefully chosen and evoked in a way that adds a depth to the story without making it longer.
Frustratingly vague at times, the connection with the characters occurs through the absence of information, rather than what is given. The gaps are filled by the imagination which creates a connection with the characters. It is perhaps the greatest flaw of the piece, that the reader must be able to ‘get’ some of the more complex art references, which can distract from the deeper meaning of what is happening.
A relatively short work at 211 pages, this evocative piece is well deserving of your attention. Beautifully written, it also references many of Adelaide and South Australian places, which is always lovely to see. Seeing Central Market immortalised in the pages is certainly endearing, though this novel would be the perfect accompaniment to a winter afternoon regardless. Simply magical, this book should be on everyone’s reading list for this year.
Reviewed by Zoe Butler
Distributed by: Wakefield Press
Released: March 2020
RRP: $24.95 paperback, $14.95 eBook
- Visit Annette Marner’s website